Library trades for 3-23: Justice and Summer Blonde

It's a one-two trade review for today! Can you handle it?

from Justice, by Jim Krueger, Doug Braithwaite and Alex RossJustice
by Kim Krueger, Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross
collecting the twelve-issue miniseries
(Amazon, $25.86)

A while ago (ie, three years ago) I read the first and second volumes of this. DC made the terrible decision of releasing three four-issue collections, in hardcover. My library had the first volume, as well as the second volume -- if you're looking for a few more scans besides what today's post has to offer, check out those links there. In those three years, I never saw the third and final volume in my library, so I guess I've been deferring this story for a full 1086 days.

from Justice, by Jim Krueger, Doug Braithwaite and Alex RossIt hasn't aged well. Re-reading through this, I remembered the excitement I had, of the Justice League getting thematically overturned by their archnemeses. The likes of Scarecrow and Lex Luthor were working together to create a better world, while the superheroes were painted as gods who devoted their time to keep humanity from moving forward. It's a compelling, realistic take on superheroes, but devolves into a standard save-the-world scenario. Sure, there are beautiful splash pages of superheroes saving the world. That two-page spread of the Green Lantern Corps. hurling Brainiac's nukes into space? Insane. Ralph Dibny stopping Clayface in the sewers, so that Green Arrow and Black Canary can raid Brainiac's place? Epic.

Trust me, I love seeing superheroes doing their thing. I've spent so many keyboard taps on it. But when you have a hook like you do in that first issue, I expect more. Justice provides some nice things to look at, and like with so many other Alex Ross works, you get new redesigns of classic superheroes. Justice will do for your superhero fix, but it does nothing to move the genre or the medium forward.

Oh, here's an example of the awful binding:

from Justice, by Jim Krueger, Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross

Can you see who that is in the middle? SPOILER: It's Lex. I know there's a lot of thematic strength in putting someone at the very center. But the book's gutter makes it an ordeal just to see who it is. That's a bad, glaring decision to make when it comes to this page.

Again: links for volume 1 (issues 1-4) and volume 2 (5-8).

cover to Summer Blonde: Four Stories by Adrian Tomine (my library didn't have the slipcase)
Summer Blonde: Four Stories by Adrian Tomine
by Adrian Tomine
collecting material originally released in Drawn and Quarterly (I think? I returned the book already)

So I think the library removed the slipcase for this hardcover -- which is why I decided to scan both the front and back cover. Four Stories tells, well, four different stories of four different people in California's Bay Area. In one of them, a successful writer seeks to reconnect with an old friend, and in another, a socially awkward woman finds ways to fill the time after getting fired from her phone job. Each story is full and packs a punch to the gut. All the main characters feel real, and their struggles feel real.

from Summer Blonde: Four Stories by Adrian TomineMy favorite story was the third, "Hawaiin Getaway," starring Hilary Chang, a recently-fired telephone service rep. She obtains the number for the pay phone across her complex, and spends her time prank-calling it, until it leads her to meet a guy. She struggles against her inability to communicate, and the story ends with her attending her grandma's funeral, and recalling a childhood memory. It's some powerful stuff.

SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Wednesday: The Goon, Batman, Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man and more.

Friday: I dunno. Whatever I feel like?

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