I suspect there will be comic fans who have never read “Justice League 3000” #1-11 that will pick up #12. Why? Because Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Howard Porter have brought back Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. Or rather, the pre-“New 52” versions of the characters. So with that in mind, what will people who come into the series cold find waiting for them?
For starters, not the main cast of the previous 11 issues. They’re confined to three pages of this issue, and that includes a two-page splash of Wonder Woman attacking a horde of demons. This book is really all about Booster and Beetle, as they adjust to waking up on the Takron-Galtos prison planet of the 31st century. Fans of “Justice League 3000” #1-11 might be a little perturbed on that level.
But meanwhile, you get a lot of bickering and bantering between the two characters. And on some level, that’s a good thing; it’s what the two do best, after all. DeMatteis’s dialogue shows that he still remembers how to write the duo, and you can almost hear the readers cheering with each new scene. Where the book goes a little off-step, though, is that the majority of the book is just the two interacting with one another. They’re amusing, but only up to a point. What Giffen and DeMatteis seem to have forgotten is that the duo work best when they’re bouncing off of a third party, and that’s more of an exception than the rule here. Neither of the two characters are able to play the straight man (a role back in the “Justice League International” days that worked well with characters like Maxwell Lord or Martian Manhunter), and so the riffing and teasing lacks an appropriate target. It gets into a little too much teasing with no real release. Once these two are (presumably) on the same planet as the rest of the reconstituted Justice League that should no doubt change, but for now it’s a little too much.
Porter’s art works here; Beetle’s face lighting up when he sees his old lab is a great moment, for example, and in general the characters look good under his pencil. The world of Takron-Galtos also comes across well, jammed full of buildings that seem both exciting and dingy at the same time. Hi-Fi’s colors help in that manner, bringing across both a futuristic glow and also a slight sense of smog hovering over the area. It’s a good-looking book, and I think there’s nothing to throw off new readers.
In the end, “Justice League 3000” #12 works better for new readers than existing ones, if only because it primarily ignores the previous issues. Eventually this story will connect a bit more with everything else, but for now, if Giffen, DeMatteis and Porter are trying to lure in new readers, this is a reasonable start. But hopefully the Blue and Gold team will have some other characters to interact with soon. I’m not sure the two bantering with one another non-stop can last for a whole second issue before it turns irritating. Here’s hoping that promised roster expansion happens next issue, and quickly.