Justice League Heroes #1 (2006)
Writer – Jim Krueger
Penciller – Joe Ng
Inkers – M3th & Rob Ross
Colorists – Rob Ruffolo & Kevin Yan
Letterer – Jared K. Fletcher
Art Director – Curtis King Jr.
Editors – Bill Rosemann & Jaye Gardner
Before there was Injustice… before the Batman: Arkham series… even before DC Universe Online there was Justice League Heroes. JLH was a game for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, X-Box, and Nintendo DS. It had the unfortunate timing of being launched in the Fall of 2006, a time when most video game enthusiasts had all of their attention on the next-generation of systems. I personally never played the game, not having been impressed by what I saw from it… Hell, I’d forgotten that it even existed at all.
Today we will be discussing the comic book tie-in for this game. Is it a quality book like the contemporary Injustice or Arkham tie-in series’? Let’s find out…
Our tale begins with a form of Brainiac I’ve never seen before walking over a barren wasteland. Skeletons begin to rise from the Earth as though Brainy summoned them himself (which I suppose he kinda is).
In Gotham City, we watch as a news reporter is warning the citizenry about what danger electricity is bringing to their fair city. He claims that they are trapped due to someone or something taking over the electrical grid. We zoom out to reveal the television set is embedded in the gut of a grotesque junkyard mecha.
Across town, another such mech has set its sights on a young boy. Just as its got the child in its grasp, a red blur enters the scene. The Flash has arrived, and returns the boy to his waiting father.
The Flash is soon joined by his fellow Justice League members, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Zatanna… who I suppose were the main characters in the video game. A quick check to Wikipedia tells me this is the case, however there are a bevvy of unlockable characters as well, including Aquaman and Supergirl to name but a few.
Superman is able to hear Brainiac speaking from a ways away. Thankfully, Supes calls Brainiac by name, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea who our villain was… I really did not recognize this version of the character.
Zatanna uses her magic ability to reveal the innards of the mechs. She is shocked to learn that it appears that they are being “piloted” by dead bodies straight outta the Gotham Cemetery.
The League ain’t digging this new development, however, a certain caped crusader is taking the news especially bad. Lest we forget, Batman’s parents are buried in that same graveyard.
Nearby, the Martian Manhunter crashes through the window of a home in which another mecha is lurking. This one is taking the form of the inhabiting family’s deceased patriarch. Rather than allow the young child inside to run into her mecha-daddy’s waiting pinchy-claws, J’onn takes the form of the young girl’s father himself. She runs to J’onn… which angers robo-pop enough to begin spewing fire in Martian Manhunter’s direction. How did he know that was his one weakness?
Luckily Zatanna and Green Lantern are on the scene. Z grabs mother and daughter and teleports them out of harm’s way, and John Stewart constructs a green bubble to extract his Martian teammate.
Nearby the Trinity gets attacked by a flock of “polluted” birds (for some reason, I’m sure). As the team regroups, they come to the conclusion that the remains of the dead who are currently inhabiting the terrible garbage bots may still have souls. It is up to the Justice League to tap into those souls and help them fight against Brainiac’s control.
The Martian Manhunter hits the populace with a mind touch, which allows them all to see the putrefying remains of their loved ones as they were when they were still among the living. We are given the impression that the Wayne’s are among Brainiac’s army, as Batman looks
deeply almost affected by this.
In the moment of calm, the League notices a shooting star flying above. Brainiac reveals to Superman that it’s not a bird, or plane… yeah, he went there… instead it is a falling star (hey, that’s the name of the story!). Brainy hints that this will lead to the destruction of the Earth, but doesn’t elaborate. What happens next? Well, yer gonna have to play the game to find out!
Well, this certainly didn’t make me want to run out and play the PS2 game…
This is a freebie from DC Comics. Sadly over the past several years we DC fans have come to expect very little from our favorite publisher’s free offerings. Why, just this past weekend was Free Comic Book Day 2016. While Marvel Comics was cashing in on both their Captain America: Civil War film debut as well as their upcoming mega-event Civil War II by releasing Civil War II #0, DC was rereleasing a five-year old issue of Suicide Squad. A couple of years back DC served up the first issue of Geoff Johns’ Last Son story arc from Action Comics (volume 1)… a book taking place in the pre-New-52 pre-Flashpoint DC Universe. Why would you do that?
This Justice League Heroes tie in is more of the same. Rather than attempting to draw interest from the gamer-set by releasing a compelling issue, DC releases this. It reads, looks, and feels cheap. It is probably unfair of me to grade this as anything but a disposable piece of fluff… but, here we are. This takes me back to reading issues of X-Men Unlimited. The art was decent… but a bit off, and the stories just plain didn’t matter.
Hate to be so blunt here, but this one’s not worth your time. I even apologize for costing you the couple of minutes you spent here reading my take on it. There isn’t even any novelty value to having it in your library.
If you’re interested in the game, well the PlayStation 2 version can be yours for… wait, what… sixty dollars on Amazon??? Aye yai yai… guess this bugger is rare.