Review: Justice League United Annual #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art and cover by NEIL EDWARDS and JAY LEISTEN
On sale OCTOBER 29 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
The Infinitus Saga begins as the Legion of Super-Heroes arrive with the shocking news that the 31st century has been destroyed! Now it’s up to the Justice League United to save the future!
The only Justice League United that I’ve read has been the Future’s End story last issue, and the second part that carried over into the Justice League Future’s End issue. I wasn’t impressed terribly, since it read more like the boss level of video game. That notwithstanding, as a big fan of the Legion, I was dead set on reading this issue, and if it passed muster, the entire four-issue storyline.
Before I go any further, I may let some spoilers slip, so just to be careful, here’s a break if you want to be extra careful toavoid any spoilers that may accidentally slip out.
Lemire does have an obvious affection for the Legion and for some aspects of it in particular. He explains Mon-El’s initial rampage with a recap of the Legion’s battle with Infinitus, who apparently is the New 52 version of the Infinite Man. The Legion members that come back after him are characterized very well, especially Brainiac 5, who while a little smug, is a friendlier version than we’ve seen since the Threeboot happened. It almost appears here that he’s Legion Leader, and I’m perfectly fine with that, although if the Legion does come back to a regular title, I worry about how that could develop. The sub-plot that ties in directly is the search to recover Hawkman’s body, and it is paced nicely but gets too bogged down in other subplots like Animal Man’s family life and Green Arrow feeling his leadership threatened by Supergirl’s impulsiveness. In the midst of all this comes a space battle against the shape changer Byth, clad in a non-descriptive spandex bodysuit that has nothing special about it at all. These suits make the heroes’ costumes look less special, but that takes us into the part of the review about the art.
The art is very, very nice. Neil Edwards is very good at drawing the Legion, especially Shadow Lass, who hasn’t had this balance of sensuality and heroism since Gary Frank redesigned her costume. Many of the Legionnaires are unchanged from those Gary Frank redesigns, although Mon-El and a few others get their New 52 costumes. He does commit one sin that I find unforgiveable, and that’s the extreme closup of the eye, and this time, its closed, conveying no emotion whatsoever. Points always get taken off for that. I’d even forgiven it if he’d included a tear, as cliche as that would have been.
The colorist, Jeromy Cox falls into the trap of so many Legion artists and miscolors Sensor Girl, Karate Kid, and Matter-Eater Lad who are relegated to cameos. I find that confusing and anytime I find myself confused, I get pulled out of the story, and this story seems so large and cosmic that I don’t need to be stepping outside of it. Neil Edwards is very much in the hyper-realized house style of the New 52, but I’ll always forgive that if it’s well done, and it is, but unfortunately Jeromy Cox doesn’t always carry through that feeling, giving me the sense that he was rushed, and if so, he did admirably for a time crunch. The cosmic effect on Infinitus doesn’t come across as successfully when the black line art is left intact unlike in other instances where it is altered for effect. I’m probably being too hard on him, but I’m spoiled by great colorists, and it just seems like he missed some opportunities to really excel, but did an admirable job nonetheless.
Like I said, I’m coming back for the rest of storyline, but as of right now, I won’t follow Justice League United after that.