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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League: Cry For Justice #2

Justice League: Cry For Justice #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 5, 2009

Cover date: October 2009

"Cry For Justice: The Gathering"

Writter: James Robinson
Penciller: Mauro Cascioli
Inker: Mauro Cascioli

"The Origin of the Atom"

Writter: Len Wein
Penciller: Mark Bagley
Inker: John Dell

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

"The Gathering"

Green Lantern and Green Arrow meet on a rooftop in Gotham City and Hal tells Ollie about how he never really liked Bruce. Elsewhere on Blackhawk Island Mikaal and Congo Bill fight in a hanger before both men become exhausted. They talk for a moment and realize that neither man is a villain and realize they both came to the island on a search for justice.

Back in Gotham Jason Bard arrives and informs Ollie and Hal that a group of villains is hiding out in a nearby building and that they were brought there by Prometheus. Hal and Ollie decide to follow through on Hal's plan to bring the fight to the bad guys and leap into action.

At the Flash Museum Ray Palmer meets with Jay Garrick and after briefly discussing Ray's recent tragedies he tells the older hero that he was on his way to Gotham when he had heard about the attack on the Museum. Ray and Jay talk some more about loss and letting go when Freddy Freeman, the new Shazam, arrives. Freddy was following leads on an attack at a Fawcett City S.T.A.R. Labs facility. Ray informs his former teammate that the trail points to Gotham and the two heroes leave Jay behind to follow up on his own leads.

Hal and Ollie finish up with their battle, which had spilled out on the street, as Ray and Freddy arrive. They play catch-up as a minor league villain named Javelin makes a last ditch effort to kill one of them. The projectile hits an indestructible chest with an S shield emblazoned on it and at first the heroes believe it to be Superman but it is soon revealed to be his cousin, Supergirl.

4Story - 4: There has been some discussion online about the first page of this issue, which would be kind of silly to ignore and I'd rather get it out of the way right here at the beginning than bury it somewhere near the end.

If you are just tuning in there is a line of dialogue "spoken" by Hal that seems to have gotten some noses out of joint. Since this is an all-ages site I'll avoid quoting it here but it referred to an "encounter" involving Hal Jordan, the Huntress and Lady Blackhawk. It seems that a certain contingent of the reading audience as well as other members of comic book fandom on the Internet that probably never even read the book find this offensive and in all honesty there is some merit there. While it is a line meant to provoke a laugh it was also really unnecessary to the story as a whole. I have to admit that I was kind of curious why it was there myself but here's the thing; it was a throwaway bit of dialogue meant to evoke the feeling of two guys sitting around talking. Sometimes guys can get a little raunchy.

The real question is this; was it any raunchier that, say, dialogue from the television series SEX IN THE CITY when the four main characters are sitting around talking at lunch? Is it ok there but not ok here? Or is the real problem that this is a slight to two characters that a good number of writers have worked hard to elevate beyond simple eye candy? I'm fairly certain that if you posed the question to twenty people you would probably not get a general consensus.

In all honesty I don't see the big deal. It was three panels out of an entire issue at the end of which Hal admitted that he would rather be known for flying planes and not his conquests of the opposite sex. At the risk of playing mind reader I am fairly certain that Robinson threw that sequence in there to humanize the characters and make them seem like real people. It was a joke that led into a neat conversation about why Hal and Bruce Wayne didn't like each other. I kind of feel bad that I just spent three paragraphs discussing it really, so I'll just drop it by writing that at the end of the day there are enough real problems and concerns in the world that make three panels in a comic book look like a drop in the bucket by comparison.

And now back to your regularly scheduled review.

This series continues to be a truly solid read. Robinson continues to play on his strength as a writer and focuses more on the characters while at the same time advancing the overall plot. The dialogue was very strong this time out and I have to admit that I was glad that the characters didn't go on and on about how they are out for justice. Sure it was fine in the first issue, but that got kind of wearying towards the end.

