REVIEW: Convergence: Blue Beetle #1-2

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Full disclosure…I have no idea about what has been going on with DC’s Convergence crossover. But, as a long time Justice League International fan, this was something that would be right up my alley. Oh yeah, and it has Ted Kord alive.

For most of this two-part mini series, we get the Justice League International fighting Kingdom Come‘s Justice League. The two Justice Leagues are pretty much fighting for the survival of their universe. It’s exactly what you would expect from a comic book with alternate reality versions of the same characters fighting each other.

It’s pretty much up to JLI and Kingdom Come Ted Kord to save everyone. From that point, the rest pretty much falls into place. And that they do. They are super heroes, after all.

For an event comic, Convergence: Justice League International just wasn’t eventful. It’s hard justifying to myself that I spent $8 on these two issues. But, as a Blue Beatle fan, at least it was a Ted-centric story. I would pretty much recommend this to anyone who is a Blue Beetle completist.

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Justice League International #7-12: Booster Has A Breakdown

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We are back! I finally got around to looking at the last six issues of Justice League International. This was the second series from the New 52 that I was really excited about that happened to get cancelled. So what happens to the Booster Gold lead group on their final mission?

This final story arc starts with a bang, as the group gets attacked during a public event by a new villain named Breakdown. This guy–along with his squad of villains–wants the world to descend into chaos and anarchy, and what better way to start that campaign by taking out one of the premier super groups while the world watches. There are countless casualties; Rocket Red and some of the JLI’s support staffers were killed. Ice, Fire and Vixen have all been seriously injured.

The rest is a pretty by the numbers super hero story. Booster recruits some new members to the team, including OMAC and Batwing (well, more so Batman brought him to the fold since they’re besties). JLI has to put aside all their fears and what has just happened to them in order to save the world, which they do. The final issue ties up all the loose ends of the series, with the team on the verge of disbandment until Batman is able to secure them a new headquarters and financial support from Bruce Wayne. It’s also stressed that they feel they have to carry on so Rocket Red will not have died in vain. 

The biggest problem that I had with this–and one of my biggest complaints about the whole New 52–is that for some reason, it seems really hard to take any of the villains seriously. They’re all new, for the most part, and seem really generic. Not to mention, not all that threatening. Breakdown’s crew just seemed lacking and it was hard to believe that they were really that much of a threat.

That said, the ending was really weird, especially since it was the last issue of the series. It sets up a pretty firm new status quo and that the story would be continuing as opposed to stopping cold. I don’t think you can blame Dan Jurgens writing for that; perhaps he wasn’t told that the twelfth issue would be the last. 

I still think that Justice League International still has a lot of life in it as a concept, as the lesser super hero team in the DC Universe. I hope that we get to see the members of the team make more appearances in stories to come. 

Justice League #8

Justice League isn’t a title that I plan on regularly reading, but I was intrigued with the eighth issue featuring Green Arrow. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed the current portrayal of the character and as a lifelong Oliver Quinn I wanted to check this out.

Geoff Johns put it together mostly as a stand alone issue, with Green Arrow trying desperately to win the affection of the other Justice Leaguers. With the exception of Green Lantern, no one wants anything to do with him. Arrow tries his best to tag along and assist, much to everyone’s disdain.

This was a really fun issue to read. Unfortunately all of Green Arrow’s tagging along doesn’t get him a seat at the big kid’s table. The book does end with Steve Trevor, the government’s liaison to the team, offering him an opportunity to join another team. Please let it be Justice League International…

If I regularly rated things with starts, I would say this gets ****. It’s a good read. The story is self contained, but still fits into the greater continuity of the series. Pick this up.

Justice League International #5

Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti’s Justice League International #5 finishes their first story arc without a bang, and I mean that in a literal sense since the JLI was able to put aside their individual pettiness and stopped alien invader Perraxus from destroying the Earth.

Along the way there’s lots of arguing, in fighting and a whole lot of self doubting on the part of Godiva, but they survive. The book ends with a panel showing the JLI surviving on a television monitor, with someone saying that they’ll have to go to their fallback plan on killing the heroes.

What I do like about this book is Jurgens’ take on the characters. None of them are impressed or in awe of Batman, which is an overdone cliché in a lot of super hero team comics. They treat him just like any other hero. I also like the relationship between Booster Gold and Guy Gardner; Guy is always antagonizing Booster (who isn’t as inept as the original JLI).If I could change the book, I would probably make the team a little smaller just to allow more characterization and depth. At time it seems like Fire and Vixen are just there. Anyway, this first arc was pretty solid and I wonder where they’re taking this “kill the JLI” subplot.

Justice League International #4

You don’t have to be Wesley Willis to see that Peraxxus whooped Batman’s ass.

Justice League International #4 suffered from what I’ll call “issue #4 syndrome”. It’s not that it was a bad comic, but I couldn’t not get the feeling that this was the calm before the next issue.

Intergalactic bad guy Peraxxus reveals his plan, using his Signal Men robots in an effort to destroy the planet. Will the JLI, now with Guy Gardner and Batman fully on the same page with Booster, be able to stop this monster? Find out next month.

And that’s the problem I had. This just felt like a space holder of an issue. I guess the next part (hopefully the conclusion) will tie this all together. This one was skippable.

Justice League International #2

Maybe I was a little hard in the last post, but Dan Jurgens’ other “New 52” book Justice League International has been great. The second issue has the JLI deployed to Peru to fight a giant alien robot.

