I really want to get this issue, but due to a severe snowstorm in our area!
That will have to wait awhile. The cover looks good and reminds me of an issue in Batman Beyond comic book series.
Before they were Unlimited!
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #42
Written by: Dan Raspler
Art and cover by: Christopher Jones and Mark Propst
Untold tales of the Justice League! Before they were Unlimited, the League had their individual tales to tell. Wonder Woman has faith the Queen of the Royal Flush Gang can really make her parole stick. Will the Queen let her down or live up to new expectations?
I might pick this up tomorrow IF I hear good things about it here. I have a feeling that the King and/or Queen of the Batman Beyond Royal Flush Gang will appear here (as a younger person of course).
"Are you the dreamer or merely part of someone's dream?" - The Mad Hatter.
B:TAS - Perchance to Dream.
This issue was actually really great and probably my favorite issue of the series yet. I have to say it was a bit weird to see the old Justice League designs being used but I got used to it quickly. The story was really excellent and can really be interpretted in more than one way. Did the Justice League accidentally drive The Queen back to crime or was it inevitable? Just a great story. I thought both the artwork and the story were really strong.
And did anyone else notice that the Johnny DC logo isn't on the comic anymore? You can get a bit of a glimpse at the new cover design here.
"Most people spend their whole lives trying to figure out who they are. But for me? It's about keeping it a secret." - Spider-Man
"Why is there so much hatred and bigotry? Why do we hate people who seem to be different than we are instead of enjoying the variety?"- Stan Lee
Avatar Courtesy of Nightwing
I must know... Did this Royal Flush Gang have direct ties to the one in Batman Beyond?
"Are you the dreamer or merely part of someone's dream?" - The Mad Hatter.
B:TAS - Perchance to Dream.
It's been a crazy past two weeks for me, but I managed to clear out my comics bin and much to my surprise, read this story first...I guess I just had a good feeling about it.
I don't remember much about the Royal Flush Gang of Batman Beyond, but I get the sense that these characters do not relate to them. Nonetheless, that's really neither here nor there. This is the first Justice League story ever to take a close look at what things look like from the perspective of someone trying to come back from a not-so-glamourous life of crime.
Una Hutchins, the former Queen of the original Royal Flush Gang (whom the government based their super-powered group on), is released from prison only to find Wonder Woman there, offering encouragement and support. This doesn't do much to compensate for the realities Una faces when she returns home to Sucide Slum, Metropolis' most underpriviledged area. It's only once her former allies greet her and take her out for drinks that she starts to feel a little better about her situation.
That is, until the King asks her to consider an arson job on the local video game lottery bar. The way he sees it, destroying the bar and getting a slice of the ensurance money will make way for a proper casino that uses only fashionned card games. Una, however, wants no part in their scheme, and takes offense to having been buttered up by her so-called friends. As she reminds them, she never was any good at bluffing. The group is frustrated as she leaves, but King assures them that if they give her some space, she'll come back around to their way of thinking.
Instead, she lends a hand to a community fair that's trying to raise money to convince the land developper planning to build the casino to instead sell them the land so they can make a community center. As she manages a cash box alongside a local woman, Green Lantern comes along to make it clear that Una is still a criminal in his books and needs to watch herself. Wonder Woman, also in attendance to help out the cause, chastizes John for his treatment of Una.
Back at a bar with the old Gang, Una retells the story. When they call her Queen instead of Una, she loses control of herself and bursts into flames. Later, as she tries to warm up some soup in her apartment using her powers, Wonder Woman drops in, startling her and asking for an explanation. When Diana sees that she too has become suspicious of Una, she apologizes and leaves. Una crumples to the floor, wishing everyone would leave her alone.
As Diana and John repair a cracked dam, Una picks up the telephone in her darkened apartment and tells King she's in on their mission. Sporting her Queen costume, Una joins up with the Flush Gang as they break into the video lottery and begin to trash the place. Una, however, is surprised to find the land-developper who suggested the ensurance fraud nearby and follows him out into the street. John and Diana quickly arrive on the scene, and King urges his other teammates to keep the heroes busy so they don't notice Una. Una threatens the land-deveopper to do as she says or suffer the consequences, just as the Leaguers show up. Una doesn't fight them and surrenders. A disappointed Diana flies away with John, who considers the situation a win/win. The Gang is finally off the streets, and they demolished a building slated for destruction anyways. Wonder Woman, however, believes jail is no place for Una, who is in danger of losing her very soul.
As Una checks back into prison, she spots the land-developper on television, explaining that his plans for the casino have changed. Instead, he's going to make a community center with a day-care facility. Una is finally pleased with herself for having successfully bluffed.
As you can tell from my recap, this isn't your usual Justice League Adventures story. It's very dialogue-heavy, and explores things from a realistic perspective where no one person is either wrong or right. Did King really care about Una if he pushed her back into a life of crime but tried to keep her from getting arrested again? Is John really a hero if he can't think of people as anything but criminals even once they've paid their debt to society? Is Una destined to become a soulless degenerate if her criminal act helped her struggling community?
