Thursday, July 31, 2014

W2 and Eyz talk: Justice League; Generation Lost.

Hi, this is Waezi2, and I am so lucky that I have Eyz, fellow internet critic and also a pretty damn good artist, with me here today to talk about the comic-book series "Justice League; Generation Lost." Hey, Eyz!

Hello Wa'! Can I call you just "Wa'"? Okay, I'll stop. Thanks for having me here today!
I review all kinds of stuff on my blog "G33K Life" at

So let's have a look at this series. For those of you who doesn't know the series, here is a brief synopsis:

Max Lord, once the heart of Justice League International, is on a mission to get control over all the superheroes he once believed in. He knows that this is impossible, since ALL the super-humans are after him, and therefore pulls possibly the greatest trick in history: 
By using his mind-control ability, he erase all knowledge about his very own existence. No one knows who Max Lord is... Except for four former members of Justice League International. Booster Gold, Fire, Ice and Captain Atom must now stop Max Lord, despite the entire world thinking that they have lost it, since they are hunting a non-existing man.

I, Marvell Lord, has mastered the ultimate 
comic-book weapon: Retcon!
Yeah. Such a pretty simple pitch, but a great way to highlight some of my favorite DC Comics characters of all time, namely all these 1980s heroes DC kinda didn't use much anymore, nowdays.
And what with the New 52 reboot that happened shortly after, this was kind of a last hurrah for older fans to see the whole gang together one last time.

Yeah, I know, they kinda appeared right after the reboot, but those were completely different characters, with different personalities and look, for all intends and purposes.

Even weirder is that despite Booster Gold being pretty popular the last couple of years before the Nu52, Johns made him... disappear. LITERATELY!
Granted, JLI was apparently not a big success, and Johns has a reputation for using C-List characters as canon-fodder to make them seem important, but when Frankenstein was cancelled, he was at least made part of Justice League Dark(can you believe how cheap DC is today?). So that's actually n52 in a nutshell: "Hey, kids! Sorry that you will never read about Booster Gold again, but it was SO important to make it clear how BIG an impact Superman and Wonder Woman making out has."

Bottom-line: third-stringers has no place in n52.
But enough about how much n52 sucks... Eyz, what do you think about the STORY in JL Generation Lost?

Well, the basic pitch was fairly decent. And even if to this day I still really dislike what Johns & co did by killing Blue Beetle/Ted Kord and turning Max into a villain, what was done was done. It was part of DCU History. And coming from that, this was probably one of the best and safest ways to bring the original JLI rooster back to the front scene.

Now, I'll admit some parts of the story and execution were a bit... heh. It could have been better, and was probably rushed near the end.

"Generation Lost" was co-written by original JLI co-scribe Keith Giffen and Judd Winick (whom I'm usually not a big fan of, his Outsider-run aside). Well, the original pitch and first half of the series was Giffen's. Winick had to come in to fill-in the last half.

What do you think about those two? Care to share an opinion on them?

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
I'm actually sort-of a Winnic fan. When writing JLGL, he also wrote the last 12 issues of the series about my favorite superhero of all time; Power Girl, which also worked as a tie-in to Generation Lost. I also enjoyed Green Arrow/Black Cannery, which apparently has a lot of haters. And let's not forget Exiles!
Winnic is a writer after my head: Plenty of action, and allot of humor. Granted, his writing has flaws, and he is a bit of a hit and miss, but no one is perfect.
Giffen, though, I dont know very well, besides his Blue Beetle stuff. Should probably try and find some of his stuff.
BTW, about Max becoming a bad guy: I don't like it either. Sure, he used questionable means to get what he wanted, but he sincerely only wanted to do good. He was just Johnsed, as I call it. I like that they in JLGL at least TRY to make an explanation to why he became what he became.

Yeah, right. 
Always forget that. Winick's PG run was pretty fun actually. It might not have as imaginative and fun as Palmiotti/Gray/Conner's Power Girl run (which introduced us to the lovely Terra III/Atlee), but it certainly rose up to the challenge.

I'm just not usually a super fan of Winick when he decides to go for a grittier direction.

And you should give 1980s Keith Giffen books a look! He created some of my all-time favorite DC character - AMBUSH BUG!! - and has a great sense of humor. His best titles are actually the more parodic or comedy ones. Lobo, when he's properly used as a parody of late 80s/90s over-the-top characters. Heck, simply the original JLI which was more of a sitcom "superhero" title than an action-oriented series.

