Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Justice #12 (August, 2007)

The Atom was set to shrink Gorilla Grodd to nothingness if he tried anything funny after he was given back the exhausted yellow power ring that had previously been unlocked for his use by Sinestro. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor had its power battery shrunken and hidden in a pouch on his person as a failsafe from Brainiac. The Tiny Titan shouted "finally" as he restored the battery to useful dimensions. While the Martian Manhunter worked with the villains to stop nuclear missiles from incinerating the planet, the Atom was more concerned with water. Solomon Grundy had punched out an exterior wall of the city-sphere, which was submerged, so the whole "town" was rapidly flooding.

In Scarecrow's city, Red Tornado blew fear gas away from the citizenry, then determined that Brainiac had escaped by shifting his "primary program to another body." Zatanna teleported Superman and Red to the Toyman factory the Hawks had destroyed, where they found Brainiac's consciousness temporarily resided. Brainiac explained that he was trying to recreate Colu by turning humans into nanite-infested automatons, then disappeared to another location. Tornado had an internal monologue about the limitations of Zatanna's powers, which made no sense in context, since the creators had to give Red a cybernetic tracking connection-amabob to Brainiac for him to have any story mileage. Meanwhile, Zee was providing transportation across all the literal mileage covered (and Zee also seemed to track Brainiac independent of Red, so so much for that.) At other locations, Brainiac tried to convince RT to turn on the humans, like a dime store Ultron talking down to the Vision.

"Chapter Twelve" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite. Justice was kind of a modern deconstruction of an old cartoon, but it doesn't stand up very well to deconstruction its own self. The Atom had a fairly large role in the story, including a spotlight issue, but his arc consists of getting hurt, worrying his wife, fighting a Wonder Woman foe, saving his wife, and carrying the weight of science stuff for the heroes. "Love and protect your (psycho bitch adulteress) wife." That's deep, yo. Red Tornado served the Red Tornado role of getting violently torn to pieces to establish a threat against his team and then serving a minor, dubious role in evil's defeat. Red got to have a weird forced relationship with a Superman villain who was doing the same thing with Aquaman on the DL, and he got to hold Brainiac's ship after it had already been shrunk and frozen. It's the costumed equivalent of holding your girlfriend's purse at the mall. This comic was basically watching someone else play with action figures. The bad guys attack, and the good guys retaliate. It's stupefyingly simplistic, but hey, painted Atom in an important role. Yay.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:

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