DC You Review & Spoilers: Justice League Of America #1 By Bryan Hitch & Various. A Martian Among Us? The New Stormwatch?? By Rao! DC Comics On Fire!

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JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA {4th Series} #1

“Power and Glory: pt. 1” (48 pages)

Story & Art by: Bryan Hitch

Inks by: Daniel Henriques w/ Wade von Grawbadger & Andrew Currie

Colors by: Alex Sinclair w/ Jeromy Cox
Letters by: Chris Eliopoulos

Assists by: Amedeo Turturro

Edits by: Brian Cunningham
Covers by: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair [main & JLA members]; Howard Porter & Hi-Fi [Joker variant]

Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $5.99

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Bryan Hitch makes a triumphant return to the Magnificent Seven!! How coincidental [NOT!] that he come back to a title he drew fifteen years ago!! Same nomenclature more or less. Epic is a word associated with this man who views himself as a storyteller and not ‘just an artist’. He became internationally known for the widescreen format within the four walls. Reacquainting himself with DC’s top team (and former number one title) is an olive branch extended and recognition of his contributions. Go big, or go home. Well, for now, both apply to Mr. Hitch and the further adventures of the JLA!!

I was thinking of presenting the summary out of order. By that I mean in ‘proper’ clumps rather than the back-and-forth that Mr. Hitch authored. It won’t make as much sense perhaps but I feel it’s an easier read. Thus, I take the liberty of grouping the plot points which run laterally.

  1. Superman and the Infinity Corporation [pp. 1-6, 8-13, 17-19, 28, 36] {17 pages}

The first four pages have Superman in space. The dialogue delivered will be replayed later (in flashback). The time is now. Earth has exploded! The mighty and powerful Superman was incapable of preventing whatever catastrophe occurred. Another invader is arriving.

Let’s step back a bit. Clark Kent has received an invitation to an exclusive engagement. He is to be at the Infinity Corporation in NYC with proper attire. Lois is the one that comes across the formal request. She and Clark have their banter. It’s a lone summons thus she can’t tag along.

Superman is less than impressed and seriously miffed when he arrives at ICHQ. Firstly, his secret ID has been uncovered. Secondly, the letter was laced with lead and the facility has materials and EM pulses to screw up his X-Ray vision. Thirdly, he’s ready to take down the entire complex with his bare hands. How rude of me!! Introductions must be made. Alexis Martin presents herself to the Man of Steel. She wants him to meet Vincent, presumably the brains of the operation.

Already attentive and annoyed with the subterfuge, Supes observes a room littered with copious carbon copy corpses. He is a tad outraged. Vincent, with his back to him, announces the arrival of another. The difference here is that this version comes out alive but for less than ten seconds. He breathes to Clark not to trust ‘him’. Vincent has a fit. This is the sixty-first failed attempt. Vinnie is quite the whippersnapper. He looks no younger than sixteen. He finally reveals IC’s purpose: the company wants to save Superman’s life.

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Details are given about the disturbing turn of events. Conscious objects dubbing themselves the Stones of Forever began transporting Supermen from various timelines. Should our Superman receive the kiss of death, existence becomes null and void. The Stones have complete mastery of the fourth dimension. At times, they transport humans to far and away places. Vincent doesn’t have all the answers. This is why he isn’t as forthcoming as Supes would like. The crux of the matter is mentioned: the Last Son of Krypton’s death is the focal point for the undoing of everything. Vincent was doing Superman a courtesy by informing him. He states that he has a ‘special relationship’ with the Stones. In a nutshell, Superman has to abandon his altruistic ways. He must be completely selfish and save his own skin to prevent the expiration of all individuals.

Superman still doesn’t have all the answers he’d like. He tells Vincent that his deceased double shouldn’t trust ‘him’, most likely the boy genius. Vincent halts the session by showing him the scuffle at NMCEPP. Supes is obviously going to assist his teammates. Alexis remarks that the entire interaction could have run more smoothly. These two are definitely not whom they seem. She wanted to come clean to Big Blue but Vincent reminds her of the mutual agreement to remain silent and avoid risk.

