All Associated Cover/Issue Images
August General: Stand your ground, girl. We fight until we can no longer do so.
Godvia: Judging by the numbers, that won’t be long.
Synopsis "The Signal Masters Part 3" (20-pages)
Previously: The UN Head of Intelligence, Andre Biggs, had sought to form a new incarnation of the Justice League from sanctioned international superheroes with transparent public identities. He put Booster Gold in charge of his manufactured group, but they were forced to retreat from their first mission in disarray. They had been sent to investigate the disappearance of a UN science team in Peru, but discovered a powerful robotic giant – the first of four “Signalmen” to appear. Booster only survived as leader because he had the backing of China’s August-General-In-Iron and the USA’s Batman. However, the Hall of Justice has been destroyed by arsonists and Booster has yet to resolve the situation with the giants.
Biggs surveys the situation from a van parked outside the ruins of the Hall of Justice. Under Booster’s direction the JLI has split into four groups to infiltrate the caverns beneath the four Signalmen. In Peru, Booster uses his blasters to create a with broad spectrum glare he hopes will blind/distract the Peruvian Signalman whilst Batman sneaks into the cavern below. The detective finds traces of the UN science team and presses deeper. Rocket Red and Ice investigate a Signalman in the Russian Arctic and discover that there is also a chamber buried deep beneath it. Ice forms an ice sphere which she and Red use as a bathysphere to dive to the bottom of the ocean floor. From there they break through into the cavern. Rocket Red’s sensors show the the cavern is older than humanity.
In South Africa, Fire repeats Booster distraction stunt and Vixen borrows badger tunnelling powers to dig down to their Signalman’s cavern. Vixen and Fire follow the tunnels deeper, but are over run by small rock-like humanoids. The creatures the carry their unconscious bodies deeper into the cave system. In Canada, the local Signalman suddenly becomes active firing a powerful beam of light/energy into the sky. The August General decides that it is already distracted enough so he and Godvia jump down a hole created by the General. Once underground they attacked by the same rock-humanoids as attacked Fire and Vixen. The General scares them off, but they are unprepared for what they find deeper in the cavern.
Batman has reached the bottom of the Peruvian cavern system. Booster joins him to investigate large machines which are maintained by the rock-humanoids. Batman tells Booster to keep the guards off him while he hacks into their computer system. He realises that somebody is watching the giants, but Booster and he are over-run by the rock creatures. Biggs becomes impatient after he loses contact with Booster and despairs when he’s told that a massive spaceship has entered Earth’s orbit. Green Lantern Guy Gardner overhears the news about the space ship and decides to investigate on his own. Each of the Signalmen is shooting its eye beams into the sky and those beams meet at a point alongside the space ship. Garnder cuts his way into the ship, but he is clobbered from behind by its occupant, Peraxxus.
Issue three sees the JLI split into small groups and that gives the creative team breathing room to focus on one-on-one characterisation. This change in focus is appreciated by reviewers. While IGN’s first reviews rated issues #1 (4/10) and 2 (5/10) quite-low Joey Esposito observed that issue #3 “starts to get to the good stuff, character interaction and rock monsters” and gave this issue 7/10. Likewise at Comic Book Resources, who had rated issues #1 (2.5/5) and #2 (1.5/10) quite-low, Doug Zawisza noted that that this series is now “hitting a nice stride” and gave the third issue 3.5/5. Looking at issue #1 away from the shine of the New 52 launch I think that there is a clear progression from issue-to-issue of this series getting incrementally better. It’ll be interesting to see how high this team can push it.
Despite the general uptick in reviewers comments there remains one critique that many of them agree on – namely the plotting of the series. Nicole D’Andria (Player Affinity) sums up a lot a reviewers opinions when she writes that:
An epic feel from the gravity of the situation is nowhere to be found. It is a good sci-fi story and a great introduction to the characters and their shortcomings, but the events do not feel heavy because the characters seem less afraid than they should be. At this point there is also too much mystery.
Or as Grey Scherl (Inside Pulse) puts it “Three issues in and I would have expected a bit more content.” It’s almost beginning to feel like this group is just too large. The increased characterisation was appreciated in this issue, but the weight of trying do get some line or moment for each character doesn’t leave much room for the ongoing plot. It’s a tough balancing act and one I’m glad I don’t have to perform.
