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Cover date: December 2009
"Out of the Ashes..."
Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Mark Bagley
Inker: Rob Hunter
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Meanwhile in Happy Harbor, Vixen, Dr. Light, Red Tornado and Plastic Man meet in the Secret Sanctuary to discuss the fate of the League. After their battle with Prometheus even Vixen's faith in the team is shaken. Suddenly Despero appears and attacks the heroes. He makes short work of the group until Zatanna shows up and bails them out. After Despero is taken care of Zatanna briefs the team on the current situation with dead heroes and villains coming back to life and tells them they need to get to the Watchtower as soon as possible.
Story - 2: You know, usually I like James Robinson's work and I was really looking forward to him coming on to this title, but in all honesty I really didn't care for this issue at all. It's a shame too. This was going to be the new beginning for the team and a bold new direction for the title. The hype suggested a return to greatness and what we got was a place holder story until CRY FOR JUSTICE finishes and the real team can move into the Hall of Justice. This is made even more annoying by the fact that the past three issues contained a place holder story. A good place holder story but a place holder story just the same.
Where to begin?
After a cryptic opening (which in all honesty had my attention) we get about five pages of Vixen telling the rest of the remnants of the League why, even though she promised Superman she would keep the band together, that it might not be worth it anymore. Normally I wouldn't be so critical of this sort of thing. I like talking head/characterization scenes. The thing is that the scene starts with an uncalled for slam against YOUNG JUSTICE. Red Tornado might be many things but I don't see him as the type to insult a group that he was an integral part of just for a cheap laugh amongst his current colleagues. It was unnecessary and smacked of the new writer making fun of the old stuff to look good with the new readers.
I could be wrong about that but that's how I feel about the matter.
Problem number two comes from the fact that this story takes place after another story that hasn't even finished yet. CRY FOR JUSTICE was really, really late. When they referenced it a few months back I was kind of annoyed because I hate it when a publisher pulls that kind of crud. "Hey, you know that story you've been waiting for? Well this story takes place after that, but don't worry it will all makes sense when CRY FOR JUSTICE finally comes out and frankly you won't care in a year or two and neither will we because a lot of people are going to be reading this and CRY FOR JUSTICE in trades, so it doesn't matter that a book is horrendously late just because we needed something to talk about at a convention." The previous mention to the events of CRY FOR JUSTICE was bad enough. This issue flat out spoils the ending to that story. That's just sloppy. Now I have a fairly good idea what is going to happen to Plastic Man, Dr. Light and Vixen.
Great. Thanks a lot.
The rest of the issue was mainly a fight with Despero and normally I would have enjoyed it more but by the time I got to it I was so annoyed at what had happened in the first portion of the issue I saw it for the time wasting fight scene it was. Despero fights this character. Despero fights that character. Despero has issues with Gypsy yet again. Zatanna comes in and saves the day. It wasn't dynamic. In fact it was kind of boring.
Then Zatanna lets everyone know that there is this big crisis going on and thus this title is thrust into the big event. To me this feels forced. Maybe all of the other problems I had with this issue bubbled up and colored my opinion but for the moment that's how I feel. My B.S. alarm went crazy with the exchange between Zatanna and Plastic Man where Plas asks if the Black Lanterns are like zombies and she says no. Really? The dead haven't come back to life and they aren't feasting on people's hearts, which to me is feasting on the living? Because I have been reading that event for three months now and while they are calling them Black Lanterns it is a total zombie riff.
I was and am very disappointed with this issue. Maybe my expectations were too high. I don't know. Maybe the next issue will be better. I don't know. Dropping this title has become a real option, though, because even when the real cast comes on board it will be tainted by the build-up.
Art - 4: While I pretty much loathed the story the art was rather strong. Bagley has definitely found his footing in the DC Universe and visually this issue was stunning. The characters looked good. The storytelling was strong. Too bad the story itself brought the entire comic book down.
Cover Art - 3: The art on this cover is fine. It really is. The art looks great. It just seems a tad disingenuous to put Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman on a cover to a book they don't appear in. I understand they were going for a mood here, but still. Stop trading on the supposed Trinity. It's annoying.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.