Cover date: November 2008
"Lil' Leaguers" - Part 2 of 2
Writer: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Penciller: Rafael Albuquerque
Inker: Rafael Albuquerque
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Back at the Justice League headquarters Li'l Superman and Batman discuss the reality of their situation as Li'l Lex Luthor, Joker, Catwoman and Doomsday invade the League's trophy room. Lex uncovers the Father Box and uses it on Doomsday only to have the two Supermen and the two Batmen attack. Lil's Superman sees that Doomsday is putting his friends in danger so he flies the creature into orbit where Doomsday explodes. Li'l Superman falls to Earth and is caught by Superman, who realizes that his smaller counterpart is dead.
The Li'l League is heart broken as Mxyzptlk wonders why his power isn't working. He declares the game over, which causes Bat-Mite to appear stating that their bet is still on. Mxy explains that the two imps made a bet on whether Batman and Superman's world is inherently good or evil. Mxy bet on the good and Bat-Mite thinks his idea that the world is rotten to the core has been proven. Li'l Batman demands they bring Li'l Superman back but Mxy informs him that they have no power over life and death. Superman asks Mxy to send the li'l heroes back, but the Li'l Batman wants to stay. His larger counterpart convinces him that he needs to go back to tell their world of Li'l Superman's sacrifice and that there is one thing more powerful than death; hope.
The heroes depart with Mxy promising that he is going to find a way to get Little Blue back on his feet. Superman notices after they left that Li'l Joker wasn't with them. Elsewhere at Arkham Asylum Joker receives a visit from Li'l Joker. Li'l Joker asks if the clown prince of crime is happy to see him and the two lunatics laugh manically.
Story - 4: Holy crud!
Did they just kill Li'l Superman?
Whoa. That...that was...
Not that I wanted the character to die. I really enjoyed the past two issues of this series. It was fun. A lot of fun and to bring the story down like that and have Superman die was not only unexpected but actually gave the story a certain amount of emotional heft. After one and a half issues of the little guys and the big guys having a blast the death of the Li'l Superman comes along and instead of bringing the room down it makes the story more than just a two issue romp.
In all sincerity I tip my hat to Green and Johnson for pulling that off. Sure they had the fun of the bad guys from the Li'l universe having a blast in a universe where they are allowed to be bad, which made up the bulk of the story. Sure they brought Bat-Mite in and boy was he kind of a jerk. Sure they used the Father Box, which I really despise for some reason. At the end of the day though they managed to get to me, which is the first time these writers have been able to do so since they came on.
So the issue was great, I really enjoyed it and thought that for two issues I liked this title again.
Except the whole Mr. Mxyzptlk thing.
Apparently Green and Johnson want us to believe that all of the crazy, messed up, reality bending things Mxy does gets undone except...except if someone dies.
Wow, that takes a lot of fun out of Mxy, doesn't it?
I mean that is a horrible decision to make. Sure the dialogue at the end makes it seem like Mxy will undo it somehow and there is the possibility that he was just snowing Superman and Batman, but still. The fun thing about Mxy is he is the one time a writer can undo something and say, "It was all magic, it never happened," and I buy it. To say at this point that if people die they really die it makes me think that all the times buildings came to life and such that people really died or really died in the fictional way where you get upset because of the emotional investment you put into reading the story.
Other than that, though the story was great. Next month Superman and Batman switch powers.
If anyone wants to argue that this title isn't an effort to bring back the Silver Age I'm all ears, but you have a serious uphill battle on your hands.
Art - 4: Much like last issue the art sells the emotion of this story. When it's funny the art is very funny. When it's sad the art brings that across as well. The last few pages of this issue contain a lot of drama and Rafael made me feel that, even down to the expressions on the faces of little heroes as they take the deceased Superman back home. It had to be tough to balance the humor and the drama but Rafael pulled it off and pulled it off well. The only problem I had was when Bat-Mite appeared. The storytelling was a little off there, but other than that the art was aces.
Cover Art - 4: This was a very impressive cover. I like the mixing of the li'l versions with the "real" versions of the heroes and villains. It was fun, especially the expression on Big Lex's face. I liked this better than last issue's cover. I really did.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.