Okay, this is getting exhausting.
I like to think my reviews have a modicum of effort put into them. Whether or not you agree with my assessments, I tend to put a good few hours into each article I put up. I consider it a serious privilege to be able to post my thoughts to a platform where people pay attention to them, and I would never take that for granted.
But there comes a time, I think, where phoning it in becomes a statement on the book itself. So, let’s see if I can muster the energy to string together a coherent train of thought about this mess. Even Justice League Dark can’t make up for it.
Justice League Dark: A Knight Reborn
I’m a little torn on this book, really. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly good – I think anyone who’s read any issue preceding this one knows there’s a standard of quality that this book is quite good at meeting with each new instalment. But I have to say, I like Justice League Dark when it’s not focusing on the action so much as it is the horror! The presence of the Upside-Down man is creepy, certainly, but a few pages in and he already feels like a non-factor, second fiddle to the larger action scene we’re in. That’d be one thing, but the action sequence has been going on for quite some time.
On the other hand, V really knows how to write a team book. I won’t pretend everyone is useful here (what is Detective Chimp actually doing?), but many of them – old members of the team, new additions, and guests from the Justice League – all feel incredibly valuable and useful, from Ragman being Zatanna’s support to the Eternal Knight coming in at the eleventh hour with a shiny new outfit. V’s talents could really be used on the main JL title, or another team book that could use some sprucing up! That goes in equal part to Sumit Kumar, who delivers his usual output of an unusually high standard. Ragman is a great example of how his work can really shine: it’s not so much creepy as it is “epic”, but Ragman’s abilities are a phenomenal visual display of a supernatural being dedicating his powers to a greater cause.
All in all, an unsurprisingly solid effort from this team on this book! Not that it matters all that much, when it’s attached to the story below.
Justice League: The Biggest Score Ever
Yeah, that name’s gonna be ironic in about forty seconds.
I’m not gonna harp on this issue (primarily for my own health, really), but I am going to show you a few examples of how I feel both writer and artist have failed to communicate well enough to tell a good collaborative story. Just… take a look at this double page spread, here.
We’re going to disregard the dialogue (horrible throughout the entire issue, by the way), and we’re also going to disregard the insane amounts of negative space, where absolutely nothing is happening on this double-pager. Here, we’re going to focus on the arrows – which is the way the dialogue is, apparently, supposed to be read. This is not the first time I’ve brought this up in Bendis’ JL run, but it’s even more relevant here – not only is the action sometimes hard to follow, but now it’s extending to the way the characters interact in general! This is not a pleasing way for someone to read swathes of word vomit like this – and it leads directly into a panel that seems to come out of nowhere, after all that time spent waffling over nothing.
Oh, was this supposed to be a shocking moment? Was it preventable? Should we care? The characters don’t look like it. The next page the issues even continue into the colouring, where it looks like the characters are suddenly in space for a panel. I don’t know how else to visualize the word “sloppy” for this entire story.
I read this book, and all I can think about is how I wish I wasn’t putting time and effort into constructing anything resembling a critique for it. It’s books like these that make reviewing the endless procession of comic books so difficult – the aggressive mediocrity that tries to bore you into forgetting how much money you spent on it. Well, I’m not about that today. Aside from a moment or two of clever interactions in the first half of the book, I can’t think of any reason to give this a higher score.
…Jesus, this is only Part One.
- Honestly, maybe I should let the comments decide this time! Why would YOU buy this book?
- Please, I’d love a single reason.
A higher price point with a lower quality of storytelling and a backup that should very well be its own comic? It’s not a combination I like, but it’s bread and butter for Justice League. Unless something changes, that’s the way it’s gonna be for the forseeable future, too. I hate to say it… but, unfortunately, this book is most decidedly not nice.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch