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: February 18, 2009
Main Story: "Who Are You?"
Main Writers: Kurt Busiek
Main Pencillers: Mark Bagley
Main Inker: Art Thibert
Back-Up Story: "The Last Stand"
Back-Up Story Writer: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Story Penciller: Mike Norton
Back-Up Story Inker: Walden Wong
While Lois berates the Trinity for choosing to abandon the world they can't remember, Kara gets annoyed and hits them all and then lectures them for, again, choosing to turn their backs on their original world. Then... something blue happens, and the blue/purple/whatever people wonder what it is.
To be continued...
The JSI fights the bad guys. Some apparently young hero that we've never seen before dies and people are upset. Space Ranger turns out to be Martian Manhunter. This somehow makes the JSI realize they've done things poorly in the past. A final rift opens in Metropolis and if it's lost, so is the world. Everyone leaves to go fight.
To be continued...
Main Story - 1: This Trinity, in deity form, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people on their world. Purple people, but people all the same. They don't act in character at all, which is just as big of an affront, especially in a book that purports to be about them. And so I have no affection or affinity for them at all, they are nearly unrecognizable as characters despite trite, cliché dialogue like "Your compassion comes to the fore, while Ahtman thinks of defense".
Yes, "Kellel" is compassionate simply because he doesn't want to kill some people, so that MUST make him Superman. "Ahtman" thinks about defense, so that MUST make him Batman. These are NOT the Trinity.
So it is even more telling, then, that in a book that rips this version of the Trinity a new one... that I am STILL rolling my eyes at the stupidity.
This Trinity is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands! They deserve to be chewed out! But chewed out for being petty and stupid and out of character and... causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands.
Instead, what we get is them being chewed out for abandoning their homeworld.
When was it their choice? Did I miss something?
When did they remember their home and choose to leave it?
When did they remember their home but choose to stay with purple people?
Did they remember their home at all until this issue?
So HOW THE @*&% CAN YOU CHEW THEM OUT FOR CHOOSING TO LEAVE WHAT THEY DON'T EVEN REMEMBER?!
I give up. I can't take it anymore.
The next 12 issues better hurry, because never having to see another issue of this mockery can't come soon enough.
Main Art - 2: Diana the drag queen, Superman the jock. Same old Trinity art.
Back-Up Story - 1: You know what?
When a character dies, if people are supposed to feel something, it helps TO KNOW WHO THAT PERSON IS.
Unless it's to show its affects on the characters we do know, like Hawkman... who is upset about it for two panels and then acts like it never happened, thus making the entire death scene pointless drivel.
And hey, if you want readers to say "OH MY GOD SPACE RANGER IS MARTIAN MANHUNTER!" then it might help if 1, they knew who the hell Space Ranger was and 2, gave a damn about what happened to him.
And then the Martian Manhunter reveal is used to, in about three panels, change the entire JSI's thinking about their perfection in what they're doing, simply by saying "Wouldn't your people have dissected me? You know they woulda, bro!"
"My god, he's right, we've been doing everything wrong for decades!"
I don't think Busiek's even trying anymore.
For that matter, I'm not sure he ever was.
Back-Up Art - 2: I literally have nothing more to say.
Cover Art - 4: I am actually liking this set of covers. This one's not quite as good as the Wonder Woman one, but it's good.
Too bad the inside isn't more like the cover.
Main Story/Back-Up Story - 1: I'm performing a social experiment this week (and thanks to my friend Anthony for suggesting this idea). I'm reviewing the story before I've even bought or read this week's issue. I'm that sure what I'll find after I waste $2.99 again this week.
You see, this week, DC released its solicitations for comic books being released in May. This includes - finally a light at the end of the tunnel - the last issues of Trinity. If you aren't into spoilers, you may want to check out of this review now.
The solicitation description for Trinity issues 49 to 52 reads as follows:
Here are my best guesses on where things will go from here - Enigma either grows a conscience or his daughter/satellite grows one for him. He's either the ultimate hero of the piece or, more likely, the ultimate martyr after perhaps Krona replaces him in the dark Arcana. Le Fey joins forces with Krona, the true master of the cosmic egg. Konvikt fails a spelling test. And Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman reawaken their heroic spirits with the help of their supporting casts and save the day. Yawn. Wake me when this crud's over.