The Infinity Corporation aren’t just two people. A third party reports to the duo. Her name is Jane. She was posing as Lois Lane!! Jane seems to be a shape-shifter and telepath. Could she be a Martian?? She wants a guarantee that their plan is foolproof. She worries about the JLA crashing down on them. Vincent tells her he has taken precautions. He heads off to converse with the Stones.

  1. Aquaman and the U.N. / Atlantis [pp. 15-16, 32] {3 pages}

The King of Atlantis is debating at the free world’s intergovernmental organization. Basically, he shuts down any notion of sharing and/or trading tech for weapons with the surface dwellers. Aquaman espouses concern over foreign items whereas the General Assembly convey distrust. Arthur is not the least bit convinced of the Mutual Defense Pact. On top of that, he assures the Earthers that Atlantis is under their radar in terms of renewed attacks. Arthur overhears something about Olympus. He must make haste to his home. It is highly unlikely the two sides will see eye to eye.

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Back in Atlantis, a soldier informs King Arthur of a visitor. The stranger affirms that he wants an audience with Olympus. It’s a good thing Aquaman is good friends with Wonder Woman! This hidden individual claims to be a prophet. He warns Arthur that the age of the false gods is at an end and that the true god is coming. Huh. Intense messenger.

  1. Mysterious Package / The Gang’s All Here / Set-Up! [pp. 7, 14, 20-27, 29-31, 33-35, 37-44] {24 pages}

Some suspect security guards have infiltrated The Maw, Metropolis’ Supermax Prison. First I hear of this!! They secure a heavy metal-encased parcel and depart. [Note: this is where the half-page Twix ads are located. Technically, one full page split in two.] The covered container is dropped off at the New Metropolis Clean Energy Power Plant. Whoever is expecting that delivery will be coming by anon.

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Green Lantern is the first responder on the scene. His unsubtle approach is remarked by Wonder Woman. Within a Flash, the Scarlet Speedster makes an appearance. He has twice done a recon around the complex. Inconclusive results. Batman mutters under his breath that Barry missed something. Diana inquires why the Brave and the Bold are present. GL chimes in an exclusive invitation. It was definitely a ploy to get the three of them together.

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Unbeknownst to the trio, Batman is surveilling them. He critiques their conspicuous entrance. He jumps into their midst and warns them to disperse. The package is an energy siphon. GL is the first to feel its effect as the energy from his power ring begins to be drained. Three guesses who could pull off such a thing — the Purple People/Power Eater better known as the Parasite!! Flash fares no better since contact is made. Parasite now harnesses the Speed Force. Great. Diana ropes the quarry.

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Diana is thrown into Parasite’s maw (get it?) She is immediately incapacitated due to hearing several voices within him. Her entry causes Parry some indigestion since her body is full of raw divine power on a level higher than Superman’s. Speak of the devil. He bursts through the gluttonous glob and snatches WW. She’s still out of it since the voices are stuck in her head. Perhaps Diana wasn’t causing Parry’s predicament. He is thrown off course a bit. He scoops up Superman but that doesn’t last. GL brings the pain. Flash regains his footing and barely makes it out of range when Parry gets a second wind and smashes Supes, GL, and Wondy.

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It was only a matter of time before the last member popped up! Cyborg!! It makes total sense for him to be the deus ex machine [natch! Read that carefully]. His metallic body is impervious to the Parasite’s deadly touch. A snippet shows Vincent against the wall with power surging around him. Is he the one controlling Parry and manipulating events?!?

Diana is nowhere to be found. Hal’s power ring is ready to transport him back to Oa since he’s unconscious and injured. Cyborg accesses the file on Parasite. Flash has already circumnavigated the globe twice. He’s trying to relay a message to Superman. When he comes back, Supes has to stop him in his tracks. Flash runs interference with Hal’s transport. Superman hears the ‘echo’ as the red racer re-emerges. The good guys are losing badly! Three of them are gonzo!

The two non-powered members (well, Cyborg is a bit of a special case) run inside. Victor will act as a conduit and unleash all the energy from the facility directly at Parasite. That should do the trick. Time is of the essence. Cyborg manages to pull it all together in a hair’s breadth. The Greater Metropolis Area gets a power surge/boost. Batman points out that each teammate received an invitation. He asks Vic to boom tube them to NYC.

