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Mild Mannered Reviews - Justice League Unlimited

Justice League Unlimited #3

Justice League Unlimited #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 3, 2004

Cover date: January 2005

Writer: Adam Beechen
Penciller: Carlo Barberi
Inker: Walden Wong

"Small Time"

Michael (George) O'Connor Reviewed by: Michael O'Connor

When the Atom tumbles inert on the League's meeting table, Wonder Woman, Ice, and Firestorm rush to his aid. Once recovered, the shrinking hero explains that he has just returned from an area in the Watchtower where miniature alien invaders have begun to filter through a rip between dimensions. A rip, the Atom explains, that the aliens' machine has created.

Apparently, the only way to stop this alien invasion is to shrink down to their size and duke it out. So, the four heroes shrink down and battle the invaders, Ice getting a terrible sense of vertigo in the process, and Firestorm having difficulty controlling the potency of his powers.

Eventually, the heroes work together to distract the creatures while the Atom uses their own machine to seal the dimensional rift. They get rid of the rest of them by turning on the Phantom Zone projector and aiming it at the swarms.

3Story - 3: The story itself is a little bland and cliched, but there are some nice touches. In particular, the whole concept of shrinking down is used to good effect here. The Atom reminds them to blow all the air out of their lungs, otherwise they'll burst apart when they shrink down, and Ice's vertigo and Firestorm's power problems were other good examples. They added a little something extra to the tedium of the cliche: aliens from another dimension with no character dimension. Though Wonder Woman was similiarly uninteresting, the character dynamic between the other three made up for this shortcoming.

3Art - 3: Pretty good. A little sparse though. Background are few and far between and the characters look a little too stiff sometimes. Altogether, though, it works decently enough with the story, and the action sequences, even if they're a little crowded, are a lot of fun.

2Cover Art - 2: No great achievement here. With all the text, you can barely see the illustration (seriously, fellas, this is getting a little out of hand). The illustration itself is not much, though. Just a quickly drawn Atom and some unthreatening aliens that look more like mutated mushrooms.

Bonus Stories:

"Escape From The Slab"

Writer: Steve Vance
Penciller: John Delaney
Inker: Ron Boyd

Mister Miracle arrives at the Slab, a seemingly impenetrable super-prison, to film a television special where he will navigate the many security systems of the institution and successfully escape. However, no sooner has he arrived, than he is held at gunpoint by Mad Dog McCoy's gang, disguised as policemen. They keep the show going, but force Miracle to lead Mad Dog through the obstacles, the latter remaining off-camera so as not to arouse viewers' suspicions. In the end, Miracle knocks out the power to the institution, giving Barda the opportunity to take out McCoy's gang, and he leads Mad Dog himself back to where they started, where the old crook is carted back to his cell.

"Rolling On The River"

Writer: Steve Vance
Penciller: John Delaney
Inker: Ron Boyd

Power Girl offers her assistance against a group of heavily armed criminals attempting a jailbreak from the outside of Belle Reve prison. She first saves a river patrolman almost caught in the crossfire and then brings the fight to the men onboard. But before she can lay a hand on the leader, she's blasted by a powerful cannon that she can't fight off. Only the interference of the river patrolman, who shoots the gang leader in the arm, allows Power Girl to get the upper hand on the crooks.

2Story - 2: First of all, I take a little offense at having to pay an extra $.70 for two "bonus" stories, because that really is a significant cost raise for a $2.25 comic book. And the fact that my "bonus" consists of some coloring pages (wow!) and what looks to be two stories recycled from the horrifically awful Adventures In The DC Universes really gets me - No wait, not *looks*, they definitely are from that book! Don't believe me? Just look at what the cover says: "Two Adventures In the DC Universe!" Then take a look at the art team (Delaney/Boyd) and then look at the content... bad and bad! Not to mention that Power Girl is supposed to be a villain in the JLU universe!

(For those who don't know about Adventures in the DCU, it was a really bad attempt to force the Timm style on every aspect of the DCU... but without changing any of the characters to better fit into the animated continuum. So, for example, they had Superboy, the clone of Superman, and they'd pretty much give you the whole convoluted back story of how he came to be in the DC mainstream just so they could illustrate him in the Timm style and then give you a predictably dumbed-down tale.)

Anyway, these two stories aren't atrocious, but they are pretty stupid. The big question in "Escape From The Slab" is why the most secure prison institution in the world, housing the most dangerous super-criminals anywhere, would allow a television show to reveal all its secret defenses to everybody watching at home. Yeah, that's *real* bright. As for the second story, the whole subplot about an informant in Mr. D's mob is both unclear and unimportant; the story is just a big dumb fight between goons with guns and Power Girl (whose costume is in tatters, by the way, except where she was actually blasted - in the chest).

2Art - 2: Delaney's work often deviates between pretty awful and pretty decent. The work here is about the same. Some pages are pretty nice, but just when you start to admire it, it gets bad again. The splash page for the Power Girl story is pretty cool, but most of the rest of it is sloppy. The Mister Miracle story is drawn pretty well, but sometimes it's so cartoony that it does the Timm style a disservice.

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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