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Synopsis "The Signal Masters Part 4" (20-pages)
Previously: The UN Head of Intelligence, Andre Biggs, sought to form a new incarnation of the Justice League using sanctioned international superheroes with known public identities. He put Booster Gold in charge of his manufactured group, but the JLI were forced to retreat from their first mission in disarray. They had been investigating the first of four “Signal Men”, gigantic statue like robots scattered around the work. They split into smaller groups to investigate the caverns beneath each robot, but each team was over run by the rock-creatures what maintained the cavern’s equipment. Meanwhile, Green Lantern Guy Gardner was rendered unconscious by the passenger of a starship which appears to be linked to the giants.
Booster Gold and the Batman are the last to fall against the rock creatures who immobilise them in an energy-dampening rock casing. Guy Gardner awakes on the alien space ship and begins hunting for this attacker. He stumbles upon a control room where images of each of the captured League teams are being displayed. The same alien attacks Guy again, but he is alert enough to dodge its attacks. However, the attackers power is too great for Guy. Half-way through their fight the alien adapts to Guy’s language and introduces itself as Peraxxus. It tells Guy that “Your world is ripe for exploitation” and uses Guy’s memories of Earth to explore the planet’s potential.
Andre Biggs and Emerson Esposito survey the remains of the Hall of Justice, but they are powerless to help their new team. Sensors are detecting energy emissions from the four-giants, but Biggs is unable to contact Booster’s team. Meanwhile Peraxxus has teleported with the helpless Guy Gardner to the cavern beneath the Peruvian giant. He then teleports the rest of the helpless JLI to that cavern. Peraxxus tells the JLI that he is only interested in Earth’s mineral wealth. The Signal Men were not his invention, but he hacked the technology and now uses them as a guide to worlds worthy of exploitation. They also give him the means to deconstruct a planet.
The rock-like covering holding Booster’s team dampens their powers. Together they keep Peraxxus talking long enough for one of Godvia’s hair tendrils to worm its way through the material holding Batman and get to the laser torch in his utility belt. The laser has no problem cutting through the rock layer once it is freed. The JLI spring free and rush Peraxxus, but their valiant effort is to naught. His energy axe stuns each of them in turn, giving Peraxxus the space he needs to reach his machines. He starts the deconstruction process and then teleports back to his ship. Massive energies erupt from each of the Signal Men, tearing the ground around them to pieces and accelerating the rubble into space.
- Before mankind emerged, an advanced race of unnamed aliens seeded Earth with four sentinels, the Signal Men, which were designed to monitor the development of sentient life. The sentinels have the power to destroy a planet, break it into pieces, if they determine that planet was a threat to their creators.
- Peraxxus discovered a set of Signal Men on an unknown planet decades ago. He hacked their technology and followed their signals from world-to-world. The Signal Men’s ability to destroy a world would be used by Peraxxus to break a world down into its component parts. The usable minerals and biological chemicals would be filtered out and sold on the interstellar market.
The fourth part of the Signal Masters sees the Team reunited against their will. They have been defeated individually by Peraxxus’ minions and are now defeated as a group by him. The focus of this chapter is very much on driving the plot forward and in setting the heroes and villain in the right place for the finale next issue. That means that the characters aren’t explored to any great particular depth, the villain spends most of the issue monologuing, and the plot is in the escalate while staying still mode. However, none of the above detracts from the fact that Jurgens and co have delivered a fun slice of superhero action.
This issue was something that we just don’t see much nowadays – a good solid issue, that made no real mistakes, and was genuinely fun. It didn’t try to be Watchmen or Starmen. It was just good superheroics. Aaron Lopresti really shines this issue, lifting what would have been quite a dull set of beat-downs into a nicely choreographed set of battles. These are enhanced by Hi-Fi’s bright and vibrant colours. Even the simple colour-coded Signal Men seem to fit this series Super Friends or maybe JLI-lite vibe. There are even a couple of genuinely funny lines and a did she deliberately do that moment from Godvia.
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The plot progresses steadily, and there are several short patches of action to keep things moving along. The logic of events precipitating the action seems contrived at times, but Jurgens’ afternoon cartoon style of presentation makes complaining about the inconsistencies seem silly.
In previous reviews the book has always entertained with itâ€™s old school plot, but interest is starting to fall. Dan Jurgens is still teething when it comes to the humour but it strikes the right balance here.
Peraxxus’s methods for destroying the Earth and his plan to savage resources may not be an exact copy of Galactus’s, but Perxxus is so obviously related to Marvel’s character that I’m surprised they have not filed suit for copyright infringement.
Itâ€™s not even as though this is a bad comic book, itâ€™s just a dull one, even with some lovely art by Aaron Lopresti. The female Leaguers especially look good, which makes the complete lack of anything for them to do eve more of a shame.
itâ€™d be nice to see the team actually show their competence for once. Getting beat around for practically four issues straight (Guy got KOâ€™ed last time, awakes here, and confronts Peraxxus, only to get knocked down again in two pages) doesnâ€™t exactly encourage you to place much â€œfaithâ€ in the team, as Emerson insists.
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