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Justice League International
There are a couple of things working against Justice League International even before I started reading it. First, based on the cover alone, it seems like the kind of book designed solely for die hard fans, which isn't entirely a bad thing. Second, being a relatively new reader to DC I don't recognize most of these characters. Third, it seems Batman and Guy Gardner were added simply so people would buy the book, they're the selling points.
I wasn't totally wrong about the target audience for the comic. Though you don't have to know the past forty years of DC continuity to understand it, it would certainly help. The roster, though full of lower tier characters, is an impressive one and makes for a great team with lots of charisma and diversity. It was easy to get into a lot of these characters too, a task that I worried I would be unable to do but writer Dan Jurgens juggles them all with precision. After I finished the book I can say that yes, Batman was probably only included so unfamiliar readers would buy the book, but it seems that Guy Gardner offers a lot to the story and is just as compelling a character as any of the rest, let alone how he's just as interesting (albeit from a different perspective) than any of the other Green Lanterns.
While the story really sticks to the basic “The world is ending” plot, it still manages to have some good character moments throughout all the banality. Jurgens, being the creator of Booster Gold, has the voice of all these characters down and that's what really matters when you've got a roster that has almost ten members. The biggest complaint I have is that, while the cast is great, there is often too much going on with a few members and not enough with the others. It's a hard task to juggle and they certainly try to give everyone due attention but it doesn't always happen. Plus the henchmen of the bad guy are about as threatening as the Putty Patrol from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Aaron Lopresti has done a great job here on the art. Considering the team has a wider range of odd-looking members all with their own powers to boot, he makes it all work. Plus when the enemy has a lot of different looking weapons and henchmen, also with a conveniently located spaceship, there is plenty to look at. It's pretty marvelous the amount of different styles and designs that he is able to squeeze into the first five issues.
While Lopresti does a fine job, the best issue of the collection is number 6 that was drawn by Marco Castillo. This was great for a lot of reasons but his art, which added a later of depth and grittiness to the characters, was a primary deciding factor. It also features what makes the comic great as I said earlier, the character beats. Issue 6 is what this comic should be like a lot more often, but instead I fear it will go the route of the first five issue arc.
It was ironic to be reading this comic and how die hard the characters were about the team they've concocted continuing, when we the readers know that the series is ending at Issue #12. The good news about that is if you're interested in the title, you'll have two complete volumes there on your shelf. If you're on the fence I'd say flip a coin. The comic isn't the best I've read but it's certainly not bad either. It has some of the best ensemble writing from the reboot and the art is pretty killer.
Rating: 7 / 10