Since "Justice League 3001" probably won't return after the upcoming DC Rebirth event, Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Scott Kolins, and Colleen Doran start to wind the series down in "Justice League 3001" #9. It's unfortunate, too; this issue is a good example of how the series has finally found its own voice with just the right balance of familiar faces and new twists.
Over the run of "Justice League 3001," Giffen and DeMatteis have shuffled out a lot of the original characters in favor of newer ones, and that switching process resulted in a surprisingly good final mix. Watching Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Flash on Cadmusworld gives us a strong balance of personalities, especially with Teri continuing to learn about her abilities as the Flash and gaining confidence in being a hero. In many ways, she's the breakout star of the comic, and it's a shame her time on the page is most likely coming to a close. She's a character whose strengths aren't limited to her superpowers, and I like that her presumed discovery of the Scullions' weakness involves her thinking through the very nature of the unstoppable robotic force.
Giffen, DeMatteis and Kolins also take time to reinvent some familiar faces from the DC Universe, and so far they work well. The main villainous star of the comic is a 31st century version of Eclipso, who stands out thanks to Kolins' redesign. The way we never see his face -- just eyes and teeth floating in a sea of darkness -- is a great rendition of the character, one that's creepier looking as well as much more in line with the entire character concept and his need for the night. Similarly, the reveal of Eclipso's new henchmen is great, because all of the characters are instantly recognizable from their old versions while coming across as dangerous and creepy. It's a smart (if somewhat belated) introduction of these characters, and I'm eager to see Kolins draw them in action next month, because they look fantastic.
There's also a backup story drawn by Doran this issue, and it's an interesting shift for the "Justice League 3001" series, as Ariel Masters and Lois Lane confer with and confront one another. In just five pages, we get a very different side of Lois Lane here, and -- considering that she's been the main villain of the 3001 series up until recently -- she ends up almost sympathetic despite her overwhelming hatred of Superman. Presumably, the duo will have a lot to do with the conclusion of the series, and this works as a good setup. It also doesn't hurt that Doran draws it; she's able to make a story with a lot of headshots still look visually interesting, not only in how expressive the characters are, but also in their poses and overall body language. It's nice to have Doran back for another contribution to the series, as well as to simply see her draw some new comics in general.
"Justice League 3001" #9 is a good issue, one that makes me a little sad to see the book on its way out the door. A couple of years ago, "Justice League 3000" certainly had a rocky start, but where the book is now feels so much more interesting and inviting that it makes one wish it had somehow managed to start at this point. Still, it's going to be a fun ride over the finish line and the book is worth sticking around for.