Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Justice League of America 80-Page Giant

I'm only going to comment on the Vixen/Green Lantern story.  Because, well . . . Shining Knight is in it, and he's the only reason I picked up this book in the first place.  The stories okay, but the more you know about the characters, the more holes you'll notice.  Spoilers and a very long rant, ahoy!

Here is the set-up for the story: blah, blah, blah . . . villain with time travel abilities scattering the League across time.  Vixen ends up in Arthurian times at Camelot.  She wakes up with Shining Knight there.  He assumes that she's been assaulted due to her "state of undress."  He swears that he'll protect her since he's a Knight of the Round Table, and he's practically a living embodiment of chivalry.

At first, he assumes she's an escaped slave until he sees her "crest of nobility" (her totem).  After she's changed into a less revealing costume, Sir Justin compliments her and we get a rather cute scene of him blushing when she flirts with him.

Then Morgaine Le Faye attacks, apparently because King Arthur and Merlin aren't there.  Sir Justin leads the charge against her on his flying horse, Winged Victory.  He tells Vixen to stay behind, but she immediately jumps into battle against the inhuman army.  Green Lantern shows up, revealing that he too was sent to this time.  His ring charge gives out mid-battle, and he's injured.  Eventually, Le Faye calls a halt to the fight and suggests a battle between two champions in order spare further lives.  Sir Justin agrees to be Camelot's champion.

Le Faye, however, decides to cheat and poisons Sir Justin (how is never explained- presumably MAGIC!).  It's not enough to kill him, but it's just enough to knock him out until the end of Vixen's big heroic moment.  Convenient.  Vixen takes Sir Justin's place in the fight, and ends up fighting a mutated dragon-man thing.  She wins, of course, by using her powers to copy the dragon's abilities.

The knights all cheer and are startled when Vixen reveals that it was her in Sir Justin's armor.  Sir Justin offers a toast to Vixen and Green Lantern, and the story ends.

I have several problems with this story.

1) Sir Justin agreed to be Camelot's champion and fight against Le Faye's champion.  The fact that Vixen took his place should have made the contest null and void.  This is a huge plot hole that is never addressed.  Not to mention that Sir Justin is stupidly noble enough to admit to the cheating and offer Le Faye a rematch.  So, in essence, Vixen's victory should have accomplished nothing.

2) The artist gave Sir Justin black hair.  Sir Justin is a blonde.  (Minor point, I'll admit, but it's definitely an artistic screw-up.  Aside from that, the art is nice.)

3) Vixen should not have been able to fit in Shining Knight's armor.  Vixen is 5'7" and 115lbs.  Shining Knight is 6'1" and 185lbs.  Sir Justin's armor is form-fitting, and in fact, it's about as tight as any other superhero costume would be.  There is no freaking way someone who is 6 inches shorter and 70 pounds lighter would be able to wear the armor, let alone convincingly pass for Sir Justin.

4) Vixen is shown riding Winged Victory to the battle.  Winged Victory has been shown to be borderline sentient (if not outright sentient).  He would recognize that Vixen wasn't Sir Justin, and I doubt he'd let a stranger ride him.  Especially a Sir Justin imposter.

5) They did not speak Modern English in Camelot!  They spoke Old English during that time period.  This is a common mistake in fiction, but it doesn't excuse it.  If they'd had Green Lantern show up in the first place, it could be explained away as his ring translating for them, but he wasn't there at the beginning of the story.

6) This royally screws up Shining Knight's continuity.  Shining Knight received his magic armor and winged horse from Merlin immediately before going into battle with an ogre and getting frozen in a block of ice until the 1940s.  He wasn't dubbed "The Shining Knight" until the 1940s, when he began operating as a superhero, but he's called Shining Knight in story.  Time paradox?

Admittedly, Sir Justin did return to Camelot on occasion thanks to Merlin's magic, but if this is supposed to take place during one of those times, it still doesn't fit.  Sir Justin would have met Alan Scott (the Golden Age Green Lantern) by this time, and the name should have immediately clued him in that Vixen and Green Lantern were from the future.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm thrilled to see Sir Justin used at all, and the writer did some things right.  The writer nailed Sir Justin's personality (chivalrous, noble, kind and brave).  I especially loved him blushing when Vixen flirted with him: it was both cute and in character for him to give Vixen a flowery compliment and then blush when she flirted with him.  But that doesn't make up for the huge gaping plot hole that's at the center of the plot.

Final verdict?  I'd give it about a 9/10 for characterization, 7/10 for art, and 5/10 for story.  (And this rating is only for this story.  I just skimmed the rest of the book.)

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