DC Universe: Decisions

Someone is targeting political candidates in the DC Universe and the Justice League of America aren’t standing for it. At the behest of Superman and Batman, heroes are assigned to guard candidates in each of the four viable campaigns for the presidency. But Green Arrow, being a new and naive hero, allows himself to be persuaded to publicly endorse one of the candidates.

Hmm, something’s wrong there. Oh yeah, Green Arrow isn’t actually a new and naive hero, he’s the former mayor of Star City. Hardly a political naif. Yet here he is stepping back from his bodyguard duties to make nice with the media about Davis Brewster, whose campaign symbol appears to be a cabbage. Well, at least it’s green.

Meanwhile, Lois Lane is asked to do some on-air interviewing for the Daily Planet’s expanding broadcast division, which I don’t believe I’ve heard of outside the Silver Age. Mind, when was the last time you saw Lois wearing specs? Or even the first time?

Batman is grumpy this issue, annoyed that Cliff Steele, Robotman, failed to stop people getting blown up during the assassination attempt that motivates the World’s Finest team into enlisting their JLA pals. Why Robotman is involved, where the rest of the Doom Patrol are, we’re not told, though his role in the plot is obvious – to serve as whipping boy; Batman rounds on him for his supposed incompetence.

Hmm, how many sidekicks has Robotman seen killed? I think that would be none, so shut it, Bruce.

Talking of Batman, what is it with DC writers these days and their tendency to have him hum and hah? If it’s not ‘hrn’ in Trinity, it’s ‘hh’ here. Just how does one pronounce ‘hh’, huh?

Where Batman is grumpy, Green Lantern is annoyed; Hal Jordan seems to spend all his time watching Ollie’s activities on the telly and saying ‘Ollie, you damned fool’. Really, there are two scenes of this, though in one he does get to add ‘What are you doing?’

Wonder Woman, meanwhile, gets to be stupid. She appears twice, grinning like a loon at the JLA meeting, as Superman talks of death threats, then, after Ollie’s endorsement, exclaiming: ‘Good for you for taking a stand, Ollie.’ This is in character, Diana having written a preachy book or two in her time, but then she ruins it by adding, ‘But why him? He’s no warrior’ like an Amazon who’s just stepped off the boat.

JLA leader and Mrs Green Arrow, Black Canary, gets to do nothing, not even speak at the JLA meeting. I guess she’ll be endorsing whichever party keeps women in their ‘proper’ place.

There is one great scene in this comic, as Robin and Robotman chat as the former narrows down a list of suspects, with witty dialogue and believable deduction. It’s let down only by the revelation that Batman has 68 criminals with psychic powers working undercover for him. Er, right.

The big question with this comic is why on Earth the JLA are going on protection detail. The DCU has a number of covert organisations that could help, among them Checkmate, the DOA, DMO and Suicide Squad. Plus, it’s not like the police, FBI and CIA are slackers. But no, in a world assailed by massive superhuman threats every other day, the JLA commit to weeks, possibly months, of close protection work. And if this issue is the pattern for the next three, we’ll see three other heroes endorse candidates. Next issue’s cover shows Guy Gardner, so expect the Green Lantern to back the most right wing wannabe.

I don’t think I’ll bother coming back for that; writers Judd Winick and Bill Willingham, and artists Rick Leonardi, Karl Story and Dan Green have produced a rather dopey comic, and if I’m going to vote in 2008, it’s with my wallet.

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