Unfortunately for them, this is a super tough robot.

Not only that, but this team is really dysfunctional. Jurgens has a lot of characterization crammed throughout this issue. Lets bullet point these developments:

  • Rocket Red and August General in Iron constantly bicker about who’s country (Russia and China, respectively) is better. General also has an odd dialogue style, as he talks in proverbs.
  • Guy Gardner only gets interested in being part of the team once Ice gets hurt. Apparently Guy has a super crush on her, so that’s one element of pre-New 52 DC that sticks.
  • Booster Gold is trying his damnedest to be a good leader, and Godiva undermines him unintentionally by flirting with him constantly.
That said, they fail in their first mission, and now there are a few more of these monster robots around the globe. It’s up to Batman to be the straight person to this cast of characters, and its nice to see that he has a certain level of respect to Booster. I think that Jurgens is continuing the theme of Booster maturing and living up to his potential that he explored in the last Booster Gold series.

 

 

 

Justice League International #1

I finally found it! Justice League International #1 was found at a Barnes and Noble in Holyoke, Massachusetts on the way back from my friend Margot of White Hot Oven fame’s awesome wedding. So Sunday was a double treat for me–I went to a great wedding and got a chance to pick up the relaunch of one of my favorite comic book concepts. So how did Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti do?

The new JLI is founded by the United Nations to be their own multi-national super hero team. It seems that in the New DC, people are much more skeptical of super powered types like in the Marvel Universe. Lead by the popularity seeking Booster Gold, the new JLI is made up of some of the usual suspects like Guy Gardner (who resents taking orders from Booster), Fire and Ice, and the current Rocket Red. The new additions are Vixen (a perpetually underused character in the DC pantheon), Godiva (a forgotten super heroine with magic hair who flirts with Booster continually) and August General in Iron, a Chinese super hero from the Great Ten.

The book is a lot of exposition, as to why the heroes were picked for the team and how they interact. Batman, well because he’s Batman, has to be part of the team. He joins up independently, as the UN doesn’t want him in due to his secret identity. The book ends with the team setting off on their first mission.

Lopresti’s art is fine, and Jurgens does a good job of getting across all the different personalities. I like that he’s writing Booster to be a stronger character/leader type, as he did in Booster’s recently ended solo book. Overall, I would give this a B+, as it was very good and definitely peaked my interest for the next issue.

The Baltimore Comic Con That Was…

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Galactus prowls the streets of Baltimore at the 2011 Baltimroe Comic Con (Photo courtesy Scotto Bear)

Well, Baltimore Comic Con 2011 has come and gone, and with that so has my summer vacation. So how was this year’s show?

 
Definitely lots of fun. The girlfriend and I went on Sunday and had a blast. I’ve been going to this show since 2004 and I think this might be the busiest one. That was propably due to the Stan Lee’s appearances. But I’d like to think that it was due to people liking comics. It was a very lady and family friendly comic show, which is alway a good thing.
 
The highlight of the show for me was getting to chit-chat with Louise Simonson and the Justice League International team of Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire, who were all super nice. Not to mention, all the fun I had meeting Dennis Kitchen and a bunch of other cool people in the artist alley section. I picked up two awesome sketches which I’ll post later and show my haul of goodies that I picked up!
 
I would have blogged more about the event, but a combination of my camera crapping out and my laptop going fhqwhgads (Homestar Runner reference), I would have more of my trip to share with you.

30 Things I Like About Comics—#1 Justice League International

We’ve done it. We’ve gotten to one of my–if not the favorite–things in comics, the Justice League International. So how did a group of B and C list super heroes capture my heart?

Writers Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis gave this motley crew such great personalities. Just look at some of them. Booster Gold was a greedy, scheming George Costanza type, but had the looks and self confidence to make it work. His best friend Blue Beetle was always cracking jokes, but secretly had low seelf esteem in regards to his appearance.
Fire was a Brazillian sex pot and her best friend Ice was a bit socially conservative.
Guy Gardner was the prototypical dumb jock and was stuck with an idiot would-be sidekick in G’nort. Power Girl and Black Canary were super feminists. Elongated Man and his wife Sue were the obnoxious cute couple. Maxwell Lord was like Mr. Sheffield from The Nanny, but more of a tool. And these were just the primary characters.

The best part of this book was how they were able to intertwine the JLI’s personal lives and problems equally with the crime fighting and world saving stories. The book may have been silly at times, but you would always be more interested in what was going on between the characters then what diabolical scheme they were stopping.

You remember the time that Booster and Beetle tried to open a vacation resort on the living island Kooey Koeey Kooey. You remember Guy’s awkward first date with Ice. Or when Batman finally had enough and punched Guy out. Just fun stuff.

I thin that’s why many readers, and myself personally, had such a hard time with the whole mid 2000s DC, where it seemed that JLI characters were being killed left and right. Sue Dibny’s death was the plot device in Identity Crisis (and later on Elongated Man got killed off). Maxwell Lord turned uber-villain and murdered Blue Beetle. Rocket Red bit the dust in OMAC Project. Saying the last decade was rough is an understatement. It sucks seeing your favorite characters getting knocked off left and right.

But I’m really excited for the fall, with a new book featuring JLI coming after Flashpoint. It’s written by Dan Jurgens, who not only worked on JLI back in the day but also created Booster Gold. I can’t wait!