Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Retro Review: Total Justice #1


Whenever there is a movie, cartoon, or even toy line based on a comic, it seems the natural urge on the part of these companies is to make a comic based on that cartoon, movie, toy, whatever. The most extreme example of this I've ever seen was in 2009 when Marvel released its Super Hero Squad comic, a comic book based on a cartoon based on a toy line based on a comic book. On the one hand these tie in comics exist to make money, as ultimately all comic books, indeed all media does. But these comic books also supposedly exist with the hope of turning kids interested in said cartoon or toys into comic book fans. And so we had Total Justice, based on the Kenner toy line of the same name.

The story is that Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) and Flash (Wally West) are investigating a distress signal from a deserted island. When they get to the island they find they both lose their powers. Meanwhile Tim Drake, AKA Robin is sailing with his dad near this island when the boat is attacked by a Parademon, one of Darksieds stormtroopers. Tim manages to kill it by stabbing it with a pen. Yes, a pen. In the chaos though Tim's father has ended up missing. Aquaman shows up on the island and he still has his powers. He tells Flash and Green Lantern to stay put while he recons the perimeter of the island. Then we cut to a group of JLAers planning on heading to this island with it's mysterious nullification field. Batman tells them how stupid that would be since any of them could lose their powers when they get there. But back to the island and a powerless Flash and GL are attacked by a Parademon which Tim Drake in a very shitty makeshift Robin costume saves them from. And that's about it.

OK where to begin? Well the writing is kinda bad. Not awful but not good. The dialogue is especially bad. This is from the time when Wally West really hated Kyle Rayner. When approaching the island Kyle says this better be good he's missing Baywatch to which we get Wally's narration of "Baywatch--Slow Death. This new 'Lemon Scented' GL--Painfully Slow Death" Wow. Wally West narrating like he's in a poor man's version of Sin City-----Excruciatingly painfully slow death. Also the art is pretty, well I guess sloppy is the best way I can describe it. Take a look at this panel.


See what I mean. And look at Superman's Rastafarian hair cut there. Also interesting side note the woman dressed in purple sitting down and the guy nest to her, that's an in-continuity post crisis version of the Wonder Twins from SuperFriends. Yeah. That existed.

So do you think any kids who bought the toy line and then picked up this comic book actually became a comic book fan as a result? We had Flash and Green Lantern devoid of powers and Robin devoid of costume. Did this really showcase to new readers why these characters are cool? I don't think so. As I said it's a natural urge to make these tie-in comics but it's one that should probably be ignored. If the movies, toys, cartoons etc are well made and kids want to get into comics they will probably just buy some Batman, Superman, or JLA comics. I really never thought we needed these 'bridges'. But maybe that's just me.

Oh and in case you were wondering, here is Robin's makeshift desert island costume:

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