Cover date: March 2001
Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Mike S. Miller
Inker: Armando Durruthy
Reviewed by: Jason Czernich (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Meanwhile, on a Martian satellite orbiting the Earth, Martian Manhunter gathers the Justice League of Aliens. The membership consists of Li'l Lobo, Orion, Starfire, Guy Gardner (Warrior), Mikaal (the Starman who fell to Earth), and Superman. Right off the bat, Mikaal and Gardner start arguing. Orion acts as enforcer threatening them into silence. After Manhunter continues, Mikaal chooses not to stay with the team and the League embarks on their first mission, fighting off beings in and around Golden Gate Park, who have been transformed by the Advance Man's technology so that they will be ready to receive the consciousness of Plura's alien people. Martian Manhunter soon realizes that his team is not capable of working well together. The Justice League of Air (consisting of Green Lantern, Red Tornado, The Ray, Captain Atom, Black Condor, Firestorm, and the female Dr. Light.) arrive on the scene just in time for Plura to make her arrival on Earth.
Story - 4: Judd Winick is just a hip writer. Check out page eleven, panel two. A couple arguing about food and race. Winick realizes that there are more than superheroes in the DCU, there are also the random bystanders that get caught up in the weirdness. The story opens not with Advance Man blowing up a continent or releasing a plague, but instead he ruins a dot-com business. Advance Man is after all a business man and he's damn good at it. Well, as long as you're on his side...
Winick has a real knack for scripting the Martian Manhunter and making him the leader and elder statesman that this new Justice League needed. If John Ostrander ever leaves the writing chores on Manhunter's own monthly, then DC should seriously consider Winick for next in line to write the Manhunter from Mars.
While I thought it was a little premature for Mikaal to leave the group on page nine, I thought about it more and it made perfect sense. Mikaal's an outsider so why should he have to join a team and put up with Guy Gardner?
The only thing I didn't like about this story was that you have to buy other one shots related to the Justice Leagues event to fully understand what is going on.
I enjoyed this alternate look at the JLA and would love to see any future grouping of this team as long as Winick is in the driver's seat. The Frumpy, the Clown newspaper strip, and the Green Lantern monthly are other fine examples of his creative merit.
Art - 4: I can't remember where or even if I've seen Mike S. Miller's art before, but here I like it. Miller and inker Durruthy seem to know when to add and preserve fine detail, such as the braiding on the dot-com owner's hair on the first page or the trash bin in the last two pages on page 11. The way they took the time to texture a trash can and show the paint wear on a park bench in the same panel shows that they care about getting the job done right.
The heroes of this tale seemed to have different body types but a little more differentiation would have been better. Other than that I thought that this style was appropriate for this story. In some places, such as panels with Superman, the art style was reminiscent of Dusty Abell. Maybe we can see more of Mr. Miller on Superman in the future. [Editor: Actually, Mike S. Miller is currently the regular Penciller on The Adventures of Superman comic book.]
Cover Art - 5: George Perez delivers a cover here that's even more stunning that his one for Justice Leagues: JL?. Not only do we get to see him revisit Superman and Martian Manhunter from his Justice League run but Starfire from his New Titans run too. It's a nice treat to see his interpretation of Orion as well.
The seven floating panels in the background that showcase the DC Universe are a nice contrast to the white background they're set onto. If you look closely you'll see that Superman is standing before Krypton and it's red sun, Martian Manhunter it standing in front of Mars, Gardner is near Earth, Mikaal, the stars, Orion, Apokolips, and one can easily presume that the pictures Lobo and Starfire are standing in front of Czarnia and Tamaran. If you go to the DC Comics website and look under Direct Currents, you can see the cover without the logos and clearly see all the heroes standing in front of pictures of their homeworlds. Maybe someday DC will release the Justice Leagues covers as a print set that is free of any obscuring logos or cover copy. Even if you don't know of these character's origins, the universe backdrops still make for a nice visual and accents the 'Aliens' in Justice Leagues of Aliens rather delightfully.
Other nice touches were Mikaal's star twinkle and Starfire's raised hand charged for battle. Along with the blazing firepits of Apokolips in Orion's background, these two images give a static image some indirect dynamic. This picture is just jammed with detail too. Check out the veins on Martian Manhunter's arm, or Li'l Lobo's tongue peeking out.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2001.