Anyways, 'getting kinda out of topic here, but it's all in good fun - Generation Lost!

The book at least had a great pitch, which like you said made a clever use of the Power Girl series later on, running alongside this main title.

Max is back. A villain. With clear motivations. And a genius plan like nothing I've seen before - making people forget him to pursue his goals! If that isn't a simple but really effect plan, I don't know what it is!~

I agree, Max's plan for me is still the most creative plan ever made by a comic-book-villain. But that also shows that he is not a villain in the classic way. Heck, he must be the most not-like villain ever made!
But back to the series: This is a team-book, so we have allot of characters in this series. What do you think of them, and do you have a favorite/least favorite?

I'm the goddamn Booster Gold!!!
Back in the ol' JLI days, the "Blue & Gold" duo of Blue Beetle & Booster Gold really used to be my favorites. Shortly followed probably by Ice. And when they were on the team Guy Gardner (during his amnesiac days - long story...) or Elongated Man.

In Generation Lost we find back these same characters (more or less) with the added years of DCU History. Remember this is not the same young naive Booster Gold, but one who has lost his best friend (no thanks to Infinite Crisis...). The same goes for all the other characters.

Anyway, my favorites in this series were probably Booster, like you can guess from what I said so far. But the new Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes also cam on his own as a team member in this series. (I was a huge fan of his debut series - another Keith Giffen-written series by the by)

Power Girl was also fun to follow, partially due to heir series running on the side, along the same storyline.

Ice on the other hand went through some... err, strange updates to say the least.

Besides Max, what were your personal favorites?

My favorite character HAS to be the new Rocket Red, Gavril. Before I read JLGL, I thought he would be ridiculed for being a communist, and granted, it is part of the reason to why. But really, what makes him funny is his enthusiasm. Which is also what makes him so lovable. Despite hating western culture, he can set aside his philosophy in favor of the greater good, in order to help the JLI getting Max(that, and the awesomeness of being part of the JLI). And even though his English is not very good(I can relate to that *giggling*) he is not stupid at all. A bis asset to the team.
I like Booster, too. They all underestimate him from the start, but his dedication to nail the bastard who killed his best friend is the reason to why they get so far, and Ice and Fire eventually realize that he is their leader(no matter how unsettling THAT is).
I will have to agree with you about Ice. I get that she has depression of dying and coming back, but... Ice has always been known as this very warm, big-hearted person, so it's REALLY weird seeing her like this. YES, she get's over it, but that doesn't change that she... well, was sort of a jerk.

I'm now an all new character! All new powers, all new attitude, all new...
... Oh, hi, New 52! 
Right. The new Rocket Red was particularly fun. (well, I still have a slight preference for the old one, which already was the 2nd RR to begin with, the first one being a bad guy/invader - another long story!) 

People underestimating Booster Gold seems to be a long running theme with him. Something Giffen always liked to play with, be it in either the old JLI or Booster's last on-going title. 

And Ice turning all extreme wasn't that necessary. Truth be told, with the reboot following shortly this series, it even feels a lot more convulsed and unnecessary now!

As for the story itself. It was fun. Pretty fast-paced. I would say it had a sort of adventurous feel (think old serial films or adventure films à la Goonies or National Treasure) mixed with modern fast-paced TV dramas (like 24). It moved fast, with a lot of twists and turns.

But what about the art? Good story-telling is not enough in comics, as we all know. And there was, if I'm not wrong, three different artistes for the series. How were they, and do you have a favorite?

Yeah, the constant change of artists was a bit jarring to me at first.

Somehow it never felt quite right to me, DC should at least went with Kevin Maguire for this "special occasion".

You're familiar with Maguire?

Well, Maquire made variant covers for the series, and I think it would have been kinda weird to make him the sole artist for JLGL, since he is best known for his work on more goofy series, like JLI, and "Formerly Known As The Justice League"(which I BTW highly recommend). It would be like having Frank Miller as the artist for "Adventure Time".
It's a little irritating that the artist change for every issue, I will give you that. Snd I'm not to crazy about Joe Bennett. Not that he is a bad artist perse, it's just... the eyes on the women he draws... they look kinda like they are tired, or really bored. And the faces can be weird from time to time.

