Sunday, July 12, 2015

Justice League United #11 - A Review

My hopes for Justice League United #11 all but died when I saw the cover. This may well be the worst piece of work I've seen from Tony Harris. I think the character in the middle is meant to be Animal Man, but it looks more like Gambit is angry about running out of styling gel halfway through combing his hair.

Gambit once ate a po'boy 'DIS big!

Things don't improve once we open the book and get to the story. Apparently Martian Manhunter, Supergirl and Green Arrow all quit the team at some point between this issue and the last one. Also, Adam Strange discovered that - rather than being an alien technological device - The Zeta Beam is some kind of force that unites all of time and space.

Oh! And he merged with it and can now sense impurities in reality that he calls Breakers. And he can somehow inform the rest of the JLU about these Breakers. And somehow they can travel around, pulling heroes and villains from key points in time to deal with these Breakers before they break reality.

Confused yet? I can't blame you. This is a dramatic departure from the classic idea of Adam Strange and, as such, should have merited a much more involved explanation. As it is, it's a prime example of that greatest of mistakes - telling the audience what happened rather than showing them. It might have felt more organic had we seen what happened to Adam rather than having the information dumped on us in a single page.

The artwork is similarly problematic. Travel Foreman is generally a fine artist but I think he's the wrong one for Justice League United. Foreman's use of forced perspective is disorienting and while that was effective in conveying the horror of Jeff Lemire's Animal Man, it doesn't work here. There's far too many panels where we see people talking in the middle distance, unable to tell who is who. Additionally, Foreman's fight choreography is sloppy and there is a complete lack of visual continuity. Consider how the the number of stars on Stargirl's sleeve changes from panel to panel below.

Given all of that, I'm done with Justice League United. The artwork is sloppy and doesn't fit the story. The writing is erratic. And with half the characters I liked in this book jettisoned in favor of a rotating roster of characters without their own comics, I have no other reason to keep reading.

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