It was the dialogue that grabbed me this time out. Robinson came in strong with the Hal/Ollie talk at the beginning and it showed some insight into both men as characters. I also liked the fact that Robinson played with the old chestnut of heroes meeting and getting into a fight because of some sort of misunderstanding (in this case they just plain don't know who the other person is) and then teaming up for the greater good. While this was the only major action piece of the issue I really didn't mind. I was and am a big fan of Robinson's run on STARMAN and this scene is an example of why. Big huge fight followed by two guys wanting to have iced tea in some form. It just appeals to a certain part of my psyche and I guess that is the part that likes to read about people wanting to drink iced tea.

Maybe I need counseling.

While it kind of slowed the story down I also enjoyed the conversation between Ray Palmer and Jay Garrick in the ruins of the Flash Museum. It was a solidly written scene and explored where Ray is. Jay was sympathetic and gave some great advice fulfilling his role as one of the elder statesmen of the DCU. It was also neat to see reference to Winky, Blinky and Noddy even if it was to kill them. The appearance of Freddy Freeman was kind of strange because it seemed to come out of nowhere but the fact that Robinson referred to their previous relationship as members of the mid-nineties era of the Teen Titans (when the Atom was a teenager and Freddy was CM3) made me smile because I like that sort of thing. It may have been an odd way of bringing Freddy into the story but I have seen a lot worse character introductions. At least the rest of the cast is starting to come into play.

Nit picky comment for this issue number one; I guess Ray changed the properties of his costume so that it remained visible at normal size. Because it is supposed to disappear.

Just saying.

Supergirl's appearance was fairly dramatic and showed another hallmark of Robinson's writing style; the obscure literary, movie or music reference. In this case it was the mention of Charles Bukowski made by Green Arrow later to be questioned by Supergirl. I like this sort of thing when it is not overused and goes to show Ollie's reading tastes more than anything else. Again this is a character moment and is meant to be the icing on the cake so to speak.

Nit picky comment for the issue number two; Hal is standing over Dr. Polaris towards the end of the issue. I thought he was dead.

Again, just saying.

While the cast is still not complete, though I suspect that Batwoman will show up next issue, I still enjoyed the heck out of this second issue. It furthered the plot considerably and had some great character moments. I continue to enjoy the commentary pieces at the end of the issue and Robinson gave a good insight into Ray Palmer as a character and it was nice to see him give some love to the Roger Stern POWER OF THE ATOM series, which I enjoyed myself.

4Art - 4: The art continued to be strong in this issue and I think the story is benefitting from the painted look. Mauro's storytelling also continues to be strong in this issue. I especially liked cinematic approach to the establishing shot of the Blackhawk Island sequence. It really felt like the "camera" was following where the action was leading to followed by a burst of action on the two page spread. The scene in the Flash Museum was impressive as well and I liked the epic feel Mauro gave to the destruction of the museum while also putting in some great detail to the characters themselves. I wrote it in the last review and I feel the same way with this issue; the art is making this book worth the wait.

"The Origin of the Atom"

Physicist Ray Palmer was researching matter compression and discovered that with the aid of a mirror made of white dwarf star matter he could shrink objects. Unfortunately the test objects could not handle the stress of the process and would explode. When he and a group of students were trapped in a cave-in Ray was forced to use the mirror on himself but Ray did not explode upon returning to normal size. Finding that he retained the strength of a normal man at his six inch height Ray used his abilities to fight crime as the Atom.

4Story - 4: I liked the fact that Len Wein managed to sneak some character into the origin. I always liked the Atom's origin as it had an element of self-sacrifice in it and mentioning the fact that Ray's girlfriend was also trapped in the cave-in illustrated the overall drama of that original story. Wein captured the essence of the Atom in two pages and I am glad that these origins are continuing to appear.

4Art - 4: Bagley is turning out to be a good fit for the DCU as a whole. I dig his style and I liked the work he did on this two page origin.

4Cover Art - 4: This cover was good on a number of levels. The cityscape washed in red made the characters look that much more striking and I continue to like Mauro's take on the cast. Hal and Ollie look good as do Mikaal and Congo Bill. Freddy seemed to be the odd man out but it served to show that he was in the issue.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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