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Justice League: Gods and Monsters [Blu-ray]
In an alternative history Zod is Superman's father, Batman is a vampiric Man-Bat, and Wonder Woman is the child of Ares, God of War. When these dark heroes form an alliance, the question everyone asks is will they save the world, or rule it?
Also available on DVD.
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Cover date: July 9, 2008
Lead Story: "Truth, Justice, and the American Way"
Lead Story Writer: Kurt Busiek
Lead Story Penciller: Mark Bagley
Lead Story Inker: Art Thibert
Back-Up Story: "Almost"
Back-Up Writers: Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Penciller: Scott McDaniel
Back-Up Inker: Andy Owens
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman ponder her burn, which has changed. Wonder Woman speaks to the trio's roles.
As Wonder Woman ponders Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman's roles, Rita immerses herself in the cards and ponders the role of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
As she does, wolf-like creatures burst in and interrupt, kidnapping her.
A Goth-y looking gal named Nocturna is dealt with by Hawkman after she tries to steal a staff.
Seeking clues after avoiding Nocturna's pheremones, Hawkman ends up in LA, where he foils a robbery with Gangbuster.
Gangbuster calls Lois for information, but comes up short.
Hawkman returns with what appears to be Firefly, the organizer of the affair.
Gangbuster tells Hawkman he is seeking Tarot's kidnappers. He spars with Hawkman, who finally relents and allows Gangbuster to come with him to the Watchtower in order to speak with the JLA proper.
Lead Story - 1: I actually rooted for the wolves.
This story is, quite obviously, a long-winded, lacking in substance examination of what Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman mean to the world.
This kind of examination is neat... for this site, as a non-fictional essay. And if done with some conclusion. Here, it's just random thoughts. Like, "Hey, Batman! Remember that time we dated! And look! Superman, you stand for Justice! And Wonder Woman is an ambassador! And Batman? Well, he's a detective!"
Really? Eleven pages to conclude that, and reiterate what we already know, that something freaky is going on with Rita's cards?
Indulgent, pointless crap. We are no further in the story than we were an issue ago with one difference. Rita's been kidnapped.
By ridiculous wolf-men.
Betting pool is on for if their names are THE LYCANTHORS or the WOLFSIES.
Seriously, take this comic and give it to a five-year-old near you.
Lead Art - 3: Some of the art was very rough hewn this issue, and many of the figures had odd looking proportions. When Bagley is being Bagley, it's rocking, but this issue seemed a good bit rushed. I give leeway for the schedule here, but ultimately, there was a lot that was very plain here.
Back-Up Story - 2: I'm not a big Hawkman fan, but at very least something happened here, as opposed to the last story. We see more of Gangbuster, which is neat, but I'm not sure why the heck he's going after a random bunch of gang members when he's already realized it's meta folks. It was just kind of a random encounter, an excuse to bring Hawkman into the mix, which seemed like a bit of a cheap ploy. I don't see how this bears on the larger story. Maybe that'll get clearer in time.
Either way, I doubt I'll remember many of the salient details of what went on here in a week, and that's not a good sign for cool factor in a given story. No real character, unless you count Hawkman acting like a grumpy mean guy. And maybe that's why I don't find too much to like in him.
Typo alert, as well: "Take your hand OF my wing." Sounds like an eighties song.
Back-Up Art - 5: Conveys the story very well, and actually made a normal old gang scene with a bunch of goons impressive. Very distinctive, and very strong.
Only one lament. They lost the "GANG" and "BUST" brass knuckles. DUDE, those were so rocking! (He said with a sarcasm bordering lament.)
Cover Art - 1: Let's see: Konvikt on the cover, despite not being in the issue? Yep.
Batman under the auspices of Wonder Woman? Yep.
Batman fighting a character he never fought, in a way that is clinically retarded? (Konvikt, lame as he is, beats rope.) Yep.
Little to no background? Yep.
