Released in the throws of DC’s Forever Evil event where all the Justice League teams have been temporarily deposed, Justice League 3000 #1 is one strangely timed issue. It’s also incredibly divisive. You’ll either love the turn that writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis take in a Justice League title seemingly separate from the current state of DC affairs, or the idea that this Justice League isn’t really the Justice League is going to stick in your craw. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash are all here, but these aren’t the characters acting like themselves, and it’s profoundly jarring. Moreover, the book doesn’t look nearly as slick as its futuristic setting would suggest and is downright messy more often than not.
You wouldn’t even know this is a Justice League book until several pages in when the team is introduced, and the contents of Giffen and DeMatteis’s high-concept script is given in vague details. We know it’s the 31st century and through the narration of a character named Ariel Masters, we know that the 31th century is not all that great of a place to live in. There’s a hefty amount of exposition having to do with a planet called Cadmusworld, a rebellious faction known as The Convert, and of course, the ever-present Justice League, who seem to be under the control of The Wonder Twins, Teri and Terry. And that’s just the first few pages. I’ll let the secret of this new Justice League’s formation remain a secret though it’s this book’s strongest idea. Giffen and DeMatteis have a lot plotted out for a first issue and wading through it all is a bit of an endurance test; it doesn’t help matters that Batman’s cursing and Superman is being a real prick. Yet the characters in the book know that they’re not being themselves, so I just don’t know what to make of it all just yet.
Another aspect of the issue I can’t make heads or tails of is the art from Howard Porter. Porter stepped up to fill-in for original artist Kevin Maguire following his firing from the title prior to its release, and his contributions to this first issue are scattershot. His characters are often jagged and carry an overall haggard look to them, especially Wonder Woman. Oh, Porter’s Wonder Woman is a true eyesore on this issue, and when Superman stops to call her “gorgeous,” it puts more attention how rough she looks. To his credit, however, Porter’s definitive style gives Justice League 3000 a look unlike any other DC book on the stands right now, and the fact that he fills the entirety of each page with his images gives a certain sense of getting your money’s worth. It’s not enough to lend credence to a fourth Justice League book being on the stands, though, not yet.
GNN Comics Grade: GOOD (6/10)