The story asks a lot of questions, and doesn't shy away from letting either Green Lantern's perhaps jaded opinions or Wonder Woman's consistantly hopeful beliefs seem justified. This story really doesn't matter much to the continuity of Justice League or Batman Beyond, but if you want an issue that's actually interesting to read and leaves you thinking, this is it.
The art is definitely a flashback to Chris Jones' early days on the title. His original designs for the Flush Gang are decent enough, but he really struggles with Wonder Woman, making her head too big on the first page and later her hands enormous in a botched perspective panel. He does succeed, however, in depicting Una with a consistant elegance and silent turmoil. As can be seen in the page where she's alone in her apartment, Jones really can draw a sexy woman when he isn't concerned about sticking to a particular design. Me, being a Wonder Woman fan, can't help but notice this.
Still, his staging and storytelling really established a serious tone from the start of the issue. There's no need to worry that this will turn into a cartoony brawl by the time you reach the climax. The revelation of Una's powers comes a surprise, and the abilities of the other Flushers (lol) take a back-seat to the storytelling. Surprisingly, I couldn't figure out where a page was whittled out of this final volume, so I leave it to Chris Jones to tell us.
All in all, an unusual read, not at all like a Justice League Adventures tale, or a Justice League Unlimited issue.
And that's a good thing.
Just got to read this issue and thought it was a wonderful little meditation on themes of good and evil, right and wrong, and redemption. It's an interesting little change-up on the usual revolving door of justice in superhero comic books, where a villain gets out, commits another crime, and goes right back in again. Here, the story of Una puts in the twist by borrowing heavily from classic crime movies -- specifically by lifting the element of the ex-con who really wants to go straight and dropping it into the world of the Justice League.
As DisneyBoy points out, there's a lot more subtle commentary on the black-and-white morality that most superhero comics use, especially those aimed at a younger audience. It's impressive that they can play the game of who's the real hero and the real villain so well, but to do it in a comic book ostensibly aimed at kids without really losing the audience is a pretty impressive achievement.
However, the one thing I can see pretty clearly is that Una's a person who really tried to do the right thing and ultimately took the hit for the team, sacrificing her own freedom in the name of doing something better for the larger community without any visible benefit to herself. The correct word for that kind of person is "hero."
The other interesting thing I note is that the solution to the Una problem would have been much easier in a Justice League Unlimited world, rather than the more limited one of the Justice League. Since Una is a meta-human, I'd have made her an apprentice Justice Leaguer after her release from prison and pair her off with a more experienced superhero. You get the benefit of making really sure she's on the straight-and-narrow, you get a built-in excuse to get a superhero close to her in case she strays, you give her a sense of purpose and a direction for her post-prison life, and if it all works out, you get a poster child for any super-villain out there who's truly ready to turn over a new leaf. Win-win all around, really.
4/5 - it really is that good!
story - One of the most mature and immpresive stories which has appeared in JLU. makes you realise just how good justice league adventures was. The themes, charaterization, as well as emotion were all prevalent here. I won't reiterate them as others have done that for me - fantasic story which can be interpreted in many ways.
art - the early days of Chris Jones... so i could notice that he was not as strong as he is now on 'The Batman Strikes'... Nevertheless this is still powerful and expressive art which i loved !!! - slightly off model wise (wonder woman) sometimes but i still felt he told the story wonderfully.
This was a truly great comic which more Timmverse fans should be picking up - trust DC to pull out the best stories in its final issues.
Cool Rider, Catwoman, Diamond and all round Goddess
I'll miss you dad xx
Interesting idea Ed. I agree that in your situation there would have been a better reason for a Leaguer to take such a strong interest in a former foe's redemption, but then I think would we have seen less of "Plain Jane" Una'a slow, painful trek back to Suicide Slum and evenings in the bar wondering if her friends truly care about her. Those are private moments anyone can relate to because it's what awaits us all if we get in with the wrong crowd and end up doing time.
There was a really urban quality to this issue that other stories in JLA have tried to force. I'm immediatley reminded of the story where John shows a boy it doesn't take a ring to do good things. It's one of my other favorite JLA issues, but it feels cheesy and childish compared to this issue's approach. We may not really know who Una is until the end of the story, but by following her, we get to see what it's like to be in her position.
This is probably the most interesting JLA or JLU story published, folks, so do yourselves a favor and pick it up.
The other reason why I think I liked this story is that it reminded me a lot of Kurt Busiek's The Tarnished Angel, a story arc in his Astro City comics that follows a second-string supervillain who returns to his wrong-side-of-the-tracks section of town and ends up trying to solve a string of murders that nobody in authority is interested in. It deals with a lot of the same themes, but with a lot more room to explore them in. If you dig this story and got some spare cash to experiment with, pick it up. Then pick up the rest of Astro City, because that's not even the best AC comic story .
|toonzone quick jump|