1 of 5? Yep.
Lead Story - 2: Well, I was going to say that this is better than last week, and on the most basic level that is true. But there's also almost absolutely NO story here and in a book starring the three biggest characters in the DCU, we get one issue mid-story devoted to telling us who the three of them are, what they do and how they came to be. Waste of an issue. Six issues in and we're already treading water?
Gonna be a LONG year, folks.
Lead Art - 2: Jock Superman, pseudo-Neanderthal Wonder Woman, average batman. Eh.
Back-Up Story - 3: Not that bad, actually. The dialogue was again better than I've found this book's usual, which leads me to believe someone else is handling that for some of these backups. Far more entertaining than the main "story" or pretty much anything in any of these issues so far. There was even some actual conflict!
Back-Up Art - 3: Not too bad. Also felt like something out of the 90s, but something a little more enjoyable and not QUITE so dated. Reminded me a bit of the inimitable Bogdanove, actually, though without as much personality.
Cover Art - 4: Once again Superman and Wonder Woman get the shaft and Batman gets the best cover of the three. Best pose, best action, best execution.
If only as much care was put into the renderings of Clark and Diana.
Lead Story - 3: Am I in an exceptionally good mood? Did Kurt Busiek come into my home this week and brainwash me? Are the drugs finally working? Whatever the reason, this week's issue isn't half bad.
I'm still not a big fan of Tarot or her impossibly specific tarot card readings. I did chuckle to myself at her last line on the first page of the issue - "They're doing it again" - because that's generally how I feel about each week of "Trinity".
I feel the same about Wonder Woman's changing burn which is a bit too close to Lana Lang's mysteriously appearing tattoo during the fourth season of TV's "Smallville".
What I really like this time out is the way in which the heroes analyze themselves and each other. They're laying out the different ways in which they might be a trinity and, for once, the writing in "Trinity" makes sense. It doesn't hurt that there's no Konvikt and Graak or Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma this week either.
Tarot's interpretations of Superman's mantra are very interesting. I have always thought of "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" as speaking for all three members of the trinity.
Wonder Woman is Truth. She's all about seeking truth. The lasso compels truth, but, more than that, her entire journey from Paradise Island to Man's World is about seeking the truth about the outside world.
Batman is Justice. This one's a no brainer. Batman speaks for those who can't speak for themselves. His entire mission is predicated on the idea that no other child should have to go through what young Bruce Wayne experienced in Crime Alley.
And Superman is, 'natch, the American Way. It's more than the primary colors of his costume. Superman is the ultimate immigrant. He's about aspiring to be something better than what we already are which is largely what America is, or should be, about. He grew up in middle America and moved to the big city to make a name for himself. He is the American dream personified.
This issue is a major leap in the right direction. With some minor tweaking, it would have made a strong first issue for the series. There's a lot more character-defining going on here than in the first issue's silly public meeting in Keystone City. Keep it going and refine the plot and there may actually be something worth exploring here.
Lead Art - 3: The art feels less rushed this week. I like the use of the short-ears on Batman's cowl. It evokes the 1950s art of Dick Sprang and infers that we're not dealing with the dark, psychotic Batman but more of what's shown here - the detective skills, the discipline, the smarts, and the athleticism.
Even without faces, Tarot's look into Superman's world is very clear. Clark, Lois, Jimmy, and Smallville - that pretty much sums up the things that make Superman who he is.
Back-Up Story - 1: Yawn.
Back-Up Art - 2: Double yawn. Hawkman's chest-logo is a Rorschach test. It keeps changing into different images and it never quite looks like a hawk. And that's Killer Moth???? I don't think so.
Cover Art - 2: The final third of this triptych is my least favorite part. Batman looks constipated. And I tried to stand with my legs positioned like the Caped Crusader's - turns out it's a really good way to fall on your butt.
Finally, shouldn't the book logo correspond to who's featured on the cover?
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.