Justice League International Is Just The Worst

The cast list for Justice League International is juicy. Guy Gardner, otherwise known as the Green Lantern with a discernible personality, joins a line-up which also includes Ice, Booster Gold, Batman, the excellent August General in Iron, Godiva and a seemingly-absent Vixen. So amongst that crew you have arguably the most popular character in comics; the thoroughly-entertaining and self-centred Booster Gold; a superhero relationship; and an assortment of other, silly/manic/dominating personalities. So how can it possibly be the most boring book ever written?

Issue #8 picks up on the long-running story which has been weaving itself around the team, wherein a series of villains have been attempting to destroy the JLI and by extension the UN for no apparent reason (it should be explained that, in-universe, the UN have accepted the JLI as their official superhero team). This issue spends a few pages with one of the villains, as he delivers the most hollow and underwhelmingly vacuous speech about puppet-masters and government. In the speech, this guy – who kills off everybody in the vicinity as he says this – decides he is going to take apart everything because ‘they’ get rich off his hard work. Who ‘they’ are is not explained, nor is the reason why they make money from him doing whatever his dayjob is meant to be. We’re all apparently prisoners to TV and credit cards, and the whole speech seems like writer Dan Jurgens going through the motions in the most dish-water dull fashion imaginable. There is nothing interesting about the villain, whose name is ultimately revealed to be Breakdown. Because his power is to break down the composition of things! So he’s also going to break down the composition of society! FOR NO REASON!

Justice League International isn’t just terrible plotting – it’s a downright lazy comic which characterises everybody in exactly the wrong way. Guy Gardner is known to be stubborn, and aggressive, and in this issue he’s told that he should leave the hospital where his girlfriend is lying, wounded. He makes a token gesture of defiance but then walks out, having been persuaded BETWEEN PANELS that he may as well wander off for a bit. He gives in within a few panels, and for no apparent reason other that the plot needs him for a fight scene set outside. Likewise, Booster Gold is known to be cocky and a smartmouth. Visiting guest star Batwing even comments on this in his narration, deciding midway through a one-liner that he doesn’t like Booster’s jackass confidence. But the one-liner Batwing decides is too much? It’s Booster Gold saying that their opponents have an agenda, and it was smart of Batman to bring in outside help. Booster is not being cocky at all – he’s being gracious, and Batwing getting annoyed by that makes NO SENSE. Booster doesn’t have anything funny to say, and is fundamentally dull throughout this issue. You could attach his dialogue to any generic superhero, and it’d seem boring but adequate. Nothing makes him distinct.

Even Batman has nothing to add to proceedings other than bland exposition nobody cares about.

Aaron Lopresti’s art is fine. It’s perfectly decent, with a stable sense of storytelling and attention to detail. There’s nothing exciting about it, but it does the job.

No, the main problem here is that the writing is lazy and amateurish. Even a last-minute, unexplained appearance from OMAC comes across as dull, with generic dialogue robbing the character of the one thing he has – grandstanding declarations. “Move… and you DIE” isn’t exactly a scintillating last line to end an issue. It’s bog-standard, uninteresting garbage. Which, that’s also my assessment of the book as a whole. It’s garbage.


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