Hello, Internet! How have you been? I have been pretty good.
I have been a comic fan for most of my life. This is not a secret, but I guess I never really stopped to think about just how common this knowledge was. So last week, I was walking through the lobby of my workplace when a lady I know walks up to me and hands me the tiniest little comic book.
“Hey, Rhys, I found this in my cereal, and I thought you might like it.” It was one of those little General Mills promotional DC: Justice League mini-comics. Here was a tiny (4”x6”) comic book with a full twenty-four (24!) pages. This issue, number one of four, was written by Tony Bedard of DC Comics and Crossgen fame, with pencils by the legendary Jerry Ordway (Power of Shazam).
Now, I have been more than a little critical of the New 52, and I am far from really sold on the Rebirth universe (I am mostly a post-Crisis, New-Earth guy*); but this story “Power Play” was a joy. The story opens on the Justice League being honored with a statuary in the middle of Metropolis. Suddenly, the statues spring to life as double sized, bronze versions of the League. Possessing powers like the originals, these giant dopplegangers wreak havoc in battle with the real deal!
In the middle of all this, Superman susses out that his old foe Mister Mxyzptlk, the sinister trickster from the 5th Dimension, is the cause. As Supes tries to figure out how to deal with the imp, he reflects back onto his own childhood and a time he learned that with great power comes great responsibility—and yes, this is the right story. Supes sees that just as a young Clark needed help from Pa Kent, so might a grown Clark need a hand with this extra-dimensional adversary.
I really loved this book. It was a light, hopeful read perfect for introducing these characters to a young audience. Of course, I suspect, is the plan; and why these are being given away in cereal boxes. While being a full 24 pages (more that a regular Monthly) it was clearly written to be a “popcorn” story. Still, it has a lot of heart and a fair bit of whimsy–sentimental but honest. The characters have great interaction (although why there are two rookie Green Lanterns, I sure don’t understand); and the art is spot on for the small package. The framing sequence (the meat of my review) is super fun, but the flashback is wonderfully crafted. This is overall a great comic.
And this brings me to my one complaint with this book. If “Power Play” can catch the best of the Silver Age stories with the best of modern production, why are DC’s monthly books so disappointing? Maybe it’s me, but somehow I doubt it.
This little 24-pager is probably not available at your LCS (local comic shop), but rather at the grocery store, which is where I first discovered comics. A box of cereal is the price of admission, folks; and it feels like it has a home here in the Quarterbin.
*if you care about that kind of thing