I know that when a book's cancellation is announced, people suddenly avoid it like a hair metal band in the early 90's which always confuses me. Why, if you've been following a book during it's entire run, would you not want to see how it ends? Luckily for somebody out there, I'm not like that. Nope, I stick it out to the bitter end. I want to see if Adam Strange's band(s) of misfits can fix the anomalies in the Zeta Beam and bring peace and stability to the world. If I was the sort of guy who jumped ship, I would never know how good it was...and I am talking about Cinderella's 1994 album, "Still Climbing". What, you came here to read a review of JLU #14? Okay, let's get on with it then.
If you have forgotten since last month, this version of the Justice League (Batgirl, Vandal Savage, Steel, Robotman and Stargirl) are in Anacourt, France..."a town unlocked in time". What the hell does that mean? It means that everyone in that little French village is stuck fighting the same war over and over and over... It also means an issue full of all-out action and what feels like every battle field character that Jeff Parker can throw at the reader.
The issue opens with Stargirl's staff planted right through a G.I. I would be worried for the soldier, but when someone yells out that the guy in questions name is Jared, I knew right away what kind of G.I. this guy was. Yep. G.I. Zombie is in town with what appears to be eternity to kill.
We then catch up with Steel and
We then head off to Vandal Savage who was captured by Sgt. Rock last issue. Rock has to remind Easy Company how they deal with P.O.W.s and the bunch of them end up in the cafe that started their story off. Sgt. Rock doesn't seem as angry this time around, he just wants answers. However, before much can transpire, Batgirl shows up with a smoke grenade and our two heroes escape.
I just want to pause here a second to explain something. It may seem that I am rushing through things in a race to finish this review and while I don't want to spoil everything (who am I, Eric?), this is mainly because of the pace that Jeff Parker writes this issue. Things move along at a breakneck speed and while it may be to keep the tension up, I actually think it's because of something else. More on that in a little bit.
The next stop is seeing that Stargirl is in fact, alive and well and in the company of the Enemy Ace, Hans Von Hammer. They don't do much in this issue, which is a shame because I really like their interaction with one another. Hopefully, Jeff Parker mines the comedy gold from the sassy young American girl dealing with the stoic, noble German ace, but we'll have to wait and see.
While all this is going on, we also get the (not so) surprise appearance of the Creature Commandos and the (not surprising) revelation that G.I. Zombie indeed has Stargirl's staff. It's a battle royal for the staff and although Steel and Robotman win the prize, the issue ends with them getting shot with those lasers...again. They can't catch a break and the reader can't catch his or her breathe because Jeff Parker shows us their attacker and it's yet another crazy character. Boy, Anacourt is a crowded place!
I love getting a lot of bang for my buck, but the amount of characters in this issue borders on insanity. The problem is, that with this many combatants, Jeff Parker has to switch back and forth so much that you never get much story development. This issue really boiled down to the battle for Stargirl's staff instead of figuring out much about the breaker they're trying to fix. That is what they are there for, right? I can't say this is all setup and it's a little more than filler, but it really doesn't give the reader much. Like the characters themselves, it seems like this issue is stuck in time.
I did like Paul Pelletier's art, but even he seemed to have problems dealing with the chaos going on. His character work was excellent, especially with the amount of characters he had to draw, but some of the more intense scenes were confusing and jumbled.
Bits and Pieces:
It seems that I am one of the few people who have enjoyed this book since it's DC You switch, but this issue may be a case of too much of a good thing. Jeff Parker goes out of his way to throw a ton of characters at the reader and while they are some of the coolest in DC history, the story suffers. In fact, we really don't get much of a story as we fly from scene to scene and explosion to explosion. I enjoyed Paul Pelletier's art, but even he seemed to struggle to keep up with the chaos. All in all, this was an okay issue that might be crumbling under it's own weight. Still, I will be sticking it out until the end and am interested to see how Parker wraps it all up.