COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Justice League International #2 (DC Comics — The New 52)

Justice League International #2 Cover DC Comics New 52It’s Month 2 of DC Comics’ The New 52! It’s do-or-die  this month for the books I bashed last month, and time to see if the titles I loved last month are as good as I thought! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #2 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. This week we get 13 #2 issues, including Booster Gold #2!

…What’s that? It’s Justice League International #2? There are members of this team that we’re supposed to care about besides Booster Gold? You could’ve fooled me. I guess no one told the writer either…  

This review will contain spoilers.

The Right:

You might think that I’m going to rip this book apart from the introduction, but it’s a little more complicated than that. There are a lot of things in this comic that I really liked this month–a lot more than last month. It’s just that there are a lot of things I didn’t like as well.

First, let’s talk about some aspects of this issue I particularly enjoyed:

SKEETS!!! I was devastated in JLI #1 when it looked as if Skeets didn’t exist in the relaunched DC Universe. To me, Skeets is half the fun of Booster Gold and also 40% of his personality. So the lack of Skeets would have been devastating. But he’s back! Well, not yet. But we do hear a transmission between he and Booster in this issue, and Batman mentions that Booster still has his security bot. He may turn out to be a little different in this new universe, but I’m still looking forward to seeing him–and hopefully soon.

Booster shows a decent human being side of his personality this issue when we see that he values a teammate’s life more than the respect and admiration of the viewing public. That may go without saying, but more often than I’d like Booster is portrayed as being heartless, greedy and selfish. I like that early on in this series Booster’s priorities are already made apparent to us, and he’s not just a deplorable jerk.

The concept of this series–the United Nations sponsoring an international team of superheroes for the first time–is a good one. I appreciated that there was much less page-time for the bureaucrats this issue, and more of an emphasis on Booster trying to lead a team of individuals he has no idea of the capabilities of on a mission he isn’t prepared to undertake, all under the scrutinizing eyes of the general public of the world. If we need to hear the suits whine about the governments shutting down the team every issue it’ll get old fast, but for now I thought there was a good balance in this issue.

The Wrong:

Booster Gold wasn’t a big enough draw to sustain his own book before the New 52 relaunch, so this book’s success depends on the team’s cast besides Booster. The first two issues do a great job reestablishing Booster Gold, as well as including some great Batman scenes (even though he’s not an official part of the team). But these inaugural issues have
also been a complete failure in developing the rest of the team. Let’s take a look at the rest of the Justice League International based on these comics:

  • What do we know about Ice as a character? Absolutely nothing.
  • What do we know about Fire as a character? Absolutely nothing.
  • What do we know about Godiva as a character? She’s a skank. And otherwise absolutely nothing.
  • What do we know about Vixen as a character? Absolutely nothing, besides that she likes to give sneakily-expository dialogue like “That looks like my native Africa!”
  • What do we know about August General in Iron as a character? He hates Russians and otherwise absolutely nothing.
  • What do we know about Rocket Red as a character? He speaks in comical broken English, is dumb as a rock, is passionately patriotic about Russia, and hates the Chinese because Russia is superior.

So it seems the most-developed character besides Booster is what I gather is supposed to be the “comic relief”. Am I really supposed to laugh and think that Rocket Red is hilarious and have him endeared to me because he’s a dumb, ethnocentric character stuck in the past and hating the Chinese? Because I’m pretty sure the age when that kind of characterization was appropriate in a comic book is long since past, and I neither am amused by nor appreciate it here.

Further irritating me, the last two issues seem to be totally disconnected from what’s going on and completely pull me out of the story, which is not the intended effect of your usual “cliffhanger”. And I swear Galactus showed up, but I know that’s impossible since he’s over at Marvel.

“Where Can I Buy It?!”

The obvious place to buy new comic books is your local comic book store, but if you don’t have one or can’t get to it, I highly recommend giving Things from Another World (TFAW.com) a try! Currently, they not only have Justice League International #2 in stock, but they have Justice League International #1 as well! They stock a crazy huge number of comic books, and the prices on new releases and graphic novels are always 10-35% below cover price. I’ve been buying from TFAW for close to a decade now and never had a bad experience, so I have total confidence in their value and quality. Click here if you wanna take a look at buying comics from Things from Another World.

Overall: I love Booster Gold. In fact, I love most of the characters on this team. Unfortunately, in this new DC Universe, none of those characters besides Booster are getting any development–at all–in this book. It might as well be called “Booster Gold and his Amazing Support Staff” so far. I thought Justice League International #2 was a noticeably better comic book than the first issue, but I’m still not sure if it’s enough to get my three dollars for another issue. Whether you liked Justice League International #1 or not, this second issue is much better and thus far the most improved book in the second month of The New 52.

Will I be pre-ordering the next issue of Justice League International? Undecided.

GRADE: C

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