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Mild Mannered Reviews - "Justice League Beyond" Comics

Justice League Beyond 2.0 - Chapter #7

Justice League Beyond 2.0 - Chapter #7

Released Digitally: November 9, 2013

"Power Struggle: Zone Defense"

Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Iban Coello
Inker: Iban Coello
Cover: Khary Randolph & Emilio Lopez

Reviewed by: T.A. Ewart (aka liheibao)

Click to enlarge

Superman continues to battle Jax-Ur in the Phantom Zone, while the Justice League Beyond (JLB) contends with his Superman robots. Superman alerts the Flash that she's the only one who can avert the disaster posed by the Superman robots self-destructing with the Fortress of Solitude. Flash races out of the Fortress and returns with Batman, who sends the robots to the Phantom Zone before they explode. The waiting Zoners exit expecting to find freedom to rend and pillage, but are met with a ready JLB and think about it. Batman closes the portal to the Phantom Zone, and all is safe for them and the Earth. However, Superman remains in the Phantom Zone, and within the pocket that makes his corporeal.

Superman defeats Jax-Ur, but the other Zoners enter the pocket, keeping him from leaving, and now outnumbering him. Superman takes them all on, but is eventual overtaken by the greater numbers. Alone and at the mercy of the Zoners, Superman remains defiant as Jax-Ur makes ready to kill him, but the timely intervention of the JLB, who have entered the Phantom Zone resets the clock.

4Story - 4: If you've got kids or are just a big kid at heart, then there is little reason not to recommend JLB 2.0. In this current wave of darkness, brooding, and down-right evil, it's good to have a book where heroes act like heroes. True heroism involves sacrifice, and a true team is based on loyalty. We see both displayed in JLB, and none of it worthy of a cringe or yawn or put-down. The JLB aren't going to leave Superman behind, neither will they allow him to fight alone, and so they enter the Phantom Zone, at personal risk to themselves to retrieve their own. It's easy, it's simple but it's also missing from "adult" comics that focus on bickering, monitoring who's dating who, and accomplishing all but nothing at the end of the day. In JLB, everyone has their part and role, and we can look forward to the moments they will have individually, but also the big moment they will have as a team, which has been dangled for release, and will finally come next issue. In the now defunct Superman Beyond, his last storyline brought in the JLB, and it weakened a strong start with theirDeusExMachinapresence. In this storyline, their arrival is spot-on. The JLB coming to Superman's aid is an obvious answer, but it's never made definitive that they will do so. That stance comes from the book's stellar portrayal of Superman.

There's a formula to Superman stories that most readers have picked up on. It's actually working its way through Superman Unchained currently, and will probably be used for "Krypton Returns" as well. It's used in JLB 2.0, but while it's usually done to invoke consternation, JLB 2.0 does it right, as Superman made need help with his situation, but it never seems that he's that far out of his depth. In fact, Superman continues to surprise, as he meets his challenges head-on, with or without powers, and never gives the reader any feeling that he'll fine a way to get the job done. Even in the last panel before the JLB arrive, even with Superman beaten and on his knees, even with Superman bleeding and about to be fried by Jax-Ur, there's no air of defeat on his part, no sense of capitulation, and that makes the JLB's arrival the surprise that it obviously shouldn't be. A pleasant surprise on the whole.

There is something very rewarding in reader a story about heroes, and Superman being among them; a Superman who gets it right, is up to speed, and isn't depicted as maniacal to show his growth. It's my own personal chagrin that it took so many less than palatable offerings of Superman for me to realize once more where his true value lies: in action, in hope, in heroism, in inspiration. The absence of these four corners makes Superman less than what he is and what he should be, especially since the aforesaid is where the character moves regardless of reboots and "reimaginings" of those who believe Superman needs a makeover. It's about a better story, not a better Superman, and thankfully, JLB 2.0 has been offering just that.

4Art - 4: Remarkably solid and consistent handling, particularly for a digital comic, which can fluctuate from issue to issue. The things I like remain, while the things I don't irk me less and less.

3Cover Art - 3: Grim, man. Truly grim!

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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