This book is a weird one to review. Recently, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at the consistent level of quality we’re seeing from Justice League – especially when it’s serving the role of a tie-in to a larger event that I don’t have many positive feelings for. Joshua Williamson, Xermanico and Robson Rocha are telling a compelling, well-paced story in the pages of this comic: featuring characters that needed a spotlight of their own, outside of the frenetic pace of Death Metal proper. I enjoy reading about it, and I enjoy writing about it! Logically, there’s no problem – which, ironically, might be a problem in and of itself. I’m not sure what else I can say in this review that I haven’t covered before.
The issue is primarily action-driven, which is fine – we’re approaching the climax of the arc, after all. The issue is mostly dedicated to the team thinking of how to release the Legion of Doom from Perpetua’s throne, and it does a pretty good job of it! It was a wise call for Williamson to split the action between two groups: Hawkgirl vs Mindhunter, and Nightwing and Detective Chimp collecting the rest of the team. While there aren’t as many smaller moments like what you’d see in earlier issues, Williamson manages to hold the narrative together by focusing on two important character beats along the way.
First, we see a culmination of Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter’s romance, taking place as the heroes fight the Dark Multiverse Batman who has taken Manhunter’s powers. Mindhunter is a great villain for this arc, because he manages to provide an interesting physical and emotional challenge for our two characters from the Justice League in Scott Snyder’s run. Watching the pair unite to defeat him – and reuniting on an emotional level – is satisfying, even if I was never sure I enjoyed the romance in the first place. There’s a level of relief the two have upon seeing each other that’s believable and compelling, and it helps with keeping the audience invested.
Then, there’s Detective Chimp. Over the past few issues, Chimp has probably had the best ongoing arc of everyone in the ragtag “Justice League”. He’s a character who’s experienced a lot of pain recently, from the loss of Nightmaster to the later loss of his team. Having a character like him – who’s always been a surprisingly involved player in Snyder’s DC epic – take centre stage in this issue, showing his worth as a hero when his team needs it most, is very fun to read. He’s definitely the highlight of the issue, and part of the reason the action is easy to follow along.
The other reason the action is easy to follow? Robson Rocha. This guy is an absolute all-star, and his work is part of why I get excited to read these issues. There’s an element of stating the obvious when I talk about him – I mean, you’re looking at the same art as I am, you can tell it’s good. That said, inspecting it for further analysis is an absolute delight, because it allows me to pick up on a lot of nuances. The expressions on Detective Chimp’s face are wonderful: they allow for a level of acting that you often don’t see with animal characters, and it reminds you of how much respect the comic is affording him. The way Rocha handles Mindhunter’s transformation is also incredibly deft; you can see elements of both Martian Manhunter and Batman in the design, along with the demonic depictions of bats like Barbatos. It creates a striking series of images across the issue, and it amounts to a very well-executed tie-in. But really, if you’re four issues in, you should know that yourself by now.
- You’re excited for the culmination of Martian Manhunter’s and Hawkgirl’s stories in Justice League.
- Detective Chimp taking the spotlight excites you – he has some amazing moments here!
- Well really, who’s jumping into the fourth issue of this arc without knowing what they’re into?
This is a comparatively short review, because a lot of what I want to say about the work going into this comic has already been said, several times, by me. That’s a good problem to have, though! It shows that this book is providing a consistent level of quality, to the point where all I can do to voice my approval is nod and say “carry on”. I might have more to say about the concluding issue, but for now I’ll leave things at a hearty “nice work”. This is one of the best tie-ins I’ve reviewed for this website so far, and it’s nice to feel good about reading Justice League!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch