Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Absolute Justice Hardcover – November 17, 2009
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Broadly speaking, "Challenge of the Superfriends" pitted at the title characters against an array of their rogues organized into a nefarious organization known as the Legion of Doom, episode after episode. Ross takes this basic setup, and expands on it; the League (going by its proper name here) has a considerably larger membership than it did in that period, including the Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, and longtime Ross favourite Captain Marvel - and the heroic cast just grows and grows the longer the story goes on, bringing in, among others, the Metal Men, the Teen Titans, and the Doom Patrol. The villains, too, have extended their numbers, bringing in characters like Poison Ivy and Vandal Savage. Roughly divided into three acts, the first, which, to my mind, remains the best, sees the Legion mount a carefully-orchestrated strategic attack against the JLA, first ascertaining their identities and then using this to surprise the membership with overwhelming force when they least expect it. Some of the strongest sequences come here, such as Superman's sudden ambush at the hands of a squad of the DCU's strongest villains. From there, as one might expect, the League members slowly begin to extricate themselves from their predicament (having either survived the seemingly unsurvivable or just been left for dead), and hastily try to reorganize as the Legion puts its master plan into motion. At the same time, frictions grow between the masterminds behind the plot, Lex Luthor and Brainiac.
Frankly, I think the plot loses something as it goes along. The Legion's opening moves are excellently-depicted, and the issues that they broadcast to the world (as well as the motive implied in their opening dreams) seems to suggest a somewhat different story than we are used to. However, gradually it just becomes yet an other iteration of Brainiac's schemes; a well-done one, no doubt, but nonetheless very familiar. Likewise, the ballooning cast eventually leads to a feeling of clutter; anyone lacking an encyclopedic knowledge of the DC Universe might feel a bit lost as the parade of minor figures increases, resulting in a final battle that involves, to one extent or another, probably around three-score individuals.
Where the book always shines, though, is in its characterization; Krueger, handling the dialogue, has a way with summing up a character's core personality in the space of a monologue (Superman's discussion near the end about how he always worries about bullets bouncing off him and hitting someone else, for example, is a novel idea). And the writers, while clearly fans of "Superfriends", are clearly working to undo some of the characterization flaws of that series, most notably in the case of Aquaman, a character to popcultural farce status by that series. Aquaman's plot there, essentially a rerun of an infamous 1970s story where he failed to save the life of his son Arthur Jr., is one of his strongest portrayals in memory. Ross and Krueger also deliver a strong Wonder Woman (who, almost alone among the cast, seems much more the post-Crisis version of the character, albeit at pre-Crisis power levels and trappings), though her plot has a rather abrupt ending that left me scratching my head a bit.
Artwise, the Absolute format is most certainly the way to read an Alex Ross story. His intricate panels, often hard to fully appreciate at normal page-size, look fabulous in the larger size. Ross can deliver iconography like few other artists in the business, even if his work could be said to lack a certain amount of dynamism (though this book delivers some good fight scenes, better than some of his past work. His Superman, in particular, is to die for.
The art needs no comment. Alex Ross paints over Doug Braithwaite's pencils. You either like Alex Ross, or you don't. I think most people fall into the first camp.
The writing does need a comment or two. The script could've used another rewrite. Scenes occasionally occur with little context, leaving one scratching one's head. Sometimes this is for dramatic effect, and sometimes it even works. Dialogue can be unnaturally terse, including one exchange where a cryptic one-word question required a response that explained the question. Things are told, after the fact, instead of shown. And there are more dei ex machinis than I am comfortable with, even if some of the characters are actually blessed and watched over by the dei. The story starts out with some pretty head ideas, but abandons them in favor of a pretty generic bad-guys-team-up-and-fight-good-guys tale, the kind that leaves you scratching your head and wondering why, given a world of despots, maniacs, and evil geniuses, the Guild--er, League of Supervillains chose third-stringers like "the guy who asks questions" and "the crazy lady who dresses in dead cats" to sit at the big boys' table.
I've only skimmed the back matter. It's honestly rather unimpressing. There are some short character biographies which, I must admit, do sometimes add a bit of depth to the characters. There are some sketches, some pencilled artwork, and some character portraits by Braithwaite and Ross.
Whatever problems I had with the story and dialogue, the artwork and the physical quality of the book compelled me to read it in one setting. And I gotta admit, I really did want to know how they were going to defeat the bad guys. Sometimes you don't want grim-n-gritty, or morally gray, or abstract personifications bickering at each other. Sometimes you just want superheroes. This may be the best presentation of pure, distilled superhero comic there is.
I give this book three stars as it is an average between the art and the story. I'll have to revisit it soon and see if my expectations were too high on my first reading. I had waited through the hardcover and then the softcover releases knowing that it would eventually get the Absolute treatment. So my long wait didn't have much of a payoff.
I would love to be able to give Amazon 5 stars on the service involved in getting this book. The copy I received had pages stuck together during the printing and binding process. Subsequently I damaged the book prying the pages apart. Amazon sent me a new copy that had the same issue. Needless to say Amazon did right by the second copy too. Kudos to the folks at Amazon and their great return policies.