Blue and Gold? About Time.
Counted as part of James Robinson's JLA run, this oneshot stands as his best issue so far. On top of that, it is also probably the best story to come out of the events of the notorious Cry for Justice limited series.
Back when Cry for Justice was just getting started, Robinson made the bold claim that he was establishing a new Blue and Gold duo with Mikaal Tomas and Congorilla. Then, Cry for Justice finished its run, Robinson moved on into his run on Justice League of America and the promise of a new Blue and Gold seemed like it had fallen by the wayside. Yes, both characters were around but the sense of their dynamic was very minimal. It has not been until this issue that they have really felt established as the JLA's new Blue and Gold.
One of the strengths of this story is how naturally it develops from what Robinson's done before and how naturally it fits with what Robinson is doing right now. Nothing about it really feels forced or like a reaction to the backlash Cry for Justice received, and that leaves me able to believe Robinson when he says this was always the plan.
Robinson sure loves his exposition, though. Characters going off on tangents to explain past events is something to expect from his writing, and it is certainly on display here. However, it is not altogether bad in Robinson's case. Half the time the dialogue really does not read naturally, and you are usually very aware that it is exposition you're reading. But sometimes, it is interesting exposition, which leads me to one of the things worth enjoying about Robinson's writing. He really embraces the idea of writing within a large shared universe. With all of the references to other events happening and guest appearances, he really makes the universe feel alive. A lot of it may not be integral to the story at hand, but that really is part of what is so enjoyable about it. Shadowpact's search for Nightshade may not be a story we ever see. Yet, it is just fun to acknowledge that those characters are still out there in the DC Universe keeping busy.
There is something distracting about Brett Booth's art. At times, it is actually pretty good and appealing. But there are these times when he is drawing people that they look so awkwardly thin and tall like they have been stretched out from head to toe.
Something that drags this issue down a little is that when you step back and look at it in the greater context of Robinson's JLA work, this is not great storytelling. This is a story that picks up a plot thread that has been hanging loose since midway through Cry for Justice and does so in a random oneshot outside of the Justice League of America ongoing series. What is up with that? It is not as though the main title has been too occupied dealing with more important and relevant stories than the Cry for Justice fallout of two of its main characters. Rather than getting condensed into a oneshot, this is a story that would have been better told in the ongoing series. The first half of this issue seems like it is just playing catch-up on what should have been happening in the series thus far.
All in all, it is a strong issue that finally works toward fulfilling one of the promises of Cry for Justice. The art style and exposition do have their problems, but the effect they have on diminishing the story is minor. This is a good adventure story in which the characters involved all come out looking good.
...Where do Tasmanian Devil's pants come from? Can someone tell me that?