Jessica Cruz is dead! The Flash is not fast enough to save his friend, and a madman with a doomsday weapon threatens to wipe out everything. Jessica Cruz is dead! The Flash is not fast enough to save his friend, and a madman with a doomsday weapon threatens to wipe out everything. Jessica Cruz is dead! The Flash is not fast enough to save his friend, and a madman with a doomsday weapon threatens to wipe out everything. Jessica Cruz is dead! The Flash is not fast enough to save his friend, and a madman with a doomsday weapon threatens to wipe out everything.

My name is Phil Connors, and I am the fastest weatherman alive

Conceptually, Justice League #20 is very appealing to me, because it takes some of my favorite fictional heroes and rams them into one of my favorite films starring one of my favorite real-life heroes: Bill Murray. Jokes aside, “Endless” may borrow its conceit from Groundhog Day, but it is a conceit with lots of potential for interesting variation. Putting someone like the Flash into this scenario broadens that potential even further—a hero with the ability to travel through time might make some more interesting attempts at breaking the loop than would a grumpy weatherman from Pittsburgh.

The actual comic though? It’s just okay. As usual, Hitch writes noticeably better when he’s drawing, too, but improved mechanics don’t make up for an underachievement in execution. And that’s kind of what I feel we’re getting in JL#20. We’re now halfway through this two-part arc, and Barry hasn’t tried anything particularly interesting. Sure, he uses his speed and his powers of observation to get closer to stopping the threat (and, one would hope, breaking the loop), but that seems way short of what this could have been; and—more importantly—it shortens the distance between this and Groundhog Day. The elements that could have made this more distinct are missing. Instead, it kind of seems like Hitch said “why don’t we throw the Justice League in a time loop?” and then didn’t spend much time on the particulars.

The peaks are sinking closer to the valleys

If you count the Rebirth one-shot, this marks the third time that Hitch has provided art (as well as script) for Justice League. I enjoyed those two earlier issues much more than the rest. Unfortunately, JL#20 isn’t as much of a recovery as JL#14, and my bitter experience with this title affords it none of the optimism I had after reading Justice League: Rebirth #1. Hitch has largely eliminated the excessive internal monologuing that plagued earlier installments of the series, but his dialogue still feels frustratingly unnatural. It’s still nice to see his artwork—especially his cityscapes—but I want more. I want Justice League to look and read like it’s a priority for DC. It has at times done the former, but at its best moments, it has barely approached the latter.

*Insert heading about how things need to change

But I’m a broken record on that matter, so I’ll close with a positive note: I had strong words for the work of letterer Richard Starkings last issue, as his credits pages had been similar (and bland) for quite some time. I was delighted to see an aesthetic departure, particularly one aimed at so bold-looking a new direction. It’s ultimately lipstick on a pig, but I’ll take my little joys where I can find them.

Recommended if…

  • You like Hitch’s backgrounds and settings. I still think he’s one of the best in that regard.
  • You like the idea of Justice League meets Groundhog Day.

Overall

Better than the last arc, but not very interesting, Justice League #20 won’t be worth the money or the time for most of you. Hitch fans may want another book filled with his pages—and they’ll get quite a few nice city shots rendered in that trademark style. But as a book about the Justice League, Justice League #20 is still disappointingly average.

SCORE: 6/10