Posted by: on July 4, 2009
Nah, this is just more of the Savage Critics ongoing coverage of Justice League: Cry For Justice #1. Never let it be said that I don’t respond to a strongly worded memo from the desk of Mr. Hibbs. I know how to respond to memos.
Wolk’s already covered the best possible Insta-Review you can give this piece of shit, Graeme’s already nailed the comparison to that Secret War thing, Hibbs covered the whole “hey, that word looks like gay sort of” thing, and I’m betting the Savage ain’t done with this dead horse yet. And make no mistake: this pony lacked a pulse on arrival, it’s the equivalent of somebody pushing a wheelbarrow full o’ carcass up to the starting line at the Belmont Stakes, saying “I think she’s got one more in her. Put five on Luck Be A Lady!” Cry For Justice will probably do pretty well financially–it’s got DC’s “this one counts” push going for it, it’s written by a guy a lot of people give a shit about, and the art is–sorry Brian–that sort of ridiculously overdone realism nonsense that turns people on. But it’s bad, bad comics, and the only naked pleasures to be found in it, unless you like this gaudy art (geez Brian, I’m really sorry), is in reading it as a parody of other “serious” comics. The tools are laid out for you, it actually takes some serious effort not to pick them up. Does Hal flex his muscles at Superman while quoting Judge Dredd? Does Green Arrow talk like he’s one of Bob Haney’s “hep cats?” Do the two Atom characters use the patented Loeb/Meltzer color boxes to write each other mental mash notes?
Does Atom say “I want him to pay. Yeah….JUSTICE!”
Dude, all those things happen. This isn’t “let’s be sarcastic and exaggerate the failings of this particular super-hero comic book”. Nobody is pulling a Photoshop Fast One. This is a real thing, that you can go buy at a store, and it’s written by a real person, who gave it to another real person to draw, and they did something on a computer that was sort of like drawing (c’mon Brian, I’m not even sorry anymore, this art is terrible), and then some other very real people, people like your mom and your dad (but mostly like your uncle) they had it printed, and then it got sold in a store, and after that, those Real People, all of whom are adults, only a few of which can blame drunkeness, they said “Yes! We did it!” There were plans made, and those plans involved This Comic Book, and This Comic Book has a panel where Ray Palmer says “You have a LOT to say…You. Oodles“, right before he tortures him, right before he says “Yeah. JUSTICE.” That’s all real. It’s not made up, and it’s going to sell a lot more copies than Criminal, and it might even get nominated for a Harvey Award, it just needs to get published on a website, or have worse art.
Of course, if it was just a bad comic, it would just be another bad comic. And it is, but maybe part of the reason it’s worth looking at it is this…thing in the back. It’s not really an essay, because it doesn’t have anything to say, but it’s not wholly p.r. bullshit, because it’s got a bunch of random personal anecdotes in it. (And a veiled criticism for the Terminator series?) It’s written by James Robinson, and he opens with this:
“It’s hard sometimes to know if a miniseries is going to matter or not. By this I mean, irrespective of whether the writing/art is good or the story compelling, will it be something that will matter in the big picture of the comic book universe that you’re writing for. I can think of many mini/maxiseries that, although well crafted and entertaining, vanished into the ether of yesterday, with the next wave of super-events that followed.”
I love this. I love it because the intent of this comic, a comic that contains lines like “I am the law in space sector 2814. And that includes Earth.” is now guaranteed. “Irrespective of whether the writing/art is good or the story compelling“–get it? Writing/art–totally fucking negligible! It’s important to the people involved in its creation in a logistical sense, but the whole writing/art thing, you know, the whole thing that Makes It A Fucking Comic and not, like, cheese, or scissors–those things are completely secondary, because this is a comic book With Goals. The intent is for this comic book to “matter in the big picture of the comic book universe.” Look, I’m not even sure what that means, for something to “matter” like that. It can’t mean “i hope the fans like it”, because that’s completely fucking insane. So what does “matter” mean? Bigger than Zero Hour? More fondly remembered than Final Night? Stronger paperback sales than Millennium? Or does “matter” just apply to the spin-off designed-for-revamp-purposes category, meaning all this has to do is serve as being more worth your precious fucking time than Justice League Spectacular, or Midsummer’s Nightmare, that it just has to read smarter than Extreme Justice? At the same time, you go back to the comic, you go back to the part where Congo Bill talks to himself by saying “A Smell! Beat. A Trail! Beat. His heart. What will stop his heart?” You read that, you look at the page that Wolk ganked that scan from, where the gorilla is crying–and you realize that It Doesn’t Matter what “Matter” means. Because whatever magic thing that this comic is supposed to do, whatever importance it’s supposed to have, this is how they plan to accomplish it! The dialog is going to quote Judge Dredd, a gorilla is going to weep, there’s going to be exploitation style violence drawn in this hyper-realistic style, the Atom is going to act like Jack Bauer, and Green Arrow…aw man. Green Arrow is going to talk like this.
This comic is CRAP. Yes it is. But it’s some of the most EXCELLENT CRAP that’s available. Not in the sense that some might want, I don’t think there’s a case to be made for this being “everything that’s wrong with super-hero comics”. It’s just hardcore pornography for train-wreck enthusiasts. It’s a compilation of “i can’t believe they said that” dialog panels mixed with the message board “why doesn’t somebody just shoot the Joker” argument for plotting. And somehow, this is going to be one of the most important mini/maxiseries that DC has ever published.
Don’t you dare apologize to me. Don’t you dare, guy who looks like Alfred Pennyworth with a bad wig. I may not have gotten what you wanted to give, but I got something.