But if I should pick a favorite artist, it's probably Aaron Lopresti(who BTW was the artist for the the n52's JLI, written by Dan Jurgens). He manege to make detailed faces without making them TOO detailed, like shadows and wrinkles and stuff, which can be quite the turn-off for me.

I wouldn't go as far as "Frank Miller as the artist for Adventure Time", but in my eyes Maguire always was the one best suited for the whole JLI gang. Plus DC did want to play on the nostalgia of the older fans. 

Lopresti's was pretty good.

If anything, the unified coloring and inking technique helped the book avoid an overall uneven tone. Granted, I saw much worse in some other "limited series" or events. The art was decent over the course of the series, while peaking in some particular issues. But nothing great, nothing bad. Decent.

Where I had more problems was in the series trying to re-invent those guys. And like I said, the reboot happening shortly after, it makes it all seem even more pointless by now in comparison. Ice's redesign for one didn't really feel that necessary. (and really, wasn't this about the "old gang" joining together one more time to put a stop to Max for good, kind of avenging Ted Kord's death in a way?) The focus should have been on the group, their interactions and the entire Max storyline. Not those last minute editorial updates.

On another hand, I liked the way the new Rocket Red was drawn, really nice retro-ysh futuristic look, close to the original yet uniquely different!

Reinventing Ice is probably the weaker point of the series. But maybe the n52 wasn't announced when JLGL was being written. Maybe Winnic had plans for her, and they never went anywhere because of n52?
OR maybe Winnic wasn't conformable writing about Ice? But then again, it could be a classic case of; "let's unnecessarily change this uninteresting character in order to make her more interesting," which has been used before with both Damage's face being destroyed, or Roy Harper loosing his arm and daughter.
Besides Ice's "character development," anything about JLGL you sincerely didn't like, possibly hate?

Oh, I know the New 52 wasn't announced at the time. Everyone knows it was sort of improvised last minute, at least most of the authors on all the titles didn't knew 6 months prior to it and had to quickly improvise endings to their on-going story-lines

All I'm saying is that it is even made weaker nowadays in retrospective...
"Don't reinvent the wheel" when the flying cars are about to be announced - if you allow me this silly metaphor.
Yeah, funny thing you mention Roy Harper losing an arm to get a cybernetic one: another pointless unnecessary change.
Despite all that is said and done regarding Generation Lost, I have to admit... I kinda liked it. Sure it wasn't perfect. And it could have been better written/drawn at times. But I did genuinely enjoy it and I liked following this rag tag team of "C-List Superheroes" going after this invisible threat to the rest of the DCU.

I love C-list superheroes, and I enjoyed the hell out of Generation Lost.
My problem with DC before the Nu52 was that I thought a lot of the heroes were full of themselves (seriously, the JLA had a Hall Of Justice AND a satellite!). But none of that is present in this story.

In fact, that's what it's all about: a bunch of underdog superheroes who have a job to do. Sure, they have their doubts along the way, but at the end of the day they're just human.

And YES the writing is flawed, but it compensates for this many times, like having the best master plan I've ever seen on the pages of a comic book. It's on level with the Reach on the pages of Blue Beetle having the people "make them hand over the planet to us willingly"-plan.

The thing with Wonder Woman though... I get that it's really
Straczynski's idea to reinvent her, so no one in the DCU knew who she was, but it was... odd.

Yeah, I blame that on the WW editors. They could have stopped J. M. Straczynski earlier on, since she would be getting another reboot a few months later...

And pointless. Like you said, why reinventing the wheel? And how does the JLI know who she is? THAT was never explained!

But anyway, it was a really enjoyable read, and possibly the best title DC had before the New 52. A fine tribute to the JLI.

Thanks for giving me so much of your time, Eyz :)
I wish you luck with your future projects. Maybe we could do this another time?

Sure! I'm up for it!

It was a fun episodic series, with a great concept (instead of all the usual "villains-of-the-week formula on other books). And it was nice seeing those characters together working more-or-less as a team - but that was also part of the fun!

Alright, see you around everyone!

See ya around, Eyz.
So, not much left to say but; I'm Waezi2, and thanks for wasting time with us.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! You have just reminded me of almost everything I hate about the Nu52.

    What a dogpile DC has made of its characters. Are any of them likable?