Art by: Paul Pelletier and Jeromy Cox
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 9, 2015
War is Hell/Hell is War
After the first two issues of post Convergence Justice League United, I was a bit confused, but cautiously optimistic about the book going forward. While I'm worried that the rotating rosters will cause the book problems at retail, I am warming up to the idea that this book might just be the most important one in the DC You. If DC is going to do a "Meat and Potatoes" reboot, this is the book to get the party started. Gather some characters, fix some anomalies and wango tango...reboot. Speaking of gathering characters, this is one hell of a gathering of characters. Batgirl, Steel, Vandal Savage, Robotman and a couple of surprises are such a great team that I couldn't wait for this issue the minute this team was announced. So, did the great team equal a great issue? Let's ind out...
The issue opens in 1940 France and history be damned, it's so awesome to see Sgt. Rock! Him and Easy Company are clearing Arracourt (four years too early?) before the damn Krauts show up and Rock heads into a bar and finds a quiet man having a quiet drink. While Rock tries to get the man to care about the impending invasion, the man just lifts a glass and talks about recurring and transient nature of war. Of course, that man is Vandal Savage and he is awesome. After the Germans leave the two alone (for reasons that Rock considers treason), the burly G.I. tells Savage that if they ever meet on the battlefield again, it's curtains for the immortal tyrant.
Boy, what a great opener. Instead of giving us another origin story, Jeff Parker throws the reader into a war zone and lets us see the characters by their actions...or inactions. While I loved seeing Sgt. Rock right off the bat, Vandal Savage stole the show with ease.
We then get more Vandal in the present day as Animal Man "recruits" him to the cause. It's very brief, but again, Jeff Parker packs so much characterization in a couple of panels. Then it's off to visit the rest of the team in the Zeta Beam.
Before moving on with the story at hand, Jeff Parker gives a clear, concise explanation of what this book has become since Convergence and I am so glad. Sure, we got hints of it the last two issues, but this spells it out and lays it right there in front of you. I not only fully grasp what is going on, but am also falling in love with it and all it's possibilities. With everything in order, the team (lead by Stargirl) heads off on their mission and it's in familiar territory...Arracourt, France.
Arracourt is a great setting and Jeff Parker turns it into a war that time forgot scenario. The anomaly is causing multiple time periods to wage war at the same time in the same place and it's such a cool idea. You get WWI, WW II and WW hasn't happened yet troops battling it out and it's up to the team to end it. Of course it's easier said than done.
The dialogue is a highlight in this issue and Jeff Parker certainly knows these characters. He gives readers some snappy back and forth between Batgirl and Stargirl while Vandal Savage just sits back and watches. Fans of the Doom Patrol will no doubt love seeing Robotman and while he is great here, he is out of commision a little too early to really kick ass. Hopefully, he'll recharge by next issue. The issue ends with Stargirl making a really bad decision and getting taken by another great character that was such a pleasant surprise and Sgt Rock showing up and keeping his earlier promise.
I don't know if it was the allure of the awesome team, the better explanation of the overall story or the alternate history vibe of this issue, but I loved this issue. Actually, let's just say it was all of those and Jeff Parker's excellent dialogue and characterizations that kicked ass this month.
Paul Pelletier's art also puts a foot squarely up ones buttocks. Him and colorist Jeromy Cox bring the out of time war to life, but it's the excellent character work that wins the day. Sgt. Rock and the airel guest star were the highlights for me.
Bits and Pieces:
I had so much fun reading this issue and I can't wait for next month already. Anyone who loves history (especially DC Comic history) will surely love what Jeff Parker is dishing out. The combination of story and art make this book easy to recommend, so I will. Highly Recommended.