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Synopsis "The Beginning"
JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE is the long awaited fully-painted JLA series by the new JLA writer James Robinson (STARMAN, SUPERMAN) and Mauro Cascoili (TRIALS OF SHAZAM). It was announced at last years Wizard World: LA as an ongoing title simply called JUSTICE LEAGUE that was to spin out of Grant Morrison’s FINAL CRISIS. However, it was cut back to a mini-series after it became clear that the painted artwork couldn’t be produced at a monthly pace. Events have conspired so that Robinson is still going to be doing a JLA ongoing, but first we have CRY FOR JUSTICE. It serves as a seven part mini-series that will set up Robinson’s run and it has also been hinted that it will set things up for next year in the DCU.
Spoiler… The guts of CRY FOR JUSTICE is pretty much what we’ve seen in the preview from DC Comics. Hal Jordan has a confrontation with the Justice League over their almost passive reaction to the murders of the Batman and the Martian Manhunter during FINAL CRISIS. This scene in particular takes place just before “Welcome to Sundown Town” the long Milestone/Starbreaker arc that’s just finished in the main Justice League title. Hal tells the League he’s going to take a stance against the supervillains, but his actual plans seem rather vague. Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) agrees to join him out of loyalty. Many years ago Hal joined Ollie for their “Hard Travelling Heroes” gig and Ollie is repaying the favour.
Elsewhere other heroes are confronted by the need for justice. Ray Palmer aided by Ryan Choi (the two Atoms) takes down the Killer Moth while searching for the stolen Time Pool. Palmer’s friend was tortured and killed for information about the Pool and he’s how hunting for Justice. In Opal City Mikaal Thomas, one of the more obscure claimants to the Starman codename, views the body of his dead boyfriend. He was killed in a supervillain attack on New York’s STAR Labs and Mikaal now wants Justice. In the Congo, the troop of gorillas that were Congorilla‘s family have been slaughtered. The local hero Freedom Beast and Congo Bill’s original body also died in the attack. Now Bill is trapped in Congorilla’s body and wants Justice.
The theme of the first issue is heroes individually wanting justice for some horrible crime or other committed against somebody they love. The supervillain Prometheus is name checked in the Atom scene and that feeds back into last year’s FACES OF EVIL: PROMETHEUS special by Sterling Gates so it’s fairly clear who the badguy is. How much his plans link the heroes individual pains isn’t clear.
We don’t see the entire team this issue, Supergirl, Batwoman, and Freddy Freeman don’t appear. There is also a six-page text feature at the back where James Robinson introduces some background to the more obscure characters and explains some of his thinking. It seems we’ll be getting more text pieces in later issues. Lastly there is a brand new two-page secret origin of Congo Bill written by Len Wein (JLA #35-38) with art by Ardian Syaf (JLA #34).
The painted art by Mauro Cascoili in the main story is fantastic. For a 22-page story we sure seem to have seen a lot of these pages before – either as sneak peaks or as the main 8-page preview. It’s good to get the audience’s attention, but leaves the danger of showing too much too soon. I particularly liked the Opal City skyline at night and the blood red skies of the Congo at twilight. I don’t think a gorilla has ever looked quite so good in a comicbook.
Overall I quite liked the issue, but it didn’t really go anywhere. It was all about establishing the heroes and where they’re coming from. The plot should get more interesting once the group starts meeting each other.
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