I thought that it was the wonderfully old fashioned to use the split-into-groups routine for this issue. It’s a tactic that dates back to the Justice Society and works by allowing Jurgens and Lopresti to focus on individual pairings rather than every possible interaction at once. The pairings work logically within the story (e.g., Rocket Red and Ice in the Russian Artric), but they also gives us different pairings than we might have otherwise have considered. Its interesting that Fire and Vixen are only just starting to get to know each other as each women’s backstory includes time as a high-profile international model. The General and Godvia was perhaps the most surprising and goes to show how unprepared she is and how much the General reserves his fury for those who actually deserve it.
I wasn’t too impressed with David Finch’s alternative cover to Justice League #1, but his cover to this issue is wonderfully atmospheric. Aaron Lopresti and co.’s interior art is excellent and continues to improve, from its already high standard, issue to issue. I particularly liked liked the sequence with the August General underground where their surroundings are lit by the glow from his staff.
There was a comment on the iFanboy discussion thread that caught my attention, commenter JesseG was expressing his displeasure with the book’s contents and has pithily said that it
this felt like it belonged on Cartoon Network after an episode of Ben10
Think about what the New 52 launch was meant to achieve, the new audiences that it was meant to bring into comics. It is exactly the same teen audience which would be watching Cartoon Network after Ben10 has finished. DC are even going as far to have their own DC Nation branded space on the channel. So in that sense, I think JesseG’s comment shows that the relaunch strategy is working. DC have successful recast this book (at least) to appeal to a new audience. Whether that potential audience bothers to read the book is another matter.
|Digital Comics||Comixology||103 reviews (12/06/12)||4/5|
|Reviews Portal||Comic Book Resources||Doug Zawisza||3.5/5|
|Reviews Portal||Comics Bulletin||Ray Tate||2/5|
|Comics Portal||IGN||Joey Esposity||7/10|
|Magazine||Inside Pulse||Grey Scherl||7/10|
|community site||Comic Vine||9 reviews||3.6/5|
|Community Site||iFanboy||583 pulls||3.7/5|
|Blogs||A Comic Book Blog||85%|
|Blogs||Fandom Post||Chris Kirby||B|
|Blogs||Player Affinity||Nicole D'Andria||8.2/10|
|Blogs||Weekly Comic Book Reviews||Minhquan Nguyen||C|
|Character Site||Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||3.5/5|
Page 1. How long until a character uses the line “Damn it Biggs! Where are you?”
Page 3. Booster Gold: “even by 25th century tech”. Booster Gold is a time traveller from the 25th century who came back in time to play as being a superhero. His weaponry was stolen from displays at the Science Museum and included a 500-year-old Legion flight ring (shown prominently on page 2) which was actually a relic from a time 500-years into Boosters own future.
Page 6. Rocket Red and Fire first showed interest in each other in Justice League: Generation Lost #21 (Early May 2011). He made her laugh why they were all trying to deal with the (apparent) death of a team-mate and she kissed him. How much of anything in Generation Lost remains in continuity isn’t clear.
Ice sports a sticking plaster on her face – the sole reminder of her “injuries” that caused Booster to hurriedly evacuate the JLI from Peru. Was she really that badly hurt or was Booster massively over-reacting?
Page 7. Rocket Red “Before man existed” would be more than 200,000 years ago.
Page 10. Vixen’s line her about Andre having to convince her to leave Africa is a little odd as she has previously been a member of the full Justice League in the old continuity. She was a member of the League during the Detroit era and during Brad Meltzer’s run. Vixen was an international supermodel whose career took her to the United States. There she used her Tantu Totem, the magical totem that grants her power, to become the Vixen. How much of that has changed post-Flashpoint is still fluid. What would also be interested to know is how Vixen relates to the Kingdom – the defunct African superhero team that’s part of the backstory of Judd Winick’s Batwing.
Fire call’s herself a thrillseeker, but her public life isn’t much different than Vixen – they were both international supermodels. However, Fire had begun work as a secret agent for the Brazilian government and was later recruited as a Knight agent for Checkmate. Again, how much of that has changed post-Flashpoint is still fluid.
Page 12. The General was originally a normal Chinese man, but he was transformed into an iron version of a figure from the First Emperors Terracotta Army by exposure to bioweapons from a crashed Durlanian space and the resulting “cure” created for him by Chinese government scientists.
Page 19. In Panel 3 Guy pauses to close up the hole in the hull in made of the way in. It’s a small detail, but one that made me smile.