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52 Catch Up: Justice League International

JLI with Review52 Catch Up is a series devoted to looking at issues from DC’s New 52 and seeing how they’re faring now that they’re underway, why they’re worth reading (or not), and places we hope they will go in time.




Unable to control the Justice League, the United Nations forms its own team of superheroes including Booster Gold, Guy Gardener, Vixen, Fire, Ice, Godiva, Rocket Red, and August General in Iron to serve as their superhuman defense force.









Previously on Justice League International: Covering Issues #1-#11

The Signal Masters (#1-#5)


Andre Briggs and Emerson Esposito form an international team of superheroes under the command of the United Nations.  Briggs and Esposito select fame-hungry Booster Gold to be the team’s leader, the Green Lantern Guy Gardener, Rocket Red from Russia, Godiva from the U.K., Vixen from Africa, Fire from Brazil, Ice from Norway, and August General in Iron from China. This new team is to be based out of the Hall of Justice now that the Justice League has been kicked out, but this action starts a protest about how the Hall really belongs to the people.  Inside, the team meets one another for the first time, and Booster is introduced as the team’s leader.  Refusing to trust Booster’s leadership, Guy Gardener leaves.  Briggs provides the team with their first mission, to investigate a missing research team in Peru.  The team boards the jet provided to them and finds Batman is coming along for the ride.

Upon leaving, a group of protestors burns down the Hall of Justice. Briggs and Esposito begin to panic about the PR nightmare.  In Peru, the team investigates a huge hole in the Earth and then are attacked by rock and mud creatures before a giant robot bursts from the opening.  The team attacks the robot but does so poorly, not being accustomed to one another’s abilities.  When Ice is hit badly, Booster orders a retreat. Seeing the SNAFU on television and, more importantly, that Ice was injured, spurs Guy into rejoining the team.  The team regroups and learns there are four of these giants across the globe and all have begun to fire some sort of energy beam into the sky.  Batman and Booster return to the robot in Peru where Booster provides a distraction, while Batman sneaks into the chamber the giant came out of and begins to investigate.  Ice and Rocket Red do the same thing in Russia, Vixen and Fire in South Africa, and Godiva and August General in Canada.  Batman tries to activate the computer he locates, but more of the rock and mud creatures appear.  The team fights but is captured in all locations.

Meanwhile, Guy follows the energy fired by the giants to space where they lead him to a spaceship.  Guy breaks aboard and is knocked unconscious.  He comes to a while later and encounters a being called Peraxxus, which intends to destroy the Earth so he can harvest it for ores, bacteria, and any other potentially valuable resources.  Guy attempts to take down Peraxxus by himself but is beaten badly and teleported down to the Peru chamber with Peraxxus.  Peraxxus then teleports the rest of the team there for gloating and monologue purposes.  Meanwhile, the U.N. Plans a nuclear strike since there has been no contact with the Justice League International. Godiva, whose power is prehensile hair, uses her ability to retrieve a gadget off Batman’s belt and free them from their mud restraints, but Peraxxus teleports back to his ship before the team can take him down.  The giants start to enter the final phase and set off an explosion around themselves as they begin to rip the planet apart.  Booster’s force field saves the team from the explosion and Guy uses his power ring to move them to safety.  Meanwhile, the U.N. launches nukes at Peraxxus’ ship, but they have no effect.  The team boards their jet and Guy launches them into space, but the jet is also shot down.  Fortunately, Booster thought ahead and hollowed out a giant rock and placed it aboard the ship with the team inside.  The rock was jettisoned right before the jet was destroyed and was carried towards the ship.  Guy maneuvers them inside.  While Batman and Red Rocket try to find a way to take over the ship, the rest of the team fights Peraxxus with little organization.  Uncertain of her own abilities, Godiva hangs back but does charge in and save Booster’s life at the critical moment.  Red finally takes over the ship and Peraxxus flees.  The ship starts to enter a nose dive Red can’t pull out of, so he heads straight for one of the giants and crashes into it, destroying it and the ship, and scattering debris everywhere.  Briggs is extremely unhappy with the JLI, but the team considers it a win because they went up against an apocalyptic force and won.

Attack on the U.N. (#6-Ongoing)

Batman and Booster Gold track down the Hall of Justice bombers and apprehend them.  The bombers had another bomb ready to go off, but Booster is able to contain the blast in a force field.  There is talk of the U.N. disbanding the JLI, but Batman suggests that Booster continue the JLI even if the U.N. doesn’t.  In the city, August General and Godiva grab a hot dog together and chat about their previous mission, including Godiva’s hesitation during the fight with Peraxxus.  Another group of bombers attacks them.  August General stops their van with a punch and Godiva manages to disarm the bomb using her hair.  Meanwhile, Booster, Fire, and Vixen plead their case to keep the JLI to the U.N. The U.N. isn’t happy with the team’s performance, but Booster gives a passionate speech about those circumstances and what they managed to accomplish in spite of it all.  The U.N. agrees.

