And with that, Robert Venditti’s run on Justice League is over!

…Yes, you’re right, that did happen last issue. I happened to not notice it, on account of reading the wrong solicitation for this issue. In my defense, it’s hard to tell at first. In the first issue of Simon Spurrier’s “The Rule”, Aaron Lopresti’s art carries over from Venditti’s run – and this arc seems to be just as superfluous and meandering as the last two. On the bright side, this is at the very least an interesting premise.

Much like classic literary masterpieces such as Hamlet and Great Expectations, we begin with the Justice League stopping a weird space monster from attacking a spaceship; not particularly enthralling, but setting up the tone for the rest of the book. In this scene, we see a lot of back and forth between members of the League, yet the only comments that feel distinct are between Wonder Woman and Superman (and maybe Flash). While Flash is about as corny as you’d expect, and Superman’s “true blue boyscout” attitude is charming enough to remain convincing, I don’t feel the same about Wonder Woman. She’s awfully patronizing of the rest of the League, and with good cause; throughout this issue, she manages to be completely right about almost everything going on, as Superman accidentally embroils them deeper and deeper into the political conflict of the planet they’re visiting. Is the premise fun? Sure! I like the League being placed in weird positions, and being put in charge of a planet is as good a concept as any. Do I believe it? Not really – especially not if it involves the men of the team (where’s Hawkgirl?) consistently ignoring Diana, and Diana throwing barbs at them as if this isn’t a group that has well earned a level of trust well beyond what this issue expects us to believe.

Other than that, there’s not much to say about this first issue. At least in Venditti’s short run, he established some tension between several members of the cast that would pay off in later issues – built both on actions he established in his book and larger continuity as a whole. Here, we see what I have to assume is conflict between Superman and Wonder Woman, but it’s not really character drama when Clark spends the entire issue looking bewildered that his actions have consequences. The other members of the League do nothing to speak of, which makes me wonder if this Batman News site can get away with ignoring this book until Dick Grayson shows up in the Death Metal tie-in (yes, it’s because I’m feeling lazy, sue me).

The lore of this new planet is alright, but that’s probably only because of Lopresti’s art. The aliens are cool, mainly because their two factions are interesting developments of their base yellow form: mechanical parts covering one faction, and organic purple tissue covering the other. Other than that, I can’t really give much praise to what I’m seeing. The action is mundane, the style isn’t very distinctive – it honestly reminds me of the art I might see in an advertisement – and the expressions are occasionally too goofy to take seriously. It makes for a full package that is… well, what can I even say that you haven’t heard before at this point? This book is treading water, and the 500-word minimum for my reviews feels particularly weighty today (even if I ended up writing beyond that anyway).

Recommended If…

  • Justice?
  • You want to see Wonder Woman glaring at her coworkers.
  • League?

Overall

Apologies if this review isn’t as in-depth as some of my other content, but I’m honestly not sure what to say about this book. The annoying thing about it is that it isn’t even bad! It’s fine? I chuckled once, I think the premise is decent for a one-off story, and it definitely could get better. But it’s even more expensive than ever to get DC comic books here in Australia, and that weighs on my mind more and more every time I read a mediocre issue of a book that continues to hit me with directionless content. DC’s Black Label is solid, I love its Young Adult content, and I approve of their attempts to appeal towards the profitable market of full-length books and collected trades; that’s where I think the future of comics might lie! But if it’s not too much trouble, please remember that you’re still selling these floppies – and maybe do something substantial with them if you want people to keep buying them.

Score: 4/10

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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