By: Rennie Cowan
Beware of the Signal Men! It’s here, JLI #2 and it’s literally the JLI vs. giant robots. I love it, the Signal Men sounds like a classic silver age comic book. Excuse me while I become a bit giddy for a moment. Last issue we watched as the JLI were helplessly scattered when a very big mechanical adversary popped out of the ground. Peru turned into ground zero. For those who loved the pre-52 Booster Gold line of comics, this front cover of Justice League International #2 is Dan Jurgens all the way; thanks to Aaron Lopresti’s fabulous cover art! On the cover we see Booster as a superhero with balls – excuse my graphic detail there. However, the story doesn’t quite unfold that way.
No, the cover puts the story to shame. Batman is on the ground, so is guy Garner – but Booster – he’s kicking butt? And yet, didn’t Guy Gardner take off in issue #1? He did, and we find him in a bar, boozing it up. Put it on his tab, Beau. The cover doesn’t quite reflect the story once you turn the page, but it’s a good attention grabber. So I’ll give the guys working on JLI that much credit.
Ok, so this issue starts off like the classic Science Fiction movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. That, in itself, is not very original, but it is a thoughtful homage to a classic, well-known movie; and no not the one starring Keanu Reeves. As one who personally loves robots, this opener is in the right place – where the action is. Secondly, to be more specific, as a person who loves Isaac Asimov’s robots, I don’t mind battles with robots. So we got two good things going on here (so far). We have the homage to The Day the Earth Stood Still and a nod to Isaac Asimov. Job well-done Guys and the praise ends there.
As a loyal reader of the former Booster Gold series, this issue fails to depict Booster’s usual upbeat humor and despite his first issue announcement of “Never fear! Booster Gold is here!” … Booster is afraid and he actually backs down like a boy who has just been whipped. Did Dan Jurgens forget to drink his coffee or something? Booster Gold fans will be disappointed. Secondly, Godiva is as dumb as ever; it is obvious that she is there for comic relief, but please, Jurgens can do better – he makes this super-powered British girl look so clueless and stereotypical that you wonder why she is even a superhero, let alone a member of the JLI. You wish the robot would have blasted her to Mars.
Tora (Ice) nearly dies and Booster backs out while Godiva is busy flirting with Booster Gold. Love is in the air; in fact, Godiva has some interest in Booster’s tights. Though she is disappointed because she thought being a member of the JLI would be “a good time”. It makes you wonder if she is worthy of being called a JLI member at all. And can the JLI series succeed with such a bizarre romance soon to be kindled?
The robot appears to be in Peru for a purpose, and the JLI are mere bugs to be swatted. The robot lets out a wave of strong laser blast, literally ripping a hole into the surface ground. If the JLI didn’t want Booster Gold’s leadership skills in issue #1, they helplessly turn to him now. Even Batman is a submissive follower. Slightly stuttering, Booster initiates Evac Plan Delta 33. In short, he commands the JLI to jump ship. When they arrive back to Washington, D.C., The Hall of Justice is in utter ruins. In fact, it has burnt down. And here comes Guy Gardner to rub Booster’s defeat in his face.
If one robot wasn’t bad enough, watch out planet Earth, because there are more of them; count them four on every corner of the Earth. At least by this point, the stakes are high. Batman acts as the brain figure on this one, figuring out that the robots have a big plan. Then we are taken far beyond the edge of the Earth’s solar system … to what looks like Predator’s starship helmed with skulls as trophies. When I say Predator, I do mean as in Aliens vs. Predator (more original material). And then it emerges, the moment of truth – the giant-like Galactus (as in, Galactus from Marvel Comics).
This Galactus-like character emerges from his sleep, or so it appears. To a degree, jumping the story to deep space is much like Justice League indeed. Inside, the spaceship is filled with cryptic skulls that is a bit on the scary side; score DC – this could be a villain even more powerful than the robots, even if inspired by other villains we have seen before.
JLI #2 is action-packed to be sure, but Booster Gold has been powered down and we can only hope that the JLI gets more organized to defend the Earth. These are the guys that the U.N. is counting on? I’m not quite sure if the new JLI stands up to its former self. However, Jurgens is at least showing the human side of the JLI; win or lose, they will have to fight or die. So while JLI #2 wasn’t horrible it still isn’t there yet. But we’ll see how this title develops; it could get interesting.
Overall Grade: 6.99999/10. (Yes, I added five .9’s because it barely missed a seven, by the skin of its teeth.)