DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE: NOT JUST FOR KIDS


KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.


A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Dear Justice League SC

Dear Justice League SC


Dear Justice League is a wonderful little book (from DC’s Zoom imprint for ages 8-12) by writer Michael Northrop and illustrated by Gustavo Duarte. No matter what your mood, it will instantly improve it. Trust me, my brain was on fire when I read this the other night (admittedly not the best mood to read anything), and it completely won me over in a matter of pages. Both of these guys certainly know how to “bring the silly”.

The premise is that not too much is happening around the JLA HQ, and the world seems to be evil-free (at least for now). So the Justice League, who includes (for this book, anyway) Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern (Simon Baz), Aquaman, Cyborg, and Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders) break open the mailbags (or phones, or internet… you get it) and start answering letters from their fans. Each character gets his or her own chapter, and as things go, it’s not exactly a smooth (or fun) experience for the super-folks — but it makes for a highly entertaining (and occasionally super-silly) reading experience.

Superman gets asked if he’s ever messed up (of course not, he thinks). But he’s distracted by the question on his cellphone. He’s flying and texting at the same time – a disaster waiting to happen. And happen it does, as he accidentally knocks a painter off his scaffold, which is the beginning of an outrageous series of Rube Goldberg-ian (ask your Dad) events that pretty much messes up Metropolis for an hour or two. Much of the slapstick is shown without words, an accomplished presentation that is welcoming to any level of reader.

After Aquaman returns from saving a kidnapped submarine from Black Manta (the guy with a huge metal hat), he and Hawkgirl bond about needing to answer more fan mail, while Superman reminds them both to be careful about emails. Aquaman’s first fan mail asks him if he smells like fish most of the time. Wonder Woman replies “Seaweed. You smell like seaweed, and you always have,” which seems to please him.

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman discovers that she has 4,000 unread messages, and the first one triggers a memory of a very early birthday of hers. There’s a cake, so there’s much gobbling and nom-nom-ing! I’ll leave the big finale of her flashback to your imaginations. And hey! She’s now down to 3,999 unread messages!

Meanwhile, a couple of smart guys send the Flash an email that says: “Hey Flash, If yur so fast, how come u haven’t answered this yet? — T-Bone (and J-Dawg)”. Turns out the Flash likes to answer his messages in person. T-Bone and J-Dawg get both grounded and detention. Oops.

GL Simon Baz decides to spruce up his uniform, while Cyborg has it even worse — he accidentally infests Washington D.C. with aliens who look like giant grasshoppers! Which leaves Batman… who’s sitting in near darkness (of course) answering his fan mail, until Alfred chides him for working in the dark. “I told you before, Alfred… I’m a creature of the night!”

Batman’s writing back to Danny Santigo, a young boy who is moving to a new town and school, and he’s a little bit scared. So (after defeating the Joker) Batman sends a note: “Dear Danny, Yes, I was the new kid in town once — but I was prepared. Here’s what I suggest for your first day.” And he starts sketching adorably repurposed school supplies and helpful gadgets, things like “Pencil With Sharpener Top!”, “Bully-Repellent Spray!”, “School Map with Known Shortcuts!”, and “Stink Bombs! Emergency Use Only!” It’s accompanied by a picture of Danny with his own Mom-made utility belt.

For the big finale, the Justice League is summoned to an emergency in Washington D.C. — shock troops from the planet Molt-On are attacking the Pentagon! But the League has things well in hand, herding the aliens back onto their rocket, which earns them a group thank-you from the kids who wrote previously. In turn, the team write their own reply to them:

Wonder Woman: Dear Mini-Mustangs, thanks for writing. You addressed your message to all of us, so we decided to answer it together.

Superman: First of all, we’re not always as perfect as we seem. You’d be surprised how fast mistakes happen.

Hawkgirl: We don’t always finish the job on the first try.

Aquaman: We can be self-conscious.

Batman: We can be out of the loop, the last to know.

Green Lantern: Not all of our ideas are good ones.

Cyborg: But we’ve got each other’s back. And when you work together, you can do great things!

Sincerely, The Justice League.

The Flash: P.S. We still mess up sometimes. We just try not to let it bug us!

This is a very fun book to share with a young proto-comic book fan!

The great news is that Michael Northrop and Gustavo Duarte are working on a new book called Dear Super-Villains, which will be out in the fall of 2020. And there’s a six-page sample of that in this book!

Additionally announced for the DC Zoom imprint (although possibly appearing without that branding, given DC’s recent change announcements) is Superman of Smallville by Tiny Titans creators Art Baltazar and Franco — to be available this September. Roger will be very pleased to know that the book will include hordes of cows! All those spots…

_______________________________

KC CARLSON Sez: Of course I’ve heard of cows! All they ever do is stand around!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. “Each and every day, eating all that hay, Moo, baby, moo baby…” (For extra points, tell me the name of the insane ‘60s rock group that actually sang these lyrics. No, it wasn’t a hit, but as a hint, they also were named after animals.)