Regular humans turning against or otherwise becoming weary of superhumans is a common plot thread in superhero comics, and now Justice League is putting its spin on it. Written by Christopher Priest, drawn and inked by Philippe Briones, colored by Gabe Eltaeb, and lettered by Willie Schu, Justice League #37 expands on the human/superhuman tension from previous issues and adds in a new villain to boot. Does the issue manage said plot threads successfully? Is it good?
This issue’s strongest aspect is likely the villain it introduces. He’s essentially a fanboy gone bad, and the disturbing nature of his actions is enhanced by the fact that he dresses up in a Hal Jordan-style Green Lantern uniform. He’s the spitting image of Hal, and the reveal of him wearing the suit is one of the issue’s most striking images. I’m not totally sold on the idea of the League taking on what is essentially just a regular dude (he’s by no means as cool as Prometheus), but it is cool to see what a non-powered citizen of the DC universe thinks of the Justice League.
Unfortunately, the Justice League itself isn’t all that interesting here. None of their personalities really shine except for a few split-second interactions that tap into their most expected attributes. Batman shocking people with how stealthily he moves around? I’m used to that. A quick grumble between Flash and Cyborg? Less predictable, but still not very insightful. I’m all for series having issues that focus in on villains and supporting characters, but if they do so then I want that character work to make the time spent away from the main cast feel worth it. While the villain here was well enough written, I’m not convinced that they were unique enough to merit shifting so much attention away from the League itself.
Art-wise, this issue isn’t bad, but it’s not very memorable either. All the basics are crossed off: consistent anatomy, clear storytelling, etc. With that said, most of the issue lacks visual oomph. The previously mentioned shot of the antagonist dressed as Hal Jordan is effective, as are some shots of Superman in action and Batman blending in with shadows as he does. All in all the artwork is functional with few significant flaws, I just wish it brought more memorable personality and energy.
Overall, Justice League #37 is a decent issue. The newly introduced villain is promising and the art has few major downsides. Unfortunately, it also lacks major upsides. Minus an imposing panel or two, this issue feels like superhero storytelling as usual rather than a unique or thrilling tale set within that genre. If you’re a major Justice League fan then I would pick this issue up, but if you’re a non-enthusiast with limited funds then I would pass on it.
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