Justice League of America (vol.2) #47 (September, 2010)
“The Dark Things, Part Three”
“Cogs, Part 2”
Writer – James Robinson
Pencillers – Mark Bagley & Pow Rodix
Inkers – Rob Hunter & Ruy Jose
Colors – Ulises Arreola & Zaratus
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Rex Ogle
Associate Editor – Adam Schlagman
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $3.99
Read “The Dark Things”. It’s only five-parts, I says to myself… not realizing that there is also a two-part prelude. Seven-parts ain’t no thang, so long as the story is interesting…
… Guess the joke’s on us.
We open at the Hoover Dam, where Congorilla is holding the entire magilla up while the area is evacuated. During this, he unfortunately falls victim to the Starheart madness. All around the world, things are just going nuts… even with our Justice League: Generation Lost pals.
The makeshift Seven Soldiers arrive on the dark side of the Moon, and after checking in with the All-Stars (who have their hands full with a lot of emerald energy) they enter a strange “five-sided room”. Everything goes sideways (literally), while Shiloh attempts to solve the situation.
It takes a few pages, but he finally cracks the code… only for the group to be attacked by a pack of rabid constructs. Mister Miracle takes rather a whupping… and has to resort to Mother Boxxx (with three x’s, yes) technology to be healed.
Unfortunately, this leaves the League one soldier short when s’more (super-villain themed) constructs attack.
We shift scenes over to the throne room of Alan Scott. He is flanked on either side by Obsidian and Dr. Fate… and his former teammates, Jay Garrick and Wildcat (along with Faust) are knelt before him. Alan sends Obsidian to “deal with” their visitors. Very pretty page… it’s really quite a shame that this art is being wasted on this story.
The captives try and chat Alan up… attempt to maybe encourage whatever’s left of the man to fight off the Starheart madness. Alan’s reply implies that there is no more Alan Scott… all there is, is
Zuul the Starheart.
Then Faust decides to chime in. He asks Starheart what he wants with the world now that it’s within his grasp… to which, Starheart hasn’t the foggiest. Faust then gets a bit pushy… he asks why the all-powerful Starheart has to resort to using Dr. Fate in order to keep them bound.
Before he can answer… we shift scenes, and rejoin Dr. Mid-Nite. If you recall (and I can’t blame you if you don’t), Mid-Nite voluntarily jumped into Obsidian’s portal in an earlier chapter. What he finds is… Mikaal Tomas!
We rejoin the Soldiers for several pages of hot-n-heavy construct fightin’… which, well… it’s something, I guess. Looks pretty! Anyhoo, Obsidian shows up and tries to convince Jade to join with him and their father.
Before she can decide… there is a burst of emerald light. When it clears, we see… not Alan Scott… hell, not even Hal Jordan, but Kyle Rayner! Jennie is happy to see him, after all, they could use his help. He then informs her that he’s not here to help… he’s been sent by the Guardians to kill Alan Scott.
Well, that would’ve been one helluva cliffhanger… if it weren’t for the damned backup story. We’re back at S.T.A.R. Labs-Houston with Cyborg. Dr. Light (the good one) offers him a job as head of S.T.A.R. Robotics! Did Vic earn his Doctorate and I missed it?
We then jump into a flashback, which… in fairness, ties this story together with The Dark Things… elementals are going nuts, and if you recall (and again, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t) we wrapped up the last one of these with Vic going toe-to-toe with Red Tornado. Vic laments that due to the improvements he himself made to Red Tornado, it’s impossible to “turn him off”… unless he make a certain high-stakes risk.
I’m sorry guys, I feel like my heart’s just not in this one. Hmm, ya don’t think… nah, couldn’t be that I’m suffering the effects of the Starheart, could it? Well, no… what I’m suffering is the effects of a very dull story.
To be completely honest, if it weren’t for the Kyle Rayner-flavored cliffhanger (that I’d totally forgotten about), I can say with confidence that we would’a “tapped out” on The Dark Things with this issue. We’ve only ever done that once here… but, ya know… if I’m not having fun… what’s the point? I mean, it can’t be much fun for anyone reading this (if, in fact, anyone is) to read the ramblings of an obviously bored blogger.
This isn’t even so bad where I can get comically angry at it. It’s just a poorly-paced, and wildly dull affair. Maybe Robinson is trying to evoke the frenetic “vignette” style of the main Brightest Day series? Because, if we really look at it… that’s all we’re really getting here.
You ever play the Uncharted games? Or really, any third-person shooter, I guess. You spend some time exploring beautiful scenery… then all of a sudden you enter into a clearing, with a whole lot of convenient formations to take cover behind. That’s when you know there’s going to be a firefight. That’s how this arc is starting to feel. We get lost in the art for a moment… then fight. It’s very formulaic… and, by the seventh or eighth time, it begins to feel like more of a grind than anything.
When I become more interested in counting how many pages are being wasted fighting “constructs” than actually enjoying the battle scene, that might be a problem. In fairness, that might just be my problem, but… it’s a problem none the less.
So, what did we learn here? The Starheart has fully taken over Alan Scott (which will likely end precisely the way we imagine it will). Mikaal Tomas is hooked up to some sort of construct cropping. Dr. Fate is the one keeping Flash, Wildcat and Faust captive. And Kyle Rayner has been sent to… kill Alan Scott. Oh, and Mother Boxxx now has three x’s (probably a Morrisonian touch, though I wouldn’t swear to it).
The backup also “happened”, but this time it feels more tied in with the lead-off story. It’s still not all that interesting… but has some fun visuals.
I’m guessing this is a far more satisfying read in collected format… though, that’s also something I wouldn’t swear to. These Brightest Day stories don’t get all that much lip-service… and maybe there’s some non-New-52! reasoning for that. I couldn’t recommend rushing out any grabbing this at anywhere near cover price ($3.99). If you find it on the cheap… well, the art is very nice.