What secrets lie in the vaults of Thanagar Prime? What secrets lie in the mind of the Martian Keep? What secrets lie in the energy-rich recesses of Starman’s brain? Find answers to NONE of these questions in Justice League #14, as part of the team heads to HAWKWORLD!
Where have all the periods gone?
I’m starting to feel like I’m stuck in a time loop. An issue or two of Scott Snyder-written Justice League comes out, and I love the story and the dialogue, and in particular, Snyder’s strong narration. And then a Snyder-architected issue arrives, and while his fingerprints are on the narrative, the details are not quite up to snuff. I said two weeks ago that James Tynion’s dialogue often fails the “read out loud” test, and it’s more of the same in this week’s Justice League #14.
I love the story, especially with the focus on smaller units of the team. Tynion’s issues on this run have often “checked in” with a bigger thread of the wider story before moving into the specifics, and I love that. We get some advancement of The Big Thing, but then we also get a necessary parallel or prior event played out in the remaining pages.
As a Martian Manhunter fan in general, and a fan of what Snyder did with him in the first arc in particular, I’m glad to see him in the spotlight. He, Hawkgirl, and Lantern John Stewart arrive on Thanagar Prime, home of the hawks, in search of the Martian Keep—a member of J’onn’s extinct race who possesses the entirety of their collective memory.
As you might imagine, a trip to Hawkworld carries some significance for Hawkgirl, as well. And when the current ruler of the planet turns out to be someone with whom she shares a close connection, the plot does indeed thicken.
I mention all of this because the experience of reading most of Justice League #14 is actually quite good. It drags in the middle, where Tynion’s tendencies (to write dense dialogue with too much information and not nearly enough separate sentences) are brought to bear. But the bookends—featuring Starman and the rest of the League—and the rapid escalation of things on Thanagar Prime—these are exciting moments, and I wasn’t snagged on anything while reading them.
The visual storytelling is solid throughout Justice League #14. Cheung has very little to do, providing the artwork for the bookends only; but his work is still excellent even in such small doses. Segovia pencils the lion’s share, and while his aesthetic doesn’t have quite the distinct character of Cheung’s, he still nails his pages. His layouts are very dynamic, and his Hawkpeople look downright savage.
There are two colorists on the issue, as well, and based on the ordering, I’m going to assume that Wil Quintana colors Segovia’s pages. I’ve enjoyed Wil’s work on other books before, but I don’t love it here. He goes a bit heavier on the lighting effects than I prefer, and I don’t think that’s an especially good match with Segovia’s stuff.
Letterer Tom Napolitano does just fine on the dialogue and such, but I have to call out his work on the title page as being especially nice. I loved his aesthetic on the first arc of this run, but I think this is even better. I really dig the hawk backdrop, too.
Tynion…or not Tynion?
I don’t think I’m ever going to enjoy reading Tynion’s issues quite as much as Snyder’s, but in the end, that’s okay. None of them have been unreadable, and the story still moves on in satisfying ways. I can’t be too upset when that’s the low-water mark for a book. But how did you feel about it? Sound off in the comments, and come back to Batman News on Friday to see what the rest of the team thought in our This Week in Comics roundup.
- You’re a fan of Hawkman, Hawkgirl, or hawks.
- You’re a fan of Jarro.
- You’re a fan of the Justice League breaking up into smaller units for more intimate stories.
Scott Snyder’s breaks from Justice League always remind me how good it is when he’s on. Tynion doesn’t quite maintain Snyder’s level of quality in dialogue, but he still tells a pretty good story, the artwork is great, and I enjoyed Justice League #14 overall.
DISCLAIMER: Batman News received an advance review copy of this book from DC Comics.