Summary: An extraordinary hardcover volume collecting JUSTICE #5-8, written by comics legends Alex Ross (KINGDOM COME) and Jim Krueger (Earth X) with art by Doug Braithwaite and Ross! In this volume, a conspiracy of villains has found a way to use Superman’s powers against him. He’s beyond control and there’s only one solution — which may kill him!
Justice, vol. 2, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Doug Braithwaite 7.5
After the first collection of the ‘Justice’ maxi-series, I knew very well that there was little chance that the next one would hold up. One can always dream, but it’s never something one should expect; it’s incredibly difficult to sustain such quality work on a long-term basis and meet fans’ expectations at once.
For good or for bad, I was ready for a less riveting set this time – and it delivered exactly as anticipated.
This second collection of the ‘Justice” maxi-series covers volumes 5 to 8. It’s a more traditional affair this time, with all the heroes suddenly escaping all of the traps the villains have set and/or surviving their seemingly mortal wounds – something that seemed pretty much impossible at the tail end of the last set.
Now, it’s not that I want the heroes felled. Hardly. It’s just that if you lobotomize one, tear another apart, render one decrepit, banish one to limbo, …etc., someone won’t make it back alive and/or in perfect health. That’s just life.
I understand that this is a comic book, but putting characters in danger is meaningless is the danger isn’t real and doesn’t have a real impact. Furthermore, it declaws the books’ future cliffhangers and purported twists because the readers know that they’re just for show. Ho hum.
All in all, ‘Justice, vol. 2’ felt far ton convenient and traditional for my taste. What it’s basically about is the heroes licking their wounds and coordinating as a group to fight off the villains. We’ve seen this countless times and there’s really not much novelty here. What seemed like a more intense set in the first book has since lost its edge.
Having said this, the writing remains quite good and Alex Ross’ art is still breathtaking, although there are moments when I got the impression that he was coasting a little bit. It’s an unusual thing to suggest, given the incredible quality of his work, and I can’t substantiate it, but there were panels that felt glossed over to me.
Having said this, Ross worked his butt off on this series for a couple of years so it’s rather unreasonable to expect his work to be 100% foolproof the whole time. With publishing deadlines looming, there were no doubts moments when he felt rushed, his back against the wall. Honestly, he did more than most equally-skilled people ever could.
So, while this set of ‘Justice’ books was slightly disappointing content-wise, it remains a far better collection than most series could ever hope to expect. Sure, it’s conventional in some ways, but it’s done with such skill that anyone who likes classic DC comics would likely be very pleased with the way it’s turned out.
I look forward to the next set, to the maxi-series’ conclusion.