“There is justice after all. A whole new world stretched out and screaming.”
This recent reprint is of a graphic novel from 2000. The book was by the Scottish creative team of writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely. The pair have worked on a number of projects together including Flex Mentallo and We3 for Vertigo, All-Star Superman and the launch of Batman and Robin for DC and New X-Men for Marvel.
Alexander Luthor uses stolen technology to cross the barrier between an anti-matter and matter dimension. He arrives on what he calls Earth 2 looking to call on the Justice League to help him bring justice to his cruel dimension. In Luthor’s dimension good is evil and the Justice League has it’s own dark reflection in the Crime Syndicate of Amerika who use their powers to subjugate the populace and profit from its misery. How much good can the JLA do in a world of evil and what about the the CSA when they get the chance to terrorize a new world?
There are two sides to Grant Morrison – the straight ahead, traditional comic book writer and the more surreal writing usually reserved for his own creations but which sometimes is seen in the superhero books that he writes, such as his run on Doom Patrol. I tend to love his more out there work more but this is a fine example of his conventional comic book writing. As he does with a lot of his work on established characters, he has taken a team from the history of the JLA and updated it for a new audience. The CSA is new to me so I am not sure how much is in the archives and how much comes from Morrison but the mirror dimension is nicely imagined and brought to life. Being a Batman fan I was most interested in the different ways life had turned out for Batman/Owlman and their families and friends. I am also a big Frank Quitely fan so the book is worth the money for his wonderful art alone.
You’re all looking for something to blame when you should be looking out the window.
This comic is an collection of short stories from various Vertigo titles including Strange Adventures, Weird War Tales and Flinch. However, the reason I picked it up is that it features a previously unpublished Hellblazer story from the Warren Ellis run on the character.
The story, Shoot was written round about the time of the Columbine High School tragedy and was felt, probably rightly that it was too sensitive a story to print at that time. However, it is an excellent story featuring Constantine at the fringes of a series of pupil-pupil shootings across America. The story has John railing against the congressional advisor as the demons the children face are ones created by society rather than the Hellish forces that he is comfortable with.
This is story is the kind of horror that really scares me. Never mind scientists shooting corpses for some perverse pleasure or people sodomising the decayed carcasses of dogs (both of which were featured in the last comic I read), what scares me is the horror that could be all too real. So while I love the supernatural horror genre the ones that truly get to me are films like slasher movies where there is no supernatural element only the cruelty of fellow humans. [EDIT: I found a blog entry from Warren Ellis on the release of this story today (23/4/12). He certainly succeeded in his intention with me.]
The other stories feature a heavyweight roster of writers and artists from Vertigo past and present. They include Brian Bolland, Brian Azzarello, Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Garth Ennis, Peter Milligan, Eduardo Risso and Bill Willingham. These stories are of variable interest as they are playing second fiddle to the Constantine one but are mostly entertaining. One of the best features art by Bernie Wrightson in a classic horror tale. It has been a while since I have read any stories featuring Wrightson art and has made me move Roots of the Swamp Thing up in my to-read pile. Bill Willingham’s story, which he wrote and drew, is a good one featuring a nice flip on the trope of the enraged villagers of classic horror movies.