I wasn't prepared to enjoy issue 2 of Alex Ross's Justice this week. I'm not a fan of Ross's art (though he has an imaginative flair for costume design!), and the only thing in issue 1 I enjoyed were two character moments for Aquaman. Seeing Aquaman on Storm was fabulous and underwater wit doesn't get any drier than "Arthur, there's a shark to see you."
But issue 2 had the Riddler and Ross, who beautifully captured the simplicity of Riddler's backstory and complexity its results, did a good job with him. Almost no one does a good job with the Riddler, and his interactions with Batman were chockful of delicious layers of remarkably unforced comic book irony.
Mysterious scenes of Prof. Crane (the Scarecrow) and Dr. Isley (Poison Ivy) using their abilities for dramatic charity work have me hooked and the Joker's frustration at not being part of the Legion of Doom has that touch of meta-fictional flavor that works so well with Mr. J.
And Brainiac? I haven't been scared of Brainiac since his appearance in Alan Moore's "The Last Superman Story".
I am now.