Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Comic Review Wednesdays: Justice League: Cry for Justice #2

Justice League: Cry for Justice #2
Written by James Robinson
Art by Mauro Cascioli

Villains seem to always have the upper hand these days, and that's why Hal Jordan, The Green Lantern and Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, quit the justice league to pursue crime in their own way. Tragedy has struck several other superheroes, and they too are seeking justice. All clues seem to lead to Prometheus as the group begins to assemble itself for the first time.

James Robinson must have been reading the plays of Anton Chekhov when he wrote this issue because the number of scene omissions is outstanding. Unlike Chekhov, however, Robinson's omissions are aimless, frustrating, and destructive. The characters left last month screaming "Justice!" into the wind have now been on the trail of their enemies for three weeks, and it apparently hasn't been all sitting around time. Leads have been found, places attacked, and villains apprehended-- the missing terrain is so substantial that it feels an issue went unread.

If this weren't enough, the scene omissions cause destructive inter-issue confusion and frustration. Within these pages is a contrived, frivolous fight between Starman and Congorilla that does nothing for the issue (they become friends after!) but omitted is a fight between Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and a lot of super villain lackeys working for Prometheus. It's almost as if Robinson has lost all sense of storytelling structure! To make matters work, he spends an extensive amount of time discussing "off-stage" events that should have taken place between this comic and the last. The exposition is piss-poor, and bogs the issue down monumentally. There is virtually no foreword motion so much time is spent recounting details, and new events seem entirely coincidental and contrived because they've had no presence in-comic. If the events leading to Starman and Congorilla's fight aren't part of the narrative how can it not seem pointless? If Captain Marvel and others simply show up out of thin air with similar leads, how is it convincing?

Simply put there is just too much missing from this issue for it to be anywhere near decent. If Robinson needed a 9, 10, or 12 issue mini-series to put this story to paper then that is what it should have been planned to be instead of this confusing mess. This confusion is compounded by the fact that the issue is littered with references to major DC-universe events that more casual readers will find impossible to keep track of. The dead characters from the previous issue were difficult enough to keep track of, much less throwing in references to Identity and Final crisis.

Most annoying of all is Robinson's continued use if his own and Geoff Johns' friendly banter as the dialog for Green Lantern and Green Arrow. The source of inspiration is a good as any (although sounds pathetically juvenile), but when it reads like two comic writers talking as characters instead of two characters it becomes a major problem. Really. The most disgusting part of the whole thing is when the two characters refer to one anothers names in quotation marks ("Green Lantern", "Green Arrow") and the sneer-worthy in joke is shoved down the readers throat.

Cascioli's artwork continues to be the only redeeming aspect to this miniseries. It's gorgeous but unfortunately Robinson's long, boring dialog scenes to little to let the artist spread his wings.

RATING: 3 out of 10.
Last month I said that I was only reading this for Batwoman and the artwork. I'm no longer sure that's going to be enough as the artwork is all that saved this from getting a one. Don't read this title. If you're looking to punish someone you can likely find this and the first issue at your local comic book shop.

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