The bi-monthly Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes returns this week for its third issue. The series has featured impressive art by Scott Godlewski and Ryan Cody and done the unthinkable: sent the Justice League to the far future! It’s a series that has impressively integrated many characters in every scene while supplying longtime DC Comics fans with the fun of the Great Darkness returning. Oh, there’s also a Gold Lantern mucking about!
While the title suggests these teams are fighting, they are in fact working together the best they can. It’