I had a lot of fun reading this issue. It’s loaded with smash-through-the wall fight scenes and groundbreaking revelations that will lead us into Trinity War all sprinkled with Kirby krackle.
Now, the big thing we were all talking about at the end of last month’s issue was the death of Catwoman. She got shot in the head! It was a shocking moment but nobody could take it all that seriously because Catwoman still has her own ongoing series and she’s in ads for Trinity War and Villains Month. So was there going to be a massive discrepancy between the DC titles? Was that Catwoman a clone? Would Batman have to venture to the afterlife to bring her back? What?! In this issue you get an answer and it comes in the first couple of pages. I liked it. It made sense and was a good slap-my-forehead “Of course!” moment.
As soon as we get that big reveal the comic is basically all action and that action is perfectly executed by Brett Booth. It’s the turn of the tide and the Secret Society of Super Villains is left reeling by a team they greatly underestimated. The previous four issues have all been leading up to this big explosive moment and watching the JLA deal a crippling blow to our mystery man’s master plan is very satisfying. I’m glad I stuck by this series and if you haven’t been reading it, it’s going to make a pretty great TPB.
The only things that seem to drag the issue down at all is the introduction of Simon Baz and the nefarious Dr. Light back at ARGUS and there was an odd exchange between Waller and Trevor– basically the quiet moments. These side-steps to Baz and Light will likely work nicely when reading all chapters back-to-back in a graphic novel but in this single issue the cut-away to Baz especially felt like an afterthought. I know we’re in the 5th issue and we’re long past due to add this character into the story, but perhaps devoting next month’s issue to him and giving the character the attention he deserves would be the better idea. Here it felt like he was thrown in just to make sure readers didn’t forget about him. As for Dr. Light and Trevor, well that goes in spoiler tags.
The back-up by Matt Kindt and Manuel Garcia was unfortunately forgettable for me. It’s definitely the weakest of the back-ups so far even though we do learn a great deal more about the destruction of J’onn’s people. Although I’m no expert on Martian Manhunter’s original origin, this take feels a little too “Ancient Aliens” for me and when the tale was over I just sort of shrugged it off.
If you like action and discussing fan theories, especially about how our Mystery Man might have a connection to the world of Batman, you’re going to love JLA #5. And if you love cameos by forgotten characters from the far corners of the DC Universe, you’re going to have a pretty damn good time reading this book, too. There are a few hiccups here and there but I think a DC fan will close this book feeling thoroughly entertained.