Monday, June 29, 2015
Justice League: The Grid (comics)
Artists: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, small bits by other assorted artists
Collects: Justice League #18-20, 22-23
The upward arc in overall quality continues for Justice League, but unfortunately the collection itself kind of pisses me off.
Regarding the story, in itself there's nothing wrong with the Grid. There's a fair amount to keep you interested, including the League opening its doors to new members for the first time since the unseen conflict with the Martian Manhunter. Despero shows up. There's some mystery over who broke into the Batcave and some obvious subterfuge going down behind the scenes. Plus, we revisit the old "Batman has a plan for everyone" chestnut, though this time Batman not only comes clean before anything happens, but everyone is far more reasonable about the whole thing.
This book also has a few... Heartwarming Batman Moments, I think we'll call them. I've noted before that while I'm fine with dark Batman stories, the old Batdickery bit had gone way too far, especially prior to the New 52. It's a problem similar to what we see with Iron Man over at Marvel, only not quite as severe; the writers take their behavior so far it's amazing anyone will put up with or work with them ever again.
As such, I enjoy bits that focus on their humanity and ability to get along with others, even in a small way. Here, Batman stops Jason Todd from beating himself up with a hand on the shoulder and a "I'm just glad you're okay". In another scene, he rationally discusses the at-the-time secret relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman, as well as the impact they have on how the League is percieved, without the theatrics or yelling you might usually see in a scene like this. Later, in private, Batman affirms that Superman is his friend and offers a briefcase with plans to deal with him, should the need ever arise. It shows the characters usual forward thinking while also showing a humility he simply did not have in the pre-Flashpoint version of this plot point, Tower of Babel. There, while technically correct in his thinking, there was an undeniable bit of arrogance to Batmans plan, seemingly suggesting that he was the only one there who was infallible.
Showing that the heroes are actually friends within the comic itself? That's something I wanted since volume one. I cannot dislike that. I'm not a rock. Throw in more Ivan Reis art and yeah, I'd say I'm pretty well on board with Justice League again.
Sadly, as I noted at the start, the praise had to end eventually. I didn't go into the story too much because, frankly, there isn't much to get into. You probably noticed the little "collects" bit there, right? Five issues. Issue twenty one is skipped because it's the full issue conclusion of the Shazam story that had been running in the singles as a backup and is, I assume, collected in the trade of that material. Of what we have, only three of the five issues are a coherent story exclusive to this volume.
The other two? Chapters of Trinity War, also collected in the Trinity War trade. You'll recall Justice League of America pulled this as well, but the difference here is that book had five issues of exclusive material. That's fairly reasonable for a volume. The Grid, however, has three. The Trinity War chapters are the bookends of the event and fairly incomprehensible without everything in between.
Whether it's intended or not, it feels like being fleeced. This volume, after all, has a suggested retail price of seventeen dollars for the paperback. I realize they were kind of put in a hard place here, but is there any reason they couldn't have collected the three issues as a small, nine dollar collection? It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. What other reason is there except that extra seven dollars a copy?
I'm enjoying Justice League now, but I don't enjoy feeling like I'm being bilked for extra cash and the score reflects that.
My Opinion: Try It