Justice League: Cry for Justice #3

I didn't have terribly high hopes for "Justice League: Cry for Justice" #3. The first two issues had such a heavy-handed script that it was somewhat painful, and the art was variable at best. So while it's a pleasant surprise to see a slight increase in quality, there's still some crying for justice going on here -- at least, from the reader's perspective.

With the characters starting to come together, there's a lot less of the expository scenes with the various superheroes brooding about justice, and that's quite a relief. At the same time, though, the plot is still crawling forward at a snail's pace. Prometheus seems to do little more than whirl a metaphorical mustache and talk about how evil he is, but it's more about what he's already done than what he's actually doing. Fans of B- and C-grade characters from DC Comics will see a few more join the dead pile, mind you, but I'm still unconvinced that it's making Prometheus a scary character.

As for the heroes themselves, their dialogue still comes across a little too stilted for my tastes. "But I still have to ask -- are you here now as a hero... or a villain?" isn't the sort of sentence that anyone would speak, real world or superhero land. Even simple lines about grief ("He was everything -- and now that's been taken from me. Now I have nothing, except my life.") are unbelievable and cringe-worthy. It's hard to believe this is the same writer who had such a gift with dialogue in "Starman" back in the day.

Mauro Cascioli's art starts off with one of the worst pages I've seen in a while, and there's no skirting around the subject. The book opens with the four male heroes staring at Supergirl's breasts. Her head is obscured by her hair as it blows to the left at a 90 degree angle, so it's a mass of blonde hair, and then her chest. (Interestingly enough, Shazam's hair is also slightly blowing in the air, but instead it's to the right instead of the left.) It's a jaw-droppingly bad image, and it boggles the mind why Cascioli thought this was a good idea. The rest of the art is at least passable, looking a bit like some of Mark Texeira's old "Ghost Rider" work. But even then, it's so scratchy and dark on some of the pages that it's hard to read.

The sad thing? There are a couple of good, cute moments. Congo Bill's answer to Starman's, "What are you going to do?" made me smile, and Charity being as flabbergasted as the reader by Bobo Bennetti's dialogue was funny. (Where was Charity for the rest of this comic, though?) But this is still not a very good comic, and it makes me worried for how "Justice League of America" will fare when Robinson takes over in a few months. With its macho blustering of looking for justice, it reminds me of all of the weak points of "Extreme Justice" with none of its good points. That was over a decade ago. Haven't we moved beyond this?

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