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Danger Club: A Review

There is a cosmic evil approaching Earth. To fight this threat, the world’s superheroes have left to fight it. They failed. The evil is still coming. And only the remaining sidekicks and younger superheroes remain to defend the world. If they can get their shit together.

That isDanger Clubin a nutshell. I’m not sure what drew me to the title written by Landry Q. Walker with art by Eric Jones and colors by Robert Drake. Maybe the art? Maybe a fetish for indie comics? Regardless, it has taken me years to get around to checking the collected trade out thanks to interlibrary loan. Fortunately, I spent only a dollar compared to the ten dollars it would have cost me to buy the title. Why?

Because I strongly dislike this series.

I have come to realize thatDanger Club Volume One: Deathis little more than splatter gornography. Repetitive depictions of teenagers beating each other to bloody pulps is not something I’m interested in reading. Especially when the writing is subpar.

The narrative, so far, is a string of disjointed and cluttered scenes that rely on the reader’s (expected) prior knowledge of superhero comics to produce the narrative. Too much is going on at once without adequate world building.

In his introduction, Matt Fraction argues that Walker has moved past the need to expound what is going on in each scene. But, honestly, he has gone too far in the opposite direction without answering its promise.

Whatever promise the series has is also hampered by an extremely unsympathetic designated protagonist in Kid Vigilante. If you find the New 52 version of Tim Drake detestable, you will utterly despise this little douche. He takes the bad qualities of Red Robin and magnifies them several fold. The only movement towards making any of these characters (more little monsters) sympathetic comes in the final issue of the graphic novel as the Magician leaves a last message for his mother before his apparent death and Fearless Jack appears to show remorse for putting a bullet in the insufferable Kid Vigilante’s head. But these heart rending (and well done) moments come far too late to save the series.

Had the writing taken its time and introduced the characters better rather than relying on knowing the various characters’ inspirations to force sympathy and attachment, the series might have been something great.

While I dislike the narrative, I’m quite fond of the art. It is clean and well done. And the colors are wonderful. .

Danger Clubhas been on indefinite hiatus since April 2013. When it will return is unknown. What is clear, however, is that I won’t be returning to learn what happens next.

 

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Review: Justice League: Cry for Justice

I don’t recall having previously reviewed Justice League: Cry for Justice despite having first read the miniseries around the time of James Robinson’s relaunch of Earth 2 as part of DC’s New 52. Obviously, Cry for Justice is written by James Robinson with art by Mauro Cascioli, Scott Clark, et al. When I first read the series, I enjoyed it. But on a second reading, I find myself not as enamored.

Justice League: Cry for Justice tells the story of Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Green Arrow leaving the Justice League after Final Crisis and focusing on preemptive superheroics. The two are successful until the villain Prometheus initiates a plan that will cost thousands of lives. To stop Prometheus, a team of heroes damaged by Prometheus’s initial moves gathers to stop him.

The story is a good one. It raises fundamental questions about what it means to be a superhero. So often, superheroes are reactive protagonists who wait for their respective villains to initiate whatever scheme they’ve got cooked up at any one time. What does it mean for a hero to take the offensive in their war on crime/ evil?

That is the question at the heart of this miniseries. The answer may very well be a darker hero, a more militaristic hero. Now compound that with a villain whose scheme absolutely negates that militarism (or does it)?

I like this. There is excitement and underused heroes are showcased. And this provides a nice “pilot arc” for Robinson’s run on Justice League of America. But I do have some serious issues with this miniseries as well.

I don’t know if there was any build up for this miniseries in the wider DC Universe, but I think there should have been. The plot is epic enough that there should be foreshadowing and hints of Prometheus’s movements long before the heroes learn of his return. Instead things proceed too quickly. Prometheus makes for a great main antagonist for a sustained run on a comic book series.

Perhaps an ongoing arc would have prevented several of the plotting missteps that plague the series.  The conclusion feels too rushed. The reveal and the fight fly by at near lightning speed without really delivering.

Furthermore, a reader must wonder why exactly the heroes do not remove whatever gadgets Prometheus has that prevents Miss Martian’s telepathy.  I’m assuming it rests in his helmet (which is miraculously repaired after being destroyed by an enraged Donna Troy).  This is a real problem that should have been caught by editorial.

Finally, the final dispatching of Prometheus is truly anticlimatic. To the point of ruining the great potential of the series’s plot.

The dialogue is unfortunately a weakness. There is a wooden quality that, while recalling the earlier periods of superhero comics, does not lend itself well to modern comics (though this does seem to be a weakness in Robinson’s writing).

Justice League: Cry for Justice  is very good, even with my criticisms and the controversy that surrounds it.