Waylaid on Takron-Galtos, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman meet their maker in “Justice League 3000” #4, drawn by Howard Porter and written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. Takron-Galtos is a filth-covered, overrun prison planet run by Sheriff Aaban Tariq. Oh yeah, it also used to be Earth.
There’s not a lot of action in this comic as the groups of characters mostly use this fourth issue of the series to further some exposition along. Teri and Terry, the white-haired sibling Wonder Twins of Cadmus discuss the ramifications of losing two team members so early and in such dramatic fashion. Tariq teases the trinity along until they collectively learn the truth of their existence from Ariel Masters. Green Lantern and Locus compare abilities and experience in a dangerously flirtatious manner that makes “Hal Jordan” uneasy. These segments move the book along nicely, but also make “Justice League 3000” #4 seem much longer than twenty pages.
It certainly helps that Howard Porter is clearly enjoying his opportunity to build a world — or a galaxy — from scratch. That galaxy is not like our own and Porter indicates that by skewing and slanting of panels in wild mismatches, tossing out symmetry and infusing uneasy energy to the story. The pages become much more kinetic, but the end result has to be somewhat screwy for readers using digital means for “Justice League 3000” #4. Porter’s characters all have their own posture and portraits. The artist is able to define all of the characters quite nicely while giving each flickers of similarity and shadows of diversity that displays heritage and evolution from their “modern day” counterparts. Porter gets a massive assist from colorist Hi-Fi. The honeycomb pattern of Superman’s uniform, the detail in the backgrounds, the wrinkles, stress and cracks on ancillary characters’ faces, a range of garment colors on the throngs gathered on Takron-Galtos — all of this showcases the level of detail — that come from such a strong collaboration between artist and colorist. Sal Cipriano keeps the lettering from distracting or disarming the scenes, nicely rounding out the visual presentation in this comic book.
The final page of “Justice League 3000” brings the debut of a new member of the crew, flinging open the doors for this series to stretch beyond the five characters it debuted with four months ago. After the exposition in this issue, the next promises to be an action-packed thriller, spanning from one end of the galaxy to the other while giving the wide array of characters created by Giffen, DeMatteis and Porter a chance to flex their muscles. There appears to be no shortage of conflict on deck, as “Justice League 3000” #4 brings this series to a dynamic story beat while showcasing the secrets, origins and oppositions waiting to be investigated further.