Art by: Mathew Dow Smith and Jordie Bellaire
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: July 3, 2015
I have to admit it, I've never read and/or reviewed a "daily" comic. The reading part is easy, I just sit back, kick up my feet and enjoy the ride. The review part is a little more tricky. I'm not exactly a wordsmith, so coming up with something to say in these introduction paragraphs gets harder as each day passes. Sure, I could tell you how much I've loved the first two issues of Justice League: Gods and Monsters - Batman. I could tell you that J.M. DeMatteis is giving readers a dark, mature elseworlds story that is as much a horror comic as anything I've read in years. I could even mention that Matthew Dow Smith's moody art would fit right alongside such books as American Vampire and the Walking Dead. Knowing myself, I'd probably end with something like, "The first two issues have been such a pleasurable surprise that even though I only had to wait a day for this finale, It felt like forever." However, I won't bore you with my ramblings...let's just get to the review.
For the uninitiated, Justice League: Gods and Monsters is the prequel comic to the DC Comics original animated movie coming out on July 28, 2015. There will be four arcs: origin stories for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and then a Justice League story with all three. The world they live in is dark and brutal and as an alternate take on these heroes, things are quite different. Batman, for instance, is Kirk Langstrom who has turned himself into a vampire in an attempt to cure his cancer. He feeds off criminals as much to satisfy his hunger than to seek justice. This issue is the finale to his origin story and if you haven't, I suggest you read the first two before venturing onward.
Okay, now that you are up to speed, last issue ended with one of those horror movie cliches...a zombie hand punching it's way out of the ground. That would have been cool enough, but whose hand it was made it even better. Yes, it was Joe Chill and this issue opens up with two pages that could have been the beginning of one of those zombie movies that scare the crap out of me.
While Chill shuffles and moans into the night, Kirk is keeping himself busy by playing chess with Jeremy Moxon. Yes, the son of the Crime Boss that Kirk killed (murdered? Feed?) last issue. The whole scene felt a bit rushed, but it was a quick means to an end for Kirk to tell Jeremy his "secret". Well, most of it. After a nice little "guys working together" montage, the unthinkable happens, they find Jeremy's mother murdered. Up until now, the issue was focusing on calming the monster inside of Kirk, but that's put on hold as he heads off for vengeance!
What follows is a trail of bloody bodies that lead to, you guessed it, Joe Chill. While it seems a little rushed to have Zombie Chill already a huge Crime Lord, I'll go with it for story and times sake. It also leads to the best action in this whole arc. Chill is faster and stronger than Kirk and seems to be having fun displaying just that. I won't spoil the best parts, but if you are a fan of horror (and blood), you will love this scene.
The issue ends with Kirk returning to Jeremy to tell him the deed is done. We get an explanation of Joe Chill's condition, but more importantly, Kirk confronts Jeremy on a couple of things. Their relationship has been based on half-truths and outright lies and it comes to a head here. I have to admit, I was confused by what happens at the end of the comic, but one thing is sure, Kirk is in a very dark place as the issue closes.
I'll tell you right off the bat, this was my least favorite issue of this three part story. It's not bad by any stretch, but after the buildup, it just felt rushed. This issue was all about the relationship between Kirk and Jeremy, but J.M. DeMatteis hadn't shown us enough leading into this issue to make it matter the way it should. As a whole, the start of the Gods and Monsters story was great, it just ended on a bit of a down note.
There was nothing down about Matthew Dow Smith's art, however. It not only fit the story to a tee, but set the mood and tone from the first page of the series. I was pleasantly surprised by a bunch of things in this series so far, but none so much as Smith's art.
Bits and Pieces:
Please don't get me wrong, I liked this issue and loved this three part story as a whole. After the first two issues, my expectations were pretty high so maybe it was a case of the old breakup cliche, "It's not you, it's me." "You" being this issue, "Me" being a dumb comic lover who wants everything his way. It may have felt a bit rushed at times, but J.M. DeMatteis finishes his character study of a dark and broken "hero" and I can't wait to see how he fits in with the rest of the Justice League.