I struggled to come up with something to say about this comic.
Usually while I’m reading, ideas will form for what my blog post will be about. I’ll take photos of specific panels to use in my discussion, and a general outline will be shaped in my mind. Even if I don’t know exactly what I’m going to say, I know what I want to write about.
For some reason, I’m drawing a blank with this comic. Had it been exceptionally good or bad there would have been plenty to discuss. Had there been a massive upheaval within the story, I would have had a wealth of analysis to draw from. Those key aspects are simply lacking from this comic.
This is the 6th volume in the Justice League International collection, and truth be told, it’s much of the same story that was found in the previous five trades. That’s not to say it’s stale; I still found myself laughing out loud at certain jokes. It’s simply that the concept no longer feels new or fresh. The previous collection introduced Justice League Europe, a branch that I found somewhat underwhelming. Even with a “crossover” within these pages, there just wasn’t anything that jumped out at me.
Perhaps it’s because I’m fresh off of such a well-written and in-depth comic as Grant Morrison’s Animal Man. Perhaps I’m just a little burnt out from reading and writing about so many comics lately. I’m not really sure. There was just something blocking me from coming up with anything to write about this trade.
Good old writer’s block. It was bound to rear its ugly head eventually.
Were someone to ask me to describe the comics in this collection, I would simply say this: entertaining, but maintaining the status quo. All of the characters continue on in the same vein as before, with their individual personalities pretty much set. While they’re entertaining, there’s not a whole lot of change. I liken this to a sitcom that’s been on just one season too long, with writers who know their characters are loved but don’t really know where to take them long-term. I enjoy reading about Booster and Beetle acting like children, or Batman skulking in the background judging everyone, but at some point the characters need to evolve. Maybe these major changes are saved for their respective individual comics. Whatever the case may be, there simply isn’t enough here at this point in the story to keep me clawing for more.
Booster and Beetle hatch some hair-brained scheme to earn money? How many times has that been done? Batman disapproves of…well, just about everything? What else is new?
I don’t mean to hate on the comic, because I do genuinely enjoy this series. Perhaps I’m only feeling this way because I’m reading so many of these stories in a condensed amount of time. Comics that were meant to be read over years, I’m reading in weeks. It’s certainly going to affect how a story is perceived, and perhaps therein lies one flaw with working my way through the DC universe in this manner. Granted, the alternative is to read one trade from each series per month, at which point I would never catch up. Reading “the shelf” in this way is the only viable option, and yet it does make me think more critically about how my opinions of the stories can differ from someone who is reading the comics over a greater amount of time.
Somehow I managed to drone on and on about not having anything to say about this comic. Go figure. If I remember correctly, this is the last JLI trade on “the shelf” according to Mistah J. It’s not the end of the series, they simply haven’t published the remaining issues in trade format yet. While I still want to know what happens to the characters, and will excitedly read the next collection once it’s released, I think it’s good that I’m getting a little break from my JLI friends.