This week's is
Justice vol. 1
by Jim Krueger, Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Jim Krueger tackles the superhero archetype with Alex Ross's paints over Doug Braithwaite's pencils. He deals distinctly with DC heroes, because he questions what roles that these Gods have in our society -- why do they simply reinforce the status quo, instead of using their gifts to effect actual change for the world? .
Instead of just catching petty criminals, why doesn't, say, Superman use his microscopic vision and heat vision to isolate and terminate cancer cells? Why doesn't Ray Palmer shrink food down, so that it's easier to ship to other worlds, and then grow it back up? As Joss Whedon put it, these guys are Gods, and they ought to use their gifts for greater purposes.
WHAT I LIKED: First of all, well, that's a pretty awesome premise there, and you won't find a lot of other comic books to actually deal with this idea -- that superheroes can actually change the world for the better.
This is where the villains come in too -- they decide to use their powers to make the world a better place. Toyman makes prosthetics for children in war-torn places, while Captain Cold creates a massive iceberg in the desert, bringing water and life to the area. There are other sorts of examples too, and it seems like they're all working in concert.It's pretty awesome, and it's a total inversion of the superhero-super-villain dynamic.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It's a little long and drawn-out. As the villains are improving the world, they're also covertly striking at, well every individual of the Justice League, and a lot of time is spent telling the downfall of each of them. In fact, this volume ended on a cliffhanger, and doesn't tell a full arc at all.
This first volume had six issues, but the plot's only really begun to kick into first gear. Not really much for 20 dollars, I'd say.
EXTRAS?: There's an introduction by writer Jim Krueger, on the nature of superheroes, and then there's a little bit of Superman giving us a short bio of some members of the JLA. It's cutesy. After the story, we get some "Private files from Bruce Wayne's Batcomputer," which is a nice touch, but it's just Batman giving us a bio of some other characters. Afterwards, there's some of Doug Braithwaite's sketches/layouts, and some Alex Ross too. It's pretty gorgeous.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It pretty much sucks that volume one doesn't even tell a full story, but there's certainly a lot of potential for what it ended on. I know the library here has volume two, so hopefully it'll get back on the shelves in no time.
Personally, I'd never pay 20 bucks for something like this, and I think DC should have just published the maxiseries in its entirety, in one piece, instead of breaking it up in half like this.
All in all, a very strong start of the story, that puts all our heroes in crisis, that plays on a larger scope, and uses beautiful art to tell it.