The U.N. holds an official ceremony to introduce the Justice League International to the world but within seconds of the team walking on stage, it explodes. Guy and Booster’s shields save them but several members of the team are badly injured, including Vixen, Fire, and Ice, and Rocket Red was killed along with Esposito and Briggs.  Batman helps Guy and Booster look for the others, but the team is attacked by energy constructions among the debris.  The team gets the wounded to a hospital, and Booster is given an official disband order by the U.N.  He heads outside for some air and is attacked by the creator of the light constructions, called Lightweaver.  The Batman, Inc. member Batwing was visiting fellow African hero Vixen when he heard she was in the hospital. He spots the fight starting outside, gears up, and rushes to Booster’s aid.  Lightweaver knocks Batwing out of the air and uses the opportunity to escape while Booster saves Batwing.

Meanwhile, the police are following up on the U.N. bombing and find Roland Norcutt, who claims full responsibility for the attack.  Norcutt, aka Breakdown, also happens to possess the ability to decay matter, including people, instantaneously.  Breakdown meets with fellow conspirators Lightweaver, Intersek, and Crosscut. Godiva, Guy, and August General leave the hospital fearing their presence will encourage more attacks and are attacked outside by the human-turned-alien OMAC.  OMAC is looking for Batman and abandons the others quickly.  When he finds Batman, Guy flies up and continues attacking OMAC.  Batwing drops a bomb at their feet, sending both of them into the sewers, which seems to calm OMAC down.  Booster picks up a similar attack happening in Paris and convinces the team, including Batman, Batwing, and OMAC, to join them.  There they find three agents of Firestorm and presumably they fight or something in Fury of Firestorm #9, which is not otherwise relevant to this story.

After the encounter with Firestorm, the team heads back to New York and stops by the hospital.  Ice is still bad off and Vixen’s spine is so damaged she may be paralyzed for life.  Booster locates Breakdown’s hideout, and the team charges in.  Teleporter Crosscut is taken down easily while Breakdown and Lightweaver hold their own.  The entire team underestimates Intersek, whose ability is to control machines.  She takes control of Booster’s blasters and Guy’s power ring and has them take down the rest of their teammates before each other.  The JLI wakes up in a cage of light to Breakdown giving a speech to a crowd.  He starts to break apart August General as an example.  Guy starts to insult OMAC, making the blue giant angrier and angrier until he uses brute force to rip apart their light restraints and start attacking everyone in sight. Before she can turn her powers on them, Batwing slams into Intersek and Godiva follows up, keeping her down.  With Intersek down, Guy is free to use his ring again and enters into a construct battle with Lightweaver.  Their fight is cut short when the military joins in and a stray tank shell hits Lightweaver, killing him.  Booster distracts Breakdown and August General rips him apart.  OMAC continues to rage until Booster calms him down by reminding him of his humanity.  As the team departs, Lightweaver’s brother, Malcolm, finds him and promises to avenge his brother.

High Points

Characters: The characters in JLI are entertaining and deeper then they first appear. This series takes the time to look into characters’ faults like Booster and Godiva’s insecurities, August General and OMAC’s desire to be human again, and Guy Gardener’s anger and inability to let go of Ice.  Jurgens does a great job of using the other characters for this exploration and development.  Booster and Guy are great foils for one another, and while I wasn’t a fan of either of them to start, I’d like to see more of them now.  The same goes for Godiva and August General who grew on me, mostly due to their interactions with one another.

Division of Labor: It’s difficult to give everyone in a team book their time in the spotlight, but Dan Jurgens does it. While there are several characters I’d like to have gotten to know better, they each serve their roles and I can rattle off the names of the entire team.  Jurgens did an excellent job of giving everyone something to do, either by splitting the party or through circumstance.  More than that, Jurgens gives each character their chance to air their issues and grow towards overcoming them, which goes a long way to making the characters feel human and makes them the highlight of the series.

Low Points

Changing Team: While the reasons for the change are clear, for a title with only 12 issues having half the team switch out halfway through doesn’t give a lot of time with the characters.  I really wish there had been more time to get to know Fire, Ice, Vixen, and Rocket Red (and what’s up with over half the women on the team being taken out?). Of the new members, Batwing was an intriguing addition and one I would have been happy to replace Batman.  While I wasn’t a fan of OMAC from his own title or his appearance in Frankenstein, here he works pretty well as a Hulk-like figure.

Batman: I have no problems with Batman’s portrayal in JLI, I’m just really sick of seeing him pop up in every New 52 book.  What made this more frustrating was Batman took away time from these other characters I really wanted to see more of.  If not for the cancellation, I’d have high hopes of Batwing taking Batman’s place, which would give the team the same sort of feel but give another character some more screen time instead of Batman being in yet another book.

Ending Too Soon: By Issue #11, Justice League International feels like it’s just getting its feet under it, but, instead, it is ending far too soon. Jurgens demonstrated that there are plenty of great stories to be told with Booster Gold, August General in Iron, Guy Gardener, Godiva, and the other heroes.  Two arcs simply aren’t enough.

Looking Ahead

Issue #12 & Justice League Annual: One more issue. It’s sad to think that’s all that’s left for these characters.  With the action wrapped up besides Lightweaver’s brother, this issue is going to be a somber one; however, there will still be the opportunity to wrap up JLI and see where the characters are going to go next if not in Issue #12 then in the Justice League International annual issue.

Character Development: The top reason why I want this book to continue is to give the characters more time to become a team, develop friendships, and overcome their own personal faults.  While Justice League International is ending, I hope the characters will find places in some of the other titles where they can be given the attention they deserve.





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