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Beyond This Point Be Crap

March 19, 2010

Continuing James Robinson’s first arc, in Justice League of America #42, Green Arrow meets with the Shade for mysterious and unexplained reasons.  Starfire, Batman, Donna Troy, and Green Lantern take down Atlas, who seems to be under some kind of mind control, and they spend the whole time thinking about how awkward being a team together is (or in Donna’s case, mentally reviewing self-help books for violence-oriented minds.  Then, we get a flashback to this time when the Challengers of the Unknown found a mysterious machine (obviously related to the ones previously mentioned), and Kyle “Ace” Morgan touches it and goes bonkers.  The Metal Men come in to help out, and the crisis is averted.  Back in the present, Dr. Impossible and Hunter (new character) attack S.T.A.R. Labs in Fawcett City, where the Power Company is contracted to protect.  The Justice League arrives to help, but only after the two bad guys have left, just in time to save Josiah Power’s life.  The Atom reports in after having learned about the first machine getting stolen and tells the team that the enemy uses New Genesis technology.  Cyborg has a nice chat with Red Tornado, then tells the team that he found another machine on Blackhawk Island (queueing another flashback to when Plastic Man, the Freedom Fighters, and the Blackhawks found it back in World War II).  On the island, Congorilla and Mikaal Tomas fight villains Chair (great name) and Tender Mercy.  The League arrives to assist while Dr. Impossible, Hunter, and the bad guy from before, Neon Black, invade JLA headquarters.  And just then, Green Arrow gets to the watchtower.

Well, it’s good to know that James Robinson is consistent.  At this point, he has completely lost all of the writing magic that he once had.  This issue, like the previous one, is pretty much trash.  First of all, we don’t need villains related to the New Gods so soon after they got their comic book respite from Final Crisis.  It’s nice that he’s going back to Brad Meltzer’s run to bring back up Dr. Impossible, but did he have to do it now, and with such unoriginality?  Chair?  That’s the lamest villain name I’ve heard in a long time, and he doesn’t even sort of look like an evil version of Metron, minus sitting in a floating chair.  The dialogue is still absolutely terrible, with poor Hal Jordan actually reduced to saying, “Nuh-uh.  Not gonna happen.”  And even Congorilla gets crappy lines like, responding to Tender Mercy’s threats that he will die, “I’m sorry to disappoint a lady, but no, my dear, I am not.”  It’s like ready Chris Claremont’s work recently.  The plot is totally uninteresting, especially since there’s almost no character development (and that little of it, which we see in the Atlas fight scene, is so not subtle that it’s sad), so Robinson is almost entirely relying on the novelty of the new team and the new bad guys to carry the story.  Bad idea.  And Mark Bagley continues to underwhelm, having seemingly lost all of the skill that he used to have.  It’s hard to believe that he was once praised as the most consistently good artist in comic books.  Everything here is so bland and flat that it doesn’t even seem like there’s a fight going on.  Robinson has one more issue to give me a good reason why I should keep reading this book.  I’m not a masochist, and this book is certainly painful to read.  So if he can salvage things at the last minute, I’ll stay on for a bit longer.  Otherwise, I’m going to spend my money on a book I’ll actually enjoy.

Plot: 3.2      Art: 5.5      Dialogue: 2.5      Overall: 2.9

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