The Justice League is beset on all sides—by one crazed fan! Maybe! Cyborg makes landfall and attempts to fix the mess on the ground, but there’s an angry crowd of citizens feeling neglected by our heroes. Everything’s a mess in Justice League #40SPOILERS AHEAD

These are not heroes

I complained last time about Priest’s Superman allowing the folks on the other side of the tracks to suffer harm while he helped the more well-to-dos. Priest gives a sort of explanation for it this time, but instead of providing satisfaction, it instead makes me angry. It basically boils down to this: the first responders can handle it, the League is in the way, and they can’t seek public approval over public good. Batman adds that they can’t force their help on people.

So here’s the problem: why are we expected to believe that Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash couldn’t do a better, quicker job of helping the hurting than the first-responders? And as for Batman’s comment about forcing help—the people clearly want the League to help them. His statement is incoherent in this context. This whole scenario, with a rooftop full of heroes standing around arguing about their charter while wounded citizens stand in the street below, strains credulity. It feels like Priest wants to write about the League evaluating their place in the world, but he’s forcing an unbelievable scenario to press on to the question.

The second half of the book is interesting enough, I suppose, but after such poor use of the characters in the first half, my investment has been burned and I don’t see the point. I kind of want them all to get vaporized with the Watchtower. That’s bad, right?

And they look funny, too

I absolutely loved Pete Woods’s artwork on the first two issues of Priest’s run. Back then, he was doing everything—lines and colors. It had a very distinct look, and it was fairly consistent from cover to cover. This time, Woods is colored by Chris Sotomayor, and the results are mixed, inconsistent. There are moments where the finishes look somewhat similar to Woods’s aforementioned one-man-show, but there are also panels that look downright awful, and still others where the artwork breaks character and looks far more realistic than what Woods typically aims for.

I don’t blame Sotomayor. This isn’t a long-running partnership, and I’d be willing to bet that the colorist was pulled in to help Woods meet the deadline. But with this sort of style—one in which the color adds a lot of the shape and texture to the characters—things can get really bad really fast if line artist and colorist are not on the same page. Woods’s layouts are pretty good, too, but the character inconsistencies demand so much of my attention that it’s hard to stay connected.

Recommended if…

  • You don’t give a lick about consistency in artwork.
  • You think it’s heroic to leave a bunch of people near a cloud of poisonous gas and hope that first-responders can save every single person in the affected area. Or you don’t think that and you hate heroism.

Overall

After a glimmer of hope at the start of Priest’s run, Justice League has returned to its beleaguered state. Justice League #40 takes the problems of last issue and develops them into something far worse. A decent latter half can’t salvage the terrible opener, and so the book ultimately feels like a waste of time. Pass on this one, folks.

SCORE: 4.5/10


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