Saturday, February 7, 2015

Justice League United #8

Justice League United #8
"The Infinitus Saga Part 4 of 6"
Creator Credits:
Written by Jeff Lemire
Penciled by Neil Edwards
Inked by Jay Leisten and Keith Champagne
Colors by Jeromy Cox
Cover by Andrew Robinson
Flash 75th Anniversary Cover by Karl Kerschl & Dave McCaig
Cover Price: $3.99

This issue opens with Dream Girl, still in the future that is currently being decimated by Infinitus, reflecting on how the Legion was founded. Notice here that she mentions the actions of the Justice League as the inspiration for Brande's founding of the Legion, and not Superman, as was the case in the past iterations. Dream Girl is the leader of the team of Legionnaires that stayed in the 31st Century battling Infinitus, while Brainiac's team went into the past to prevent Ultra the Multi-Alien from ever evolving into the evil entity. Dream Girl determines that Earth, the galaxy, and the entire universe are lost unless Infinitus is stopped in the 21st Century, and so after the Legion evacuates more Earth cities, they regroup at the Time Institute and head back in time to join the others (and the Justice League United.) But their arrival is too late. Byth once again wins out in an astral conversation between Byth, Martian Manhunter, and Ultra, while Hawkman (still under the control of Byth) delays the combined JLU and Legion forces enough for Byth's ship to enter the Event Horizon, resulting in the birth of INFINITUS...

If you notice from the heading, this Infinitus Saga has now been inflated from 5 parts (4 regular size issues plus a double sized annual) into 6 chapters. And man does it show in this issue. This comic literally took me three minutes to read. The comic costs more than a $1 a minute. I have gradually increased my complaints of the decompressed story tropes creeping into this story arc with each passing chapter, but the plot progression grinds to a complete standstill in this issue. Where did the character beats and the plot progression from the annual go? I had so much praise for Lemire's writing on that annual, but this story arc has grown stagnant and devoid of those high points with each passing issue until it completely disappears in this issue. 

The art is gorgeous to look at, but that's just it, it is just art to look at. With this issue being so light on the plot, there isn't much of a story to even elaborate on or add to in the art. The comic features 22 pages. Of those 22 pages, there are 4 double-page splashes (so that's a consumption of 8 pages) plus 2 single page splashes, and several 2 page panels consisting of half page splashes. Like I said, the art looks great, the detail in the art is really stepped up, but there is just no plot or story here. Unfortunately I think next issue will be more of the same, until we get to the final chapter. It is really too bad, the story started out at such a high pace, and was the perfect balance of action, plot development, and character beats. But the last 2 pages have been nothing but splash pages of the combined super teams flying in space. It looks like this one would have been a better fit for a 2-3 issue story, I can't imagine that the decompressed story format that resulted in the "filler" from these past 2 issues is going to hold up much better in the trade. It'll end up being about 40 pages of stagnant story, but I guess those 40 pages will only take about 10 minutes to breeze through. Like I said, top notch art, it's really pretty to look at, it's just too bad there isn't a better story to accompany it. 

The issue ends with the reveal of Infinitus on the final splash page, and the text on the page still indicates that the next issue should be the final chapter. However the double page splash that serves as the title page calls out this chapter as part 4 of 6. We'll see if the final battle does in fact take place next issue as the final page promises, or if that conclusion is spread out over the next two issues. Two more issues would carry the series until March, leading into the two month break for Convergence, it will be interesting to see if the conclusion has an impact on the greater DCU and if it serves (one of) the causes for the Convergence Event. 

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