This issue, Green Arrow gets his groove back. Having stood by last issue and allowed Green Lantern and Atom to torture Clayface for information, this time he remembers that he’s meant to be a caring kinda guy and tells them to cut it out. GL and Atom tell him where to shove it, the latter declaring ‘I never liked you anyway’ . . . sorry, it was: Honestly, what a baby! Standing by are possible teammates Supergirl and Shazam (Freddy Freeman) and boy, are they shocked when former Star City mayor Ollie Queen, noted orator, responds to his hardliner pals: Yup, Green Arrow presses the button on, his, what . . . sonic scream arrow? Panic point? Shouty shaft? Whatever it is, it knocks GL and Atom for a six, causing Supergirl to melt the thing. She’s OK with torture but for God’s sake, don’t turn the volume up. GL seems fine with being assaulted by his best pal, and ready to listen, but Atom’s stil grumpy. Oh well, at least Ollie has a 50 per cent hit rate.
That’s just the maddest scene in a JL mini series that’s slow to give up its secrets/refuses to make sense. These heroes know master information gather Oracle, countless telepaths and magical beings, yet the best they can think of to find the eeeevil Prometheus is to have Atom torment them via nostril? Thank God for Freddy, who taps into his wisdom of Solomon, and comes to the conclusion that Prometheus Is Up to Something. Wow.
Elsewhere in the book, Congorilla and Not Starman Mikaal Tomas still haven’t hooked up with Hal’s Grimace League – they’re in Paris, having sniffed out (literally) the baddies who slaughtered the gorilla tribe in issue #1. Congorilla seems to have developed a new ability – the madder he gets, the bigger he gets. As gorillas don’t. The evildoers are Penny Dreadful and Arak, who I’ve a vague memory used to fight Infinity Inc back in 1806 or something. Seriously, James Robinson isn’t writing this book for readers bereft of a DC Encyclopedia. This issue alone, as well as villainous obscurities, there are references to the Atom’s interdimensional wanderings in Countdown and Identity Crisis and we enjoy flying visits to various DC locales. I’ve been reading since the Seventies and I didn’t recognise all the characters seen by Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick. Who’s the dead guy in St Roch? Who’s the live guy? Who are those tiny people in Happy Harbor?
I’m still not actually sure what Jay is panicking about; so there’s naughtiness afoot in the DCU? It’s not like there aren’t channels to warn super-folk that don’t necessitate him running around like a blue-arsed fly. Mind, the hysteria does allow artist Mauro Cascioli to draw a cute Jay, totally knackered from his travels, having taken his boots off.
This is Cascioli’s best issue to date. Odd moments don’t work, such as the aforementioned visits by Jay and a confusing panel layout involving Congorilla’s hairy back. There’s one panel that’s meant to be a big reveal, as the Shade arrives at the home of Jay and wife Joan, but given that his trademark top hat and cane were buried behind his back, I failed to recognise him. But generally the book looks good and the storytelling’s fine. I especially like a frankly iconic shot of Jay running, and the closing spread featuring a perplexing JLA line-up.
Robinson’s dialogue is mostly better than in previous issues, too, with only a few cringe-making moments, and one or two really nice ones, such as Kara’s crush on Freddy, and Shade’s response to a query by Joan.
Justice League: Cry For Justice is still bombastically daft, but it crossed a line and became fun this issue. I’ll still be glad when it’s all over, but the journey’s no longer making me feel ill.