Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Justice League Unlimited

Justice League Unlimited #4

Justice League Unlimited #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 1, 2004

Cover date: February 2005

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

"Local Hero"

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

On the planet Raan, Kanjar Ro has (somehow) defeated Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Enlongated Man, and he's got the Man of Steel on the ropes. Fortunately, Adam Strange happens to be a very good shot, and with a blast of his ray gun, the interstellar villain is robbed of his Kryptonite wand and helpless to Superman and Strange.

With the villain defeated, the crowds amass, and the Earthling, Adam Strange, delivered to the planet Raan by a Zeta Beam, is celebrated once again as the planet's savior. Of course, this kind of thing happens every time that Adam saves the planet, which is about once a week, and Adam is as fond of the citizens of Raan as they are of him. He's even got a wife and child now and prefers the planet to his native Earth.

However, as it turns out, there is at least one member of the planet who is not a part of the Adam Strange fan club. In fact, this young boy, Salaan, is out to prove that he, a native Raanian, can do anything just as well as the Earthling, if not better. His nationalistic pride getting the better of him, Salaan steals Adam's gear from a museum and Ro's kryptonite wand as well. Salaan then breaks into prison and frees Kanjar.

Then, the foolish young Raanian, dressed in Strange's gear, takes the space pirate into the middle of a large square and announces that he will free Kanjar and then apprehend him again to show his (and Raan's) worth. Just to make sure that those pesky Earthlings don't get involved, he traps them within a force field and transmits the kryptonite wand's radiation into Superman's chambers.

J'onn J'onnz tries to break through the force field, but doesn't get far and the Justice League begin scheming how to get out and save the kid before he gets himself killed.

Speaking of which, Salaan isn't faring too well by himself. Kanjar's kicking the tar out of the kid when Adam gets an idea to use his jetpack's inner motivator doohickey to blow a hole in the force field. It works and the League go into action with a jetpack-less Adam close behind.

Kanjar manages to take out Batman, Elongated Man, and Martian Manhunter (again!) and then flies off to cause havoc somewhere else. Adam hands over his blaster to Salaan and tells him to aim for the jetpack. The kid shoots, and his aim is true.

His lesson learned, Strange decides to begin training the Raanians to form their own police force so that they will be able to protect themselves in the future.

3Story - 3: You know, this would definitely be a "4" if it weren't for a few things that nagged me during the ish. It really was a very good story and a lot of fun, and it even had a nice little moral at the end of it, but there were some leaps in logic I would have had trouble making even if I'd been strapped to a jetpack. The first: how does a little weasel like Kanjar Ro take out Batman, Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter, *and* Superman? Not once, mind you, but twice! I just couldn't buy it. Maybe if there had only been three Justice Leaguers (ie, no Superman) and Ro was like, I dunno, Brainiac... maybe then I could have understood it, but this was just asking too much. Alright, next up: what is with the Raanian security? No wonder Adam's got to save them every week! For God's sake, man! Don't they have anyone guarding the museum where all Adam's cool schwag is kept? A rocketpack, a kryptonite wand... you don't want those kind of things falling into the wrong hands... especially adolescent ones! And then the jail... there are no bars on the window? It's a wonder they don't have prison breaks all the time on that planet. Just ridiculous. To make matters worse, I don't know how a twelve year old kid learned to "broadcast" kryptonite radiation... or shrink a grown man's costume into fitting him. Did he run to the tailors in between panels? One other thing, and this is a little nitpicky, admittedly. Martian Manhunter does not have heat vision in the DCAU. He just doesn't, and Timm's reason is pretty good - how would a guy who's vulnerable to fire be able to have heat vision? He wouldn't. Okay, that's nitpicky, but he's got it in this issue, and that irritates my fanboy sensibilities. But with all these negative things listed above (and I do tend to dwell on the negative, I'll admit), I have to say that this was, otherwise, a solid issue. I really liked that this kid wanted to prove himself and stop living off Adam Strange's coattails. It was brave, and stupid, to try and take Kanjar alone, but he's a kid and that's just the kind of thing some proud, self-respecting, puberty ravaged kid with something to prove would try and pull off. I also like the ending to the story. Strange doesn't hog the spotlight; he gives his blaster to the kid and lets him prove himself. And he also plans on teaching the Raanians how to defend themselves. In these ways, he places the power and responsibility of enforcement and defense where it should be- in Raanian hands; this action, more than any big fight or good shot, gives Adam a few points in my book. Not only is he an action hero, but he's both wise and mature to top it off.

5Art - 5: Barberi and Wong step up their game in this ish. We've got some great, sci-fi-tastic backgrounds and the Adam Strange action shots are tremendous. Everything from the design of the people and architecture to the fight sequences, colors, and poses is well-done. While the style departs a little from the more angular, strictly defined Timm style, Barberi and Wong play off it just enough to do their own thing while remaining loyal to the source material. Stellar effort, fellas! Looking forward to some more of the same quality in the near future.

2Cover Art - 2: As for the cover, ehhhhh, not so much. Very typical, very boring and, once again (are you listening DC?), too many words on the page! You can barely see the art with all the crap they manage to pile on there!

Other recent reviews:

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2005

February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2005.