All Associated Cover/Issue Images
- August General In Iron
- One must find the positive in any and all situations. When I learned to embrace that attitude, I found that I could still serve my country in ways better than I had as a normal man.
Synopsis "The Burners" (20-pages)
Previously: The JLI has been harried by a group of anarchist terrorists led by a super-human called Breakdown. Their attacks have already cost the life of the JLI’s Rocket Red and led the UN to place them under suspension. The attacks have continued, despite the JLI absorbing new members Batwing and OMAC. A case of mistaken identity took them to Paris, France where they briefly interceded in the conflict between the various Firestorm clans. The tired and exhausted team have now returned to New York where they must pick up the threads that will lead them to enemies.
In Brooklyn, a young man called Malik runs to check on his twin brother Malcolm, alias Lightweaver. Malik recognised his brother’s powers in the UN attack and takes him to task. However, Lightweaver just repeats Breakdown’s dogma and flies away. Across town, Guy Gardner returns to Ice’s hospital bed and apologies to her for letting their relationship fail. Batwing visits Vixen and she tells him that she may never walk again. Booster and Godvia visit Fire, but the Doctor’s records show that she is slipping deeper into her coma. Booster and Godvia acknowledge the emotional awkwardness between them. The August General is trying to bolster OMAC’s feelings about his current transformation, but their conversation is interrupted by the Batman. He announces that the Justice League’s sensors have detected Lightweaver heading towards Washington.
Breakdown has gathered his group, the Burners (Lightweaver, Intersek, Crosscut and himself), in a warehouse in preparation for their next attack, this time on the US capital. However, the JLI hit them just as they are about to strike. Guy Gardner handles Lightweaver’s constructs while the others go hand-to-hand. It looks like the JLI have the upper-hand until Intersek displays her full capabilities. She can intercept and control any signal — including those that control the JLI’s weaponry. She takes control of Guy Gardner’s Green Lantern Ring and Booster Gold’s costume and uses them to blast the rest of the JLI unconscious before forcing them to turn their beams on each other. Breakdown then announces his intention to execute the unconscious JLI on the steps of the Capitol Building.
- Fire is slipping deeper into her coma, Vixen may never walk again, and Ice is asleep.
This issue sees the JLI return from their sojourn in Paris and take up the fight against their enemies again. The JLI are a group with fantastic potential, but this storyline is woefully long. The villain group may gain a name (“the Burners”) here, but they remain a shallow and unconvincing enemy. Their mastermind, Breakdown, constantly sprouts political babble that, even if true, has not been explored convincingly in this series. Thus we have no sympathy for their cause or for their motivations. They may wear colourful costumes, but these are no more nuanced than the standard comic-book terrorists. Even Intersek’s deus ex-machina take down of the JLI fails to give weight to this group of c-listers.
Aside from the villains, this issue reconnects the JLI with their injured members and continues Dan Jurgens drip feed of essential character moments. Guy’s concern for Ice is partially explored and the potential romance between Booster and Godvia inches along. The choice of the August General to narrate parts of this issue is interesting, but he oddly goes silent for long stretches. Aaron Lopresti ably handles the quiet character moments and the battle with the Burners. However, the villain’s lurid pastel colours are a stark contrast to the bright and brilliant JLI.
Surveying the Internets
Apart from August General’s solid characterisation, the rest of the issue is a dud. The main problem being the fact that the antagonists are cardboard archetypes. Breakdown is just another clueless zealot who believes he is doing what is best for the oppressed. He doesn’t hold your attention and the fact he is essentially dealt with so quickly makes him almost laughable.
I said before that The Burners actually got worse but more respectably. They are a great group fighting wise, actually bearing a threat this issue, but breakdown – pardon the unintentional play on words – when they reveal their motivation.
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