Si Spurrier and Aaron Lopresti are delivering a momentous conclusion to their story of the Justice League becoming rulers of an alien planet. This story arc has been unique in part because it shows these superheroes not necessarily agreeing on their approach. It also weaves in an interesting look at aliens who have explicit division built into their culture. How can the Justice League stop a war when the people can barley work together? Find out in Justice League #50!
This story started with the team helping an alien planet only to fall into power as their leaders. In issue #50, they continue to lead, but things aren’t going so hot between the members. Batman, for instance, seems to disagree with every action the team takes. He takes issue with the team leading a planet, but they’re only good at punching things and not much else. Writer Si Spurrier does a good job blending the difficulty of leading with the inherently unethical nature of the Justice League imposing their own beliefs on an alien culture.
Further, Spurrier continues to show how this culture functions. In large part, the message remains clear that we should never presume we know better, but that doesn’t mean we can’t root out behavior that is wrong or manipulative. By the end of the issue, the purpose of the title is further helped by a masterful use of Wonder Woman, a character that largely believes in truth and justice above all else.
The art by Lopresti continues to be good, with great detail in war scenes, and subtle details in the alien world. You see it when a wall seems to be organic, or the weirdness in the alien fleet of warships. Other small details help define moments and characters like Diana’s space helmet, or the folds in an alien slugs head. The book blends superheroes and science fiction largely due to Lopresti’s attention to detail. The colors by David Baron keep the book looking bright, and it helps define the aliens as well.
Similar to my feelings with issue #48, the book does seem to be more of a Wonder Woman yarn than a Justice League story. Flash and Green Lantern are certainly there in scenes, but they play minor roles. Superman also takes a step back, being more of a symbol of bullheaded leadership that keeps failing and thus stops speaking out.
Batman is also oddly used, mostly because it suggests Batman is not prepared for everything–a significant disconnect from his use in modern comics. A twist using Batman is also quickly swept under the rug. Still, considering how many creators have built up Batman’s super-power being ready for anything, it seems like an oversight to move along so quickly. At its core, Batman is used to move the plot along and create a sense of discord in the team and keep readers guessing, but it’s too simplistic given the complexities built into the story so far. Further, Wonder Woman utilizes a trick to resolve things that seems decidedly not her cup of tea. It does link to the power of storytelling, but it seems like a white lie more than anything else. In both cases, the characters seem different from how they’re typically used in the modern era.
Overall, though, this is a good wrap up to a story arc about leadership and imposing ideals on another culture. I did have issues with the use of the team, and ultimately Wonder Woman seems to go against something she tends to fight for always. That said, it’s a different kind of Justice League tale worthy of your attention.