Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez return with an issue similar in quality to the last issue in the series. It’s seemed from very early on that this series is exactly what readers would expect from it. If you’re a huge fan of either of their work that might not be a bad thing, but it rarely comes off as either of their best work.
Is this really Justice?
There’s no way to beat around the bush: Bendis writes bad dialogue in this issue. Most characters sound wildly out of character, just there to force the plot Bendis wants to happen forward, or say some dumb thing he must’ve thought was clever. The only characters that feel as if Bendis decently understands their voice are Superman and Naomi.
Additionally, the actual writing is just dumb. Bendis, through Superman, attempts to make the argument that Black Adam should join the Justice League and fails spectacularly. Even the other characters in the book are unconvinced, and they spend most of the rest of the issue bitching at Superman for it.
Other times characters seem to manifest powers that they haven’t typically shown, such as Hippolyta being able to fly. In general, the series seems to have little regard for continuity outside of Bendis’s other works.
This isn’t to say the issue is horrible. It’s significantly better paced than the last, and leaves readers feeling as if they’ve moved the plot forward meaningfully. There are also some interesting implications in regard to the lore that’s being built. The issue connects Justice League #59’s antagonist Brutus to another DC villain and it’s an interesting association.
Sometimes the writing brings into doubt the book’s ability to convey these new lore developments in a concise and digestible way — specifically as these things apply to the new omniverse in DC, it seems the book may struggle to make that seem manageable.
It’s really Marquez’s work that makes this book somewhat worth picking up. He’s for the most part still in top notch form. The action is still crisp and the characters all well depicted.
There are a few small inconsistencies here that weren’t present in the last issue, however. For example Clark’s skin color can vary wildly between a vibrant, suntanned look, to a ghostly white. It’s not something that ruins the issue, but it can be distracting.
This issue is a small couple steps better than the first issue, but that was a bad issue. It’s something incredibly hard to recommend, despite the fact that most readers love these characters and there are really interesting lore implications for DC’s newest star. The flagship book for this company should be better than this.
Justice League Dark: In contrast to all of that, Ram V and Xermanico continue to bring readers an engrossing mystical epic. Cleverly playing on Future State: Justice League Dark, fantasy tropes and even the dialogue of the Justice League issue right before it, this story draws readers into a mesmerizing lived in world.
Each character here feels as if they have depth and history, which is used to effectively spur people into new roles, and challenge old relationships.
Ram V is also effectively teasing a threat in a way which builds incredible tension, and the sense that our heroes may genuinely be out of their depth. Plus, the pacing of the story allows for a couple splash page moments which feel like bigger deals.
Xermanico crafts this world with such a hard line that makes it feel dangerous. Characters are designed with hard, ragged edges and they scowl a lot. It’s a style that effectively establishes a tone that the world is in danger.
Plus, those two splash pages are absolutely beautiful.
Readers genuinely would get their money’s worth for this whole issue simply from this backup. The quality of work Ram V and Xermanico are bringing to the table is unparalleled in team books.
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