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Mild Mannered Reviews - Justice League Unlimited

Justice League Unlimited #24

Justice League Unlimited #24

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 2, 2006

Cover date: October 2006

Writer: Adam Beechen
Penciller: Carlo Barberi
Inker: Zach Howard
Cover Art: Ty Templeton

"Alone Among The Stars"

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge



The story opens with the Martian Manhunter being grappled by several JLU members, they are adorned with Starro face masks ordering his submission.

A quick flashback explains Starro caught the League by surprise enveloping the satellite in seconds and birthing hundreds of his miniature selves into the air ventilation.

J'onn had escaped only due to some smart shapeshifting, but that left him the only member onboard without a Starro facehugger. To face his greatest fear - being alone...

Jumping back to the present J'onn fights off some of his friends, something he states 'tears at his very soul.' Making a quick getaway into the depths of the satellite his isn't quick enough to dodge a particularly painful barrage of frozen darts, courtesy of Ice.

This encourages another flashback, right back in fact to J'onn's life on Mars with his family. At one point during their history there was a particularly vicious storm known as the Martian Bloodwinds - a phenomenon not unlike our hurricanes albeit planet-wide. The High Council had ordered evacuation on the green martians to the cave dwellings.

J'onn comforted his frightened children and assured them they would always be together. They began for the caves... on foot. Naturally this led to the entire family being swept apart, again leaving J'onn alone...

Back in the present, Fire has begun encasing J'onn in ice. Snapping back to his senses he exploded from the ice shell as a hulking beast, shrinks back to his smaller self and knocks out the albino femme fatale with a burst of heat vision.

Next stop, the leisure centre. Next confrontation - Fire.

Supposedly fire is a fear of martians, but J'onn remembers a comment he made earlier - fire isn't his fear, solitude is. Fire is his weakness - but it didn't need to be...

Jumping into the swimming pool J'onn is able to dodge much of Fire's barrage. Soaked in injury comforting water, Manhunter thinks quickly and bobbing up in the water thinks like Superman - he sucks all the air in the room into his vast lungs. With no oxygen, Fire quickly falls flat.

J'onn rushes for an airlock, the only place designed to keep things inside safe and to keep things out... only problem is a red blur passes inside with him unnoticed...

Catching his breath the Leaguer recalls being lost in the Bloodwind storm on Mars. Searching in vain through the razor sharp grains of sand. His family lost somewhere in the thick foggy air, leaving him a miserable weakened wreck of a Martian.

Snapping back again he realises that the Flash got into the airlock. Flash zips around advising J'onn to join Starro's family. Curiously not striking his friend unlike the others. J'onn slows down his perceptions enough to watch the Flash move in slow motion - prompty he grabs his friend and hurls him into a wall.

Dashing back into the corridors of the satellite, J'onn takes out as many of the Starro babies he can until he faces an unstoppable force... SUPERMAN!

Flashing back again, J'onn is alone in the storm... shrugging off his failure, embracing the storm, he summons all his strength to send out a telepathic call - a call that is promptly replied to! With the knowledge his family are alive J'onn is re-energized with strength enough to find his family!

Taking on Superman is a fools task for J'onn, it's a fight he can't win even on his best day... he knows that... so he submits to the League's plea to join Starro, voluntarily placing a Starro on his face!

Join embraces Starro's attempts to harmonise the entire league.

But what appears to be submission, is in fact J'onn tapping into Starro's community. He uses a burst of telepathy to contact the entire JLU.and when he does, the family instinct awakens in all of them and they break free.

The JLU now renewed with strength promptly kill Starro's children and Starro itself floats away into the depths of space.

During the clean up, Batman approaches J'onn.

He applauds J'onn's determination and receives a familiar reply.

'I lost my family once - not ever again.' Batman comforts his colleague assuring him that he completely understands how the Martian feels.

J'onn was alone once...

But now?

Now he will never be alone.

5Story - 5: A FIVE? Why? Yet another preachy Martian Manhunter focussed story! Weren't there a great many of these already? Well the answer is yes. It is again another story about the dullest member of the JLU and his insecurities. Yes there have been a great many of these. Yes it's a rehash. Yes the flashbacks are in completely the most inopportune moments (if he daydreams this much and especially during fights - it's a wonder he isn't dead yet!)

HOWEVER the reason it gets a five rating is because despite the VERY weak story it is actually an enjoyable romp with the League.

We see J'onn display his (Superman rip off) powers, we have him go on a journey of mind, conscience and strength that eventually helps him succeed, and he has a smackdown with Superman. Oh yes, there is STARRO of course!

So despite the flaws in the story, actually standing alone this was an enjoyable and fun adventure.

5Art - 5: Can't find a fault in the art, the action was fast paced enough I could almost picture it animated as an episode! The colorist could have done something more adventurous with the Bloodwinds instead of Barberi using 'whip-lines' to display its effects and current but that's being picky.

2Cover Art - 2: OK this 'tears at my very soul'.

I'll elaborate - its Ty Templeton - the man can do no wrong! Him doing the pencils alone warrants a 5.

BUT

Its J'onn as the covers star - not sure why he's always touted as the pseudo-leader and a popular member of the league by DC and Adam Beechen. Trust me if readers had the choice they'd pick another member to save the day. Shock horror - maybe Superman?

Quick question folks - does anyone else feel like they want more core member action instead of the second stringers?

I'm all for the 'spotlight' feel that Marvel Comics' Avengers had in the mid 1980's but throw us a bone here! Why are the Trinity, Hawkgirl and Flash always relegated to backgrounds?

The reason I ask this is that in the letters page in issue 24 several people touch on this - however they like the fact people like Gypsy and Vibe are the figueheads - let me know what you think.



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