The prequels to the original animated movie continue!! This time around it’s a three-part tale detailing the origin of the Justice League of this dark universe. You read all the separate one-shots, didn’t you? If not, for shame!! Hit the shelves now and catch up!! As formidable as each member is on his/her own, they must unite against a larger threat. Shock follows shock, I guarantee you!!
JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS & MONSTERS #1 (of 3)
Story by: J.M. DeMatteis & Bruce Timm
Script by: J.M. DeMatteis
Art by: Thony Silas
Colors by: Tony Aviña
Letters by: Saida Temofonte
Covers by: Darick Robertson w/ Diego Rodriguez; Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
“Genesis, pt. 1” (30 pages)
Jackson Alpert, super-scientist supreme among other notable feats, holds a press conference for his most advanced meld of MST (medicine, science, and tech). The infamous recluse shows his face (via hologram) after four decades of toiling. He unveils the Forever People: the most perfect human specimens thanks to genetic tinkering and ingenuity. The price tag is quite steep. Only the absolute rich could entertain the idea.
Batman makes his mark in Gotham City. He saves an eight-year-old abductee and reunites her with her mother. He gives the kidnapper his just desserts. Wonder Woman seems more heroic, benevolent and deific. She keeps a low profile after saving lives by wandering nomadically.
Wonder Woman materializes over Stonehenge when she is ambushed by Superman. The reunion is violently unpleasant. Hernan wants to rekindle the passion they had in Greece. Bekka is not the least bit interested. She tells him flat out that he was a distraction and a kindred spirit of the super-human level. The smug chauvinist is confident that she will seek him out in the near future.
Superman does not hold back his ire nor his exceptional strength when members of the Chaos Society begin to kill needlessly in Metropolis. Brute force is the only appropriate response. He taunts them in targeting him and uses his heat vision to vaporize them. The press is less than impressed, especially ace reporter Lois Lane. She calls him out on his one-man army position and feels that he isn’t above the law. His arrogance leads to irritation as he flies off. Lois’ harsh words resonate with many prominent powerful people like Lex Luthor and President Amanda Waller.
Alpert’s Transformation Centres have a global expansion. Anti-sentiment is festering in Rio de Janeiro. The Forever People are dispatched to quell the mad mob. Serifan uses his stasis-inducing abilities while Beautiful Dreamer casts illusions and spells of forgetfulness. Along with Moonrider and under Jackson’ holo-golem guidance, they head off to Moscow as their next stop.
Hernan is reunited with his friend Kirk Langstrom. Best buds they are not. Superman sees potential in Batman and wants his help. Hernan asks Kirk if he knows of Jackson Alpert. Kirk states that the man’s rep at Gotham University was beyond legendary. Kirk thinks he may be cured but sees an ulterior motive behind Hernan’s intentions. Batman realizes that Superman is no longer alone nor unique. Hernan’s humble upbringings still make him human. These newly gifted individuals will spell major trouble. Superman will investigate on his own. Batman decides to do the same.
Superman breaches the Eternity Institute. He makes it through the force field with some difficulty. Bekka is there to greet him, sword in hand. Superman receives a few good punches before he breaks Bekka’s wrist and tosses her to the ground. He surrenders. Alpert appears on the screen. He welcomes the Kryptonian’s presence. He was attacked as a test. Bekka sought his sanctuary a few days prior.
Dinner proves to be enlightening. Jackson introduces Superman to three more FP: Big Bear, Sumo, and Vykin. Superman scoffs at the absurdity of their names. Jackson turns it around by asking why he goes by Superman. Hernan states that it was the media’s christening. Alpert explains that names have power. Superman firmly believes that we all have to accept our essence. Jackson claims that he can upgrade even the Man of Steel as well as Wonder Woman. Moonrider pokes at Superman’s impending inferior status. Jackson preaches equality and assures Forevertech will be delivered to the masses. The real Jackson Alpert comes out of hiding. He is an invalid in a hover-chair. He cannot reap the fruits of his own rewards due to a genetic anomaly.
Alpert gives the power couple a tour of the facility. He would like them to be leaders of his movement. He inadvertently utters ‘armies’. This catches Superman’s attention. Alpert claims it to be just a turn of phrase. Wonder Woman has an optimistic view of the world. Superman just wants to keep being a step above everyone else. There is a philosophical divide between the two – Bekka doesn’t trust Jackson; Superman doesn’t trust the Forevers. Bekka brings Hernan to her bedroom. He jokingly asks if he is to be sexually used. She affirms this and he obliges.
Batman seeks answers from lawyer Howard Barrison. He was once involved with the Hairies commune (where Bekka spent her first few years on Earth). Batman is experiencing blood fever. He roughhouses the elderly man, threatens him, and is about to feed on him when he realizes the man is an impeccable law-abiding citizen. He wants one crucial piece of info: the connection between Jackson Alpert and Dr. Psycho!!
Superman is in the test tube ready for the alteration. Jackson can’t fathom Bekka’s reluctance. She likes her godly status just fine. Her refusal intrigues Jackson. She sees flaws in his tech but possibilities. Bekka panics when she sees Superman in agony. Alpert states that nothing can be done.
In the beginning… Genesis has a double meaning. (1) Synonyms are “birth”, “beginning”, “origin”, etc. (2) It is a reference to New Genesis, the planet from which Bekka hails.
People are people, so what will it be? The Forever People are accurately represented. [See my blurb in the next paragraph]
There’s always someone better: “But these New Gods of Alpert’s…” “They’re not gods.” “No…but I suspect they think they are.” – Batman to Superman. Another allusion!
Español, por favor: Adios = ‘goodbye’, literally ‘to God’; princesita = ‘little princess’ ; cabronzado = ‘bastard’, ‘scumbag’, a compound word with ‘m’ and ‘f’.
J.M. DeMatteis packs a psychological punch in this premiere issue!! Lois Lane gives an extremely detailed account of the characters and events as the third person narrator. She reads the Big Three like an open book. Her observations are uncannily accurate! She amasses information to wield as a weapon in the near future. The tribute to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World is touching. The Forever People and New Gods have been around for almost 45 years. While they are revered as fictional characters and fan-favourites, they mainly remain in the background. The words “gods” and “monsters” will be bandied about in the next two issues. PPSSSTT. I bought the digital comics and read the entire story 😉 Mankind is far from ready to embrace the yet-unnamed Justice League. The FP aren’t exactly icons either. It is fairly evident who carries the label of celestial beings and who is considered horrible entities.
Thony Silas has a unique versatile style. When focusing on the Big Three, you could swear that it is Bruce Timm behind the pencil strokes. The other characters are drawn more jaggedly. Their presence is diminished by the all-powerful Trinity. I see shades of Sal Buscema in these renditions.
Tony Aviña creates good vibrations. I really like how he uses navy blue within Superman and Batman’s costumes so that they are not entirely black, creating an inadvertent blending in the background. Bekka’s purity is portrayed through the white and gold. Her red hair demonstrates her fiery spirit.
Saida Temofonte might as well be Lois Lane herself with the copious amount of information relayed in pretty much every single panel. You deserve multiple awards, Ms. Temofonte!
This series is a digital comic first. Thus, it is nine parts in total but delivered to us devoted readers in three installments of thirty pages each. As I previously mentioned, I procured my copies once they were all available >_< With that in mind, I give this first chapter 7.5 out of 9 [83.3%]
Tags: bruce timm, DC Animated Universe, DC Comics, Justice League: Gods and Monsters