Cover date: November 2009
"Cry For Justice: The Villain"
Writter: James Robinson
Penciller: Mauro Cascioli
Inker: Mauro Cascioli
"The Origin of Prometheus"
Writter: Len Wein
Penciller: Federico Dallocchio
Inker: Federico Dallocchio
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Green Lantern thanks Supergirl for her assistance but because of the recent tension between humans and Kryptonians he asks Kara if she is there as a hero or a villain. Kara's feelings are hurt but Green Arrow steps forward to try and make the younger hero feel better. Afterwards they brutally interrogate Prometheus in an effort to get him to reveal his plans. Meanwhile Mikaal and Congo Bill continue their flight to justice but are attacked by armored men. Bill and Mikaal take the fight to the flying figures and manage to escape though they have lost their transportation. Back in Gotham City Prometheus is revealed to be one of the Clayfaces, who activates the explosive hidden on his person.
Elsewhere the real Prometheus explains his motivations to Ira Quimby. The simple act of killing a hero has lost its novelty to Prometheus. Now he wants to make it personal and hit the heroes where they hurt the most. All of the thefts in the United States and Europe have been leading towards the end that he and Quimby have been working for. Quimby begins acting strangely and Prometheus reveals that he has poisoned Quimby and reduced his intellect to that of an infant.
In Opal City Bennetti and Shade visit the clairvoyant Charity. Charity needs to get a warning of death and danger to the Justice League and Shade is just the man for the job.
Story - 3: This issue was a bit of a disappointment for me and I really don't like having to write that. Granted there were a few bright spots. I don't feel that it was a total loss or that the story can't recover from it but at the same time the pacing and characterization of this issue was so overblown that I just didn't enjoy it as much as the previous two. The point could be made that the characterization has been overblown from the beginning and I think there is some truth to that. There was a lot of gnashing of teeth and cries for justice (literally) but the pacing was brisk enough and the dialogue entertaining enough that I was ok with the amped up action movie feel of the story. In this issue I think Robinson went too far in the other direction.
From the first page things start going south. While it is somewhat plausible that Hal would have issues with Kryptonians given recent events him asking if Kara was a hero or a villain didn't work for me. It was bad dialogue. Then Kara's reaction is to cry. Hal hurt her feelings and instead of telling him where he could go or what he could shove up a bodily orifice she cries like she was standing on the edge of a highway and someone threw garbage out of their car. It just doesn't make any sense to me. It only served to make Ollie look good and for Freddy to have a hormonal moment, which doesn't make for a dynamic scene.
Then there was the fight that Mikaal and Bill had in mid-air. While the fight was dramatic the scene itself threw the pacing of the issue off. The cast is a large one so you need to cut back to the people that haven't caught up with the rest of the heroes but for me it didn't work this month mainly because the scene wasn't really a scene it was several pages of pretty pictures ending with a funny line about Bill doing the backstroke. We are at issue three now and while I am ok with the compressed pacing of the story it still bugs me that these two are still traveling. To me it seems like they should have caught up with the others by now though I could be proven wrong about this in future issues, so there is that wiggle room.
The death of several Global Guardians rubbed me the wrong way too. I am not a fan of heroes being killed off in flashback like this. I understand why writers do it but to me it seems if you are going to kill a character that has some history it should be done with a little more...respect is not the right word but it is close. I am not saying that Robinson or any other writer should give every single her that they kill a huge and dramatic death scene where they go out fighting like champs but to turn the Tasmanian Devil into a throw rug. I realize that there is a contingent of readers that have no idea who the Tasmanian Devil is and that their reaction to the scene is going to be very different from mine but it really irked me. It seemed to me that the reason Robinson did this was to shock the audience with how evil Prometheus is.
There is also the problem of Robinson assuming that we know who all of these characters are. I realize that the line between overly expositional dialogue and natural dialogue is a fine one to walk but while I knew who Bennetti and Shade and Charity and Quimby are new readers may not, so throwing the newer reader in the deep end has a tendency to bug me. Thankfully we live in a world where most of the information the newer reader might need is just a Google search away.
I guess my main problem is that Robinson as a writer is usually a lot more subtle than this. I am not going to try and climb into the man's head or anything but I will throw out the theory that he is trying to tell a different type of story than he usually does. Bigger. Louder. More intense. There's nothing wrong with that and maybe CRY FOR JUSTICE will end up being one of his better stories. In all fairness there are some solid scenes in this issue and I liked how Robinson built to the revelation that the Prometheus the proto-League was torturing turned out to be Clayface or as Ray pointed out one of the Clayfaces. Also the poisoning of Ira Quimby was more like the Robinson I am used to, which was a smoother way to show what a horrible person Prometheus is. It is possible that my problems with this issue stem with my preconceived notions of Robinson as a writer but at the end of the issue I wasn't all that happy with this chapter of CRY FOR JUSTICE.
The main question I am left with this time out is how large is this cast going to get? I counted at least thirteen more heroes on that last page and we aren't even at the halfway point yet. Again it could all turn out to be awesome-sauce but I am a tad worried that the overall story is going to get lost in the sheer number of characters Robinson seems to be bringing in.
Art - 4: The art continues to impress though there are two places where I thought that things were not as good as they had been. The first double page spread with Supergirl crying was a bit off for me. It was dynamic but there didn't seem to be as much detail as we have been given in the past two episodes. Also the two page spread (another one, oddly enough) where Bill and Mikhail fight as they plummet to the ocean, as cool as it was, threw off the pacing.
"The Origin of Prometheus"
At a young age Prometheus' criminal parents were killed by the forces of order. Swearing a solemn vow to destroy the people that killed his parents Prometheus sets on the path to train himself to main and kill. His journey leads him to Shamballa where he is declared the chosen one and given a key that allows him to unlock the spaces between dimensions. After building himself a home in one such dimension Prometheus constructed a helmet that allowed him to download whatever information he needed directly into his mind. Thus armed Prometheus began his quest to destroy the Justice League.
Story - 4: Between the origin by Len Wein and Robinson's essay on the character I was given a good reminder of who Prometheus is and why Robinson chose him as the antagonist. I have written in the past that I like these origins and that continued in this issue.
Art - 4: The art served its purpose and gave a good visual sense of the anger and rage that Prometheus feels. It didn't grab me and not let go but I didn't dislike it either.
Cover Art - 4: My only real problem with this cover is that the red eye thing with Supergirl makes her look more like a Terminator robot rather than a Kryptonian revving up the heat vision. Other than this was a very solid cover. I liked the composition of the heroes looking sixteen kinds of mad over the chained figure of "Prometheus" and it made for a dynamic image.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.