UPDATE AFTER ACTUALLY HAVING READ THE ISSUE: I think the pre-reading-the-issue review I wrote covers things pretty well, mostly because nothing particularly new or unexpected happens. The ending isn't being telegraphed to readers; it's being spoon-fed as if the readers - or perhaps it's just the writer - are illiterate.
My experiment is a success and my hypothesis proven: it doesn't take the issue itself to review the issue itself. Had I realized that a few months ago, I'd have ended up saving myself $155 or so. That's OK though - I plan to bill Mr. Busiek for my wasted time.
Main Art - 2: It's official. Mr. Bagley is over his 52-week obligation just as much as the readers are over it all. This feels like a total phone-in to me. The splash page has a bunch of characters who look nothing like themselves - even accounting for the reality fluctuations. Nemesis looks like a teenager. Kara looks like a full-blown grown-up. Dick is indistinguishable from Jason Todd as he appeared in the last weekly, Countdown to Final Crisis.
Back-Up Art - 4: The back-up art starts off average enough but it takes a real turn toward something special the minute J'onn walks on-panel. The bright colors of J'onn, Jay, Alan, and Carter literally burst off the page.
To give credit where it's due, the 'altered' costumes for Alan and Jay are very contemporary cool. I wouldn't want to see them in these new-fangled costumes often, but I wouldn't mind seeing the new duds from time to time. The costume designs have an Earth-2 flavor to them - the mask and color variations are especially reminiscent of the Earth-2 Robin's last costume.
I really like how the artist depicts J'onn morphing from Tommy to his Martian form. It is one of the more realistic and natural illustrations of J'onn's transmutation abilities I've ever seen.
Cover Art - 4: The continuation of the stain glass motif is pretty. However, the problem with these covers is that, by the time the third issue in the triptych comes out, the cover concept has gone from original to a three-in-a-row bore. I like the use of black on this set of covers - it works especially well with Batman and he's actually drawn a bit like his classic Detective Comics #27 self. Now we wait a week for Superman's spotlight.
Main Story - 1: "Their message, it's...
And other hilarity.
If you look at this book as an unintentional comedy, it kind of gains a little bit of fun. But not much.
What we have here is Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman still in an unimaginative incarnation holding other unimaginative reimaginations in stasis and endlessly debating whether they'll move on to the next part of the plot.
We know they will, so we're bored to tears waiting for it to bloody well happen, already.
Notable writing flaws in this issue include extensive uses of names in dialogue, redundant dialogue all over the place, characters speaking their thought without rationale to do so, and the fact that absolutely nothing happens.
Hey, want to play a fun game? Count the times that Supergirl says "duty" in one paragraph. And then count how many times she says "Who are you?"
And then, in short, you will know why I think this series is utterly and systematically constantly totally and frequently in many respects often frequently totally every time most issues frequently redundant redundant redundant redundant redundant.
Think about it a minute, you'll get it.
Main Art - 3: Poor Bagley. "PANEL THREE: The visored Supergirl LANCES OUT with her foot, kicking ALL THREE AT ONCE in a row, per the THREE STOOGES. NYUK! NYUK! NYUK! In the background, watching, are Arree, Moh, and Curlee. But rest assured, they're the only ones paying any real attention.
But beyond the oddness of many of these images, there are some broad spreads which are well done. There are also, however, many missing backgrounds filled in by coloring that would be more enjoyable if there were actual backgrounds.
This isn't Mark's fault, either, but I am dead sick of seeing these characters.
Back-Up Story - 1: "Hi! My name's Martian Manhunter! I've been lying to you for decades!"
"You seem trustworthy! Lead our fight to save the world!"
Another backup story about the fight to save the world from the evil trinities. It got old a while back, but it's still happening.
The script is full of names in dialogue, as was its main story.
The dilemma is so subjective and ill defined that there's no feeling of identity at all. It relies solely on the "cool factor" of seeing odd incarnations of characters, where the odd incarnation is the version from 1980-1990.
Back-Up Art - 2: Most of the characters are very roughly hewn, much of the action is vague and rushed, and there were several notably occasions where the art looked like a Liefeld. Look at the giant woman's face on the first page, or the arm at the top of the second page for significant examples. Obviously rushed.
Cover Art - 5: Good pictures of Batman, under the Batman image. Miraculously simple. It works!
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.