Today marks the beginning of Si Spurrier’s story arc on Justice League. He’s a writer who has shown incredible imagination, ingenuity, and thoughtful storytelling ability throughout his books like Alienated, The Dreaming, and Hellblazer just to name a few recent titles. This week, he joins forces with Aaron Lopresti to tell a superhero tale that takes our heroes to strange new alien worlds, but we soon learn that meddling in alien affairs has its price.
Justice League #48 has everything you’d want in a superhero team story: Good banter between teammates, solid use of each hero’s powers and abilities, and an adventure that sets the team on a mission you’ve never seen before. The plotting is quite good too, shifting the narrative every few pages to keep your interest up and the surprises coming. There is a lot here as far as alien culture, as the team discovers a new alien not on the Green Lantern registry and with it comes some hard choices for the team to make. If you’re interested in a narrative that reveals something entirely new, while trying to find deeper meaning underneath it all, you’ll dig this book.
This issue also offers a fun moment for Superman fans to chew on. Spurrier writes a good Justice League because conflict is ever-present — this team doesn’t necessarily agree on everything, nor do they check in with each other before making choices. Essentially, we get to see Spurrier make a statement about Superman and his choice, which helps add color to the character personalities.
The art by Lopresti, with inks by Matt Ryan and colors by David Baron, is good as it’s clean, detailed enough, and not overly stylized. The book has a good deal of dialogue and Lopresti never goes overboard with layout design or splashy pages. There’s a strong double page layout that details the culture of the alien races well, and facial expressions are on point. Superman doesn’t quite have a matching face in every panel, but it gets the emotions across. The creature design is excellent and there are some standout designs that made me think, “No way a movie could pull off something so cool.”
Spurrier is only writing this series for three issues (though there is an extra-sized 50th issue coming), and I can’t help but see this as a fantastic trial run for future Spurrier-written Superman or Justice League stories. This book is an excellent superhero comic due to the inventive nature of the alien race, the great plotting that keeps you on your toes, and the way the superheroes are individuals and not a singular voice. This is good sci-fi storytelling and even better team superhero comics.