G3 Review: Justice League – The Rise of Arsenal #1

Cover art by Greg Horn

Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #1
Writers: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Geraldo Borges
Colors: Hi-Fi
DC Comics
March 24, 2010

Spoilers ahead!

In spite of the Un-awesomeness of JL: Cry For Justice, I still wanted to read JL: Rise of Arsenal. I don’t know much about Roy Harper, but I’m all for reading stories about unfamiliar characters. It can be more interesting with an unbiased brain.

Issue one opens with a playback of the events that took place on the JLA satellite in the last issue of Cry For Justice. We see Roy having his last conversation with his daughter, an adorable and realistic debate about ice cream vs. cookies for dessert. This sweet moment is followed abruptly by an intense, bloody face-off with Prometheus. From the heart-tugging conversation with his soon-to-be-dead child to the splash page of Roy’s graphic dismemberment, JT Krul set one hell of a stage.

Jump to Roy waking up in the hospital, surrounded by his concerned friends and teammates. He’s still in serious physical pain, but that is quickly overshadowed by the realization that Lian died during Star City’s destruction. Krul manages to convey the shock, awe and pure devastation of what it’s like for someone to lose not just a limb, but their own child. Where James Robinson dropped the ball with contrived writing and unearned moments in Cry For Justice, Krul delivers an authentic punch in the gut. I got a little teary-eyed when Roy went to the morgue to see Lian’s body. What else would a grieving parent do but imagine their dead child’s final moments? Geraldo Borges’ image of Roy hugging Lian’s lifeless body is one of the most powerful that I’ve seen. Understandably, Roy starts to go a little crazy, but not before kicking an ass or two with one arm. I had no idea he was such a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. The nod to Roy’s past as a drug addict — and the temptation to start using again — added depth to the issue.

Kudos to Krul for bringing this story back to life, making me care and turning an unbelievably shitastic story arc into “pretty damn good.” With Cheshire on the horizon for issue #2, good is going to get better.

P.S. Thanks for not making Black Canary suck at life in this issue.

3 thoughts on “G3 Review: Justice League – The Rise of Arsenal #1

  1. V., I know we agree on most things, but this comic did not do it for me! I’m with you on the power of Roy’s breakdown upon imagining Lian’s death. As a parent, I couldn’t help but be affected by that. Otherwise … um. Maybe I’ll feel differently as the story progresses.

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  2. S’all good E-Boogs! We can’t have it all. ;-)

    Maybe because Cry For Justice was just THAT bad, it made this look so good. And of course, as a parent, the panels about Lian had an emotional impact. That’s a given. But his fighting skills impressed me. He was the only one to connect his fist with Prometheus’ face! He’s an ass-kicking drug addict sad daddy with an uber bitch of a baby momma.

    You know I love the drama.

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  3. I’m still abstaining out of objection, but I thumbed through this book, and it looked okay. I’ve always liked Roy Harper, and wish we had mature writers whose answer to a hero who is also a (single) dad isn’t the refrigerator. Sick fucks. Anyway, I’m all for rising Arsenal and falling Green Arrow, one being a far better developed character than the other. Roy never was much good in a fight though, so that was unrealistic. Also, playing the backsliding addict card is pretty tired. Still, best wishes on making that sad ’90s cybernetic arm work out. Good to see the yellow/gold back in his underrated costume, too.

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