The Rise of Arsenal was full of ridiculous moments, but the series reached its nadir with a sex-and-violence sequence in issue #3. Roy and Jade, supposedly grieving for their dead daughter, Lian, settled old grievances by fighting one another with household appliances and office equipment. Faster than you could say, “Cliche, much?” the two were doing a bump and grind against a wall. But Jade couldn’t get no satisfaction because of Roy’s, um, equipment failure. Memorable for sure, but not in a good way.
Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #1
Writers: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Geraldo Borges
March 24, 2010
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.