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Mel’s Muses: Justice League #1 – #6 and Six Guns #1 – #5

Two storylines just wrapped up last week. One was DC’s New 52 best-selling firstborn title Justice League and the other, an under-the-radar modern western title from Marvel called Six Guns. So I figured why not take a quick look back at these two entire storylines instead of just one issue and see how they both turned out.

Justice League #1 – #6. This was the one by DC’s superstar creators, writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee, and the title heralding the new 52 Universe as well as starring the company’s flagship characters. Needless to say, all eyes were on its first story arc, we at Here Be Geeks even did a roundtable review of it when it first came out.

Now that the first story arc is over, how was it? In a nutshell, it didn’t blow me away. I wanted soooo much to make this my top 3 new DC titles especially with the big names attached to it. It started with a bang, Batman meeting Green Lantern for the first time. But it just sort of …er… floated there after the third issue when the rest of the gang showed up and kinda fizzled out.

Not the best new DC 52 title on the shelves but neither was it the worst. Both Johns and Lee have turned in work in the past (and present) that were much more impressive. Johns’ previous JSA title was a great team book and his current Green Lantern and Aquaman titles have more engaging character development and stronger plots than Justice League. The art by Lee here was also definitely not his best. Panels a little too bare at times and it didn’t help by having a small army of inkers delivering different inking styles in one single issue. Just stick with Scott Williams!

Then it hit me. “Wait a second, this was supposed to be the gateway series to the new 52 universe where the majority of target audience are new readers.” So most would not be familiar with the heroes’ history and background. Hence the straightforward almost Saturday morning cartoon kinda plot, complete with a cardboard two-dimensional super-villain. Oh great Darkseid, how the mighty have fallen!

On that all-ages level, it succeeds as a very reader-friendly story. Ideal for newcomers who have no knowledge of the old DC universe, who can’t compare this story with Grant Morrison’s oh-so-good JLA series or notice how Jim Lee’s art now looks compared to his early days drawing those mutants back at Marvel.

Almost without missing a beat, the story hits every main superhero cliché in the (comic) book. Every member gets his and her moment in the spotlight. First meetings consist of the expected hero vs. hero, followed by some cute banter and leading to the inevitable team-up. But it works, just not as much as I would like.

A little too early for Christmas shopping perhaps but I see the upcoming trade as the perfect gift for someone who doesn’t read comics but likes today’s superhero movies, or to a kid who is looking for his first superhero comic.

Six Guns #1 – #5. He proved his chops with the fan-favorite The Losers, Green Arrow Year One, Vertigo’s Rat Catcher and at Marvel he drove Daredevil to Shadowland and back with Daredevil: Reborn. Now with his latest Six Guns mini-series from Marvel, I swear British writer Andy Diggle is the go-to guy for gritty action stories.

Six Guns is an all-action but non-superhero modern western tale set in the Marvel universe. Diggle brings together a motley crew of old-school western Marvel characters and updates them to modern day gunslingers. Most of the action takes place in the old yet familiar nation of San Diablo, first seen way back in an early issue of Stan Lee’s Thor. Like most classic Western tales, it’s all about revenge in Six Guns as each one of our heroes find themselves in San Diablo looking for payback against longtime evil Marvel corporation Roxxon.

Reading this mini-series is like watching a summer blockbuster action movie. It’s non-stop fun, it’s exciting, everyone’s shooting at each other and you got almost all kinds of vehicles blowing up every other page. Artist Davide Gianfelice, who also provided the pencils for Daredevil: Reborn, hits the target with his amazing characters and fluid action scenes.

I thought the final panel in the last issue was fantastic. I could almost imagine right after that, the screen fades to black, the metal soundtrack kicks in and the credits roll. Damn!

I highly recommend Six Guns if you want a great action story that’s set in a unique (west) corner of the Marvel universe.

Cavalock

Melvin Yong has worked way too long in the media and advertising industry. He now spends his time with his family, writing short horror stories and playing lots of board games.

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