By Alexander Webb
I must admit, when I turned the first digital page of the first digital issue of Justice League 3000 on my Comixology app, I was impressed: a fast-paced story that had yet to reveal itself; characters, familiar and not, with questionable motives and reasons for being; and artwork that displayed action just as quick and choppy as the story.
I then read further.
My disappointment started growing towards the end of the first issue, and seeped into the confusing crevices of the second. A Justice League in the future, seemingly clones of the original Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern, who are constantly fighting amongst themselves and portraying arrogant behavior uncharacteristic of the original team. 'Are the writers just unfamiliar with these heroes?' I wondered. The futuristic world created for us was certainly intriguing and gorgeous, but something seemed odd with how events were developing. I read on, thinking maybe this was just writers J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen's way of throwing us into the fray, in hopes of whetting our appetites.
The Good: Readers aren't kept as out of the loop, thankfully, with events unfolding a little more clearly. After the Flash died last issue (I know, right?!), the team was sent to a prison world that we find out is a decaying Earth. Green Lantern is the new boy-toy, literally, of teen reality-bender Locus, established as our short-term antagonist. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman now try to find out how they can get off this bleak future-Earth, making a potential ally along the way.
The art is an enjoyable, ruddy-stylization, thanks to Howard Porter's deft pencil strokes. I enjoyed his run on Superman Beyond, and he again shows us what he brings to the table in this series. His facial expressions, especially on Superman and Locus, are handled well, making every detail look rough-hewn and attractively messy. Backgrounds, like dying Earth, are similarly detailed. Not all artists can pull of this style, but here it looks great. There is something that's lacking though…
The Bad: …which is the story. I get it; it's the Justice League, with only some of their memories and powers, brought back to life somehow in the future. Humanity's existence has been on the verge of extinction for the last ten years, and the secret, government-based CADMUS thought resurrecting these heroes would be mankind's best chance for survival. Exciting premise.
But for as much as this story begins to let us into the loop, my question is, why is it carried out with hesitance? It's difficult to tell what direction this book is heading in. We see the return of a main character from the first issue, but the cliffhangers and final-panel surprises can only last for so long. Chalk it up to impatience, but I want some answers. We also need to see some redeeming qualities in these characters, particularly our four remaining heroes, so that we can get a better connection to them, and to the book itself. Right now, the Arrogant League does not have my vote of emotional support.
The intrigue is there, as I truly do want answers to my questions; chief among them, 'Who are these Justice League members? Clones? Zombies? Brain-damaged imposters?' We're three issues in, and I don't plan on throwing in the towel just yet. The towel is in hand, though, and I hope by next month I can put it away for good.
Alex Webb is a fitness trainer by day, Batman-enthusiast by night. Ask him about fitness, comics, RPGs, and answering life's mysteries via Twitter and Instagram @officiallywebb