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Mild Mannered Reviews - Justice League Unlimited

Justice League Unlimited #5

Justice League Unlimited #5

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 5, 2005

Cover date: March 2005

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

"Monitor Duty"

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

The Blue Beetle is stuck with monitor duty, alone in the JLU's Watchtower, just trying to pass the time of day.

After snacking, surfing the Internet, trying on his teammates' costumes (ewww... creepy!), and bugging heroes who are in the midst of being heroic, the Blue Beetle hears a tapping on the window... a loud tapping.

Before Blue Beetle can do anything, the General bursts into the tower. No match for the behemoth, Blue Beetle does his best to dodge his archenemy's massive fists and then find some weapon in the JLU's headquarters that might give him a fighting chance.

When Green Lantern shows up, the Blue Beetle almost gives a sigh of relief, until the General drops GL with a single sucker punch.

The General then closes in on Blue Beetle, until the hero swipes Green Arrow's "flare arrows and screamer arrows," and sets both off in the General's face. The combined effect somehow sends the General into a severe seizure.

With the villain defeated, Green Lantern carts him off, leaving the Blue Beetle to kick back and enjoy monitor duty for a little longer.

3Story - 3: If not for Beechen's skill at keeping a humorous mood, this issue's lackluster plot and contrived logic would certainly have drowned out any fun to be had. Instead, there are some amusing moments where Blue Beetle copes with his boredom, and the cartoonish (and by this I mean, like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoonish) antics of the fight sequence got a few laughs out of me as well. Of course, if Blue Beetle had actually devised a clever plan for taking out the General, this issue would have been a lot better. Why not pick up GL's ring, after all? Or lead the General into the path of the Phantom Zone projector? Or into the JLU's Hall of Weapons for some real fun? Instead, we get the trick arrow ending, which was lame, disappointing, and implausible. If some light and sound from a couple of arrows could cause the General to seizure, then he must have never seen a rock concert, or played a video game, or, oh, I don't know... been in a war? Some General!

4Art - 4: I really like the art team on JLU so far. Barberi's layouts are really solid-they're clean, stylized, and well-paced from panel to panel. He does a great job of tapping into the mood of the story, shifting between static and action sequences, and really does some nice work changing perspective and angles on the reader. Meanwhile, Wong is a competent inker; he reinforces that clean, sharp look of Barberi's layouts and does well with motion and shadows. The only complaint I have, really, is that the backgrounds are always so minimalist. While it makes the characters pop out all the more, it would be nice to have backdrops with a little more detail and activity.

2Cover Art - 2: JLU's covers have really been sucking, and this month is no exception. While there isn't quite as much text to take up the page as previous months (and there's still a considerable amount), the image is really simple and dull, not to mention poorly drawn. The orange starburst in the background is evidence that the artist couldn't be bothered to actually draw a background, and judging by the quality of what is drawn, maybe that's not even such a bad thing. A blind five-year-old could have done a better job.

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

January 2005

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