  1. By the Sun of Krypton! [pp. 45-48] {4 pages}

The ICHQ has vanished into thin air. Supes is astounded that Bats doesn’t have intel on this mystery group. Cyborg draws the World’s Finest’s attention to a colossal spacecraft. It resembles the Sword of Damocles. The typical trope of “I Come in Peace” is relayed across the globe. Superman not only recognizes the vessel and the voice but his faith is shaken to its core. Rao, the sole Kryptonian god manifests himself. He will be humanity’s saviour.

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Clarification:And yet you stand with the Justice League, or is it the Justice League of America these days?” – U.N. delegate to Aquaman. This question implies jingoism. Plus, it’s a question that I’m sure is on several readers’ minds.

Trippy:A universal extinction level event and the shockwave reaches back to the beginning of time. Those other bodies are just ripples, Superman.” – Vincent

Trippy squared:Time is constantly in flux. It’s far more fluid than you can imagine. […] It’s a roiling ocean in a constant storm.” – Vincent

Not a fan: Vincent definitely doesn’t look up to the Man of Steel. “So @$^*ing selfless, aren’t you, you arrogant bastard?” How ironic to despise a true hero’s benevolence.

Star Trek allusion! Vincent name drops this classic series. Is there a secret love between Warner Bros./DC Entertainment and this franchise? Vincent uses Spock’s argument of “the needs of the many” to no avail.

I’ll kill the bastard! Parasite called Wonder Woman the B-word. I’ll dispose of him myself!!

Mr. Hitch has undoubtedly produced a modern opus. All the panels, layouts, close-ups, background shots. Nothing is left to ruin. Enormous amounts of time and effort were instrumental in this first salvo. The wait was well worth it!! I could keep gushing about the entire book but I’ll keep it brief. The battle scenes are all-encompassing. One’s head has to constantly turn to keep up with the high-octane adventuring. Mr. Hitch has the honourable distinction of writing the entire dialogue. Who’d have thought that he was such an accomplished wordsmith? He was extremely meticulous in weaving the four plot strands. I especially like how he evenly divided the action: half of the total pages bring out the best in the core members as they valiantly press on against a difficult opponent. I thought it was a brilliant match: Parasite is lethal to anyone in his vicinity. That includes the World’s Greatest Heroes. Mr. Hitch has demonstrated his science acumen. I’m genuinely curious to see more of Superman’s position in this, more so with the first appearance of a legend come to life from his native planet. I’m thinking that the Infinity Corporation might be the new Stormwatch (a title that Mr. Hitch laboured on in his early days). There’s already a potential Martian among them and a super-smart but obnoxious member.

Mr. Hitch’s mainstay Paul Neary is nowhere to be seen in this production. In his place are Daniel Henriques, Wade von Grawbadger, and Andrew Currie. Given the double-sized format, a monumental task had to be carried out. I have no way of distinguishing who did what but I will comment on this: each inker was respectful of Mr. Hitch’s art and accentuated it by making it exactly what Bryan envisioned his work to be.

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The League’s costumes are from the New 52 and are accurate representations. Alex Sinclair and Jeromy Cox’s combination of the emerald energy as well as the amber illumination make for the most terrifying rendition of the Parasite as he easily absorbs these potent forces.

JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA {4th Series} #1 title page

Chris Eliopoulos probably developed carpal tunnel syndrome after this big boy. The man did not flinch in the least. The title page is cinematic and reflective of the widescreen technique.

Two new credits are displayed – Assists and Edits. I know what both terms mean but I’m not entirely sure how they apply. Amedeo Turturro’s help was on inks? colors? letters? Regarding Brian Cunningham, disregard my previous statement. He’s the actual editor of the title. I thought that maybe he had a more active hand in the artwork.

The price tag is justified for this two-pounder. HHMM, how much does a standard comic book weigh? I digress! Seven is a lucky number in North America. We should all feel that way with Mr. Hitch pulling the reins of this mammoth title. It also happens to be the core of the team. In honour of the League’s roster, I give this book 6.5 out of 7 (93%)

Justice League All-Stars Target AF

 

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