What do you guys like out of a Justice League story? I’m genuinely curious. Do you want a huge, sprawling adventure with high stakes and intense character drama? Do you want smaller stories with less pressure, allowing the characters to breathe? Do you prioritise any of these aspects in particular? What does the Justice League mean to you?

I ask this because I want to generate some discussion on these issues. Ultimately, this is chapter three of an arc that I am liking quite a bit, but one that is losing steam; and, sadly, one that isn’t really going anywhere either. Not that this is a bad thing in a vacuum, as this makes for a great breather when reading a collection of JL issues! Hell, I just spent the last two issues praising the book for what it did right, which I think was quite a bit. That said, the fact remains that this is a book that costs money; and issues coalesce faster than you might think. I was told recently that I’d spent over two thousand dollars at my favourite local comic book store, and my city has three. I, of all people, should understand the dangers of buying every comic I love, like, or might be curious about. So, I have to factor that in my decision making: should you buy this book for $3.99, USD?

Yes – but only if you were sold in the first issue of Cold War. This issue doesn’t add as much to the story as the second issue did, and it covers less interesting ground than the fight between the Justice League and the creatures of Tartarus, or the fight within the Justice League itself.

We pick up where our story left off, the League caught sneaking in to Themyscira; Wonder Woman ready to face the charges for bringing men onto the island nation. However, just when the problem was beginning to get resolved, the Spectre’s aura hits the island… and the League are faced with Amazonian attackers. It’s nice to see the League coordinating during the fight; definitely my favourite part of Invasion of the Supermen as well, watching the Justice League think on how best to tackle a problem as a single unit under pressure. Venditti does this quite well, and manages to get some subtlety in his dialogue too; Aquaman and Wonder Woman fighting the closest together, even after their spat in the snow. 

Soon, they find themselves faced with Detective Jim Corrigan, who has aged twenty years since Batman’s last meeting with the man. I have to say, I get what they’re going for, but I never enjoy these sorts of time jump stories. I didn’t like it much in King’s Batman either; since characters are perpetually in their thirties for their entire lives in the DC Universe, another thirty years is double their entire existence, spent in the same place, doing the same thing. It should give a suitable sense of impact and dread for a character who faces this fate, but since nothing matters in the world of superhero comics, it’s not even framed as something particularly dramatic. It just sort of “is” – which is a great way to describe this run so far.

The art remains great, either way! Both Xermanico and Robson Rocha are giving this book more than enough to chew on, with the characters clear and easy to follow, despite how many Amazons surround them at any given time. It’s actually hard for me to differentiate the two illustrators upon first inspection, with colourist Romulo Fajardo Jr managing to skillfully use his colouring work to help every sketch blend together into one cohesive, stylistically consistent narrative. I think my favourite moment has to be when John Stewart summons his Green Lantern posse to help in his fight against Themyscira’s warriors. 

All in all, nothing new to report – meaning there’s certainly nothing bad. The writer/artist team is as strong as ever, the arc seems to be doing exactly what it wants to do (though the ending seemed a little out of left field), and I’m having a good time with it. What more could you ask for?

Well, a more affordable price for such a short issue would be nice.

Recommended If: 

  • Parts 1 and 2 of Cold War have you interested in seeing what happens to the Spectre!
  • You’re a fan of the League taking on their allies in a fight, such as themselves or the Amazons.
  • You’re enjoying the interim between major storylines on this book.

Overall

When this is all taken into consideration, I start to wonder if Venditti’s work is going to come home in his final arc. While this arc is certainly fine on its own, will he bring something substantial to the table in his final issues? Or is he content to stick with his other books, leaving Justice League with a pleasant, if anticlimactic, conclusion? Time will tell; but I’d still suggest this arc if you have a moment (and expendable income).

Now, to the comments: with all of this in mind, what would you want to see in future League issues?

Score: 6/10

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Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.

Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch