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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice #2

Justice #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 19, 2005

Cover date: December 2005

Writter: Jim Krueger and Alex Ross
Penciller: Doug Braithwaite
Painter: Alex Ross

"Justice: Chapter Two"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

Riddler and his henchmen stand in Wayne Tower, using the powerful computers to break into Batman's computer system. Suddenly the surveillance pops up, identifying Bruce Wayne moving through the building. As the information disk finishes and pops out of the computer, Wayne stops outside the door. But when the door opens, Batman greets them instead.

Riddler and his men dash down the stairs, not willing to trust the elevation since Batman already hacked the computer system to make it seem like he was Bruce Wayne. They drive away and within seconds Batman is on their trail in the Batmobile. He curses himself, letting his own computer give away his identity. He is just lucky that Riddler thought it was a ruse and not the truth.

As he follows, he receives a call from Red Tornado, reporting that Aquaman is still missing. Batman tells Tornado that he'll do what he can. Superman is already scanning the planet from orbit, and Batman suggests that they send J'onn to hunt for him.

Batman launches a hook into Riddler's van and brakes, stopping both vehicles. Batman leaps out and subdues a few of the henchmen, following the rest into a club called the Batcave. Riddler and Batman trade blows before the remaining goons grab Batman. But in a bar named for Batman, he has many allies. As the patrons subdue the goons, Batman approaches Riddler. But when Riddler opens his cloak a torrent of light and question marks assault the dark knight. When reality returns, the Riddler is gone. Batman finds a few clues and leaves.

Flash runs to the revitalized desert. The people there tell him how a man arrived with a gun that made ice, and that ice became the sea. Flash wonders what Captain Cold could be up to now.

Elsewhere, Poison Ivy commands a huge stalk to grow, providing an entire city with much-needed food.

Batman trails Riddler to the cemetery, armed with heat goggles that will make him immune to Riddler's new hologram technology. He attacks Riddler again, finally besting the villain and demanding the disk back. As Batman holds him, the Riddler begins to strangle himself. Finally he releases his grip and asks what's wrong with him.

Back in the Batcave Batman tells Alfred how concerned he was that Riddler would get his hands on the information on the disk. In Arkham, Riddler is shown back to his cell as the Joker yells out at him. Joker has heard about the dreams of Armageddon the others are having, and he wants in on it.

Elsewhere, Arthur lies strapped to a table. A strange monkey with machinery implanted on his head leaps over his body. A voice tells Aquaman that he wants to perform experiments. As Brainiac walks into view holding a scalpel, he tells Arthur that he wants to get inside his head.

4Story - 4: This wasn't as strong a story as last issue, but I still enjoyed it, especially on the second read-through. I'm wondering if each issue of Justice will be focusing on an individual character, which is both good and bad. I liked the look at Batman, but I'm really hoping that we get more League action before issue twelve rolls around. And while I liked making him more fallible, I also thought Batman's oversight of a security system that could identify him was pretty extreme. I also really like the Joker cameo, upset because he doesn't get to take part in the end of the world. Brainiac though, was fantastic. I like the idea of a mad scientist Brainiac. It fits well with the character, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this takes us. Overall, another solid job by Ross and Kruger, but I'm hoping we see more of the League assembled in coming issues.

5Art - 5: Ross' work (and Braithwaite's as well) continues to be stellar. Ross has always done a fantastic Batman, very realistic while still maintaining a sense of power. The redesign of Riddler blew me away though. The holographic cloak is a lot more believable than most of the technologies that some of these villains carry around, and the green glow coming out by his head and feet make a boring character look awesome. The Brainiac was also perfect. Rather than just a green skinned human, he actually looks scary, with his head implants actually looking like they are sunk into his wrinkled scalp. The only thing I can complain about is the layout of the panels. They fit a ton of panels into the book and on the more monochromatic pages they really run together (look at the club scenes). I'm sure this book will look fantastic when its reprinted as an Absolute edition in two or three years, but until it gets oversized it just feels cramped.

3Cover Art - 3: I love the art, obviously, but with someone like Alex Ross, I expect every cover to be worthy of a poster, and this one just wasn't. The lack of color, even if that emphasizes Riddler, and the blank background really hurt this cover. It's a nice image, but it does nothing when you glance at it on the newsstand. I'd still take this over a ton of other covers, but I've come to expect more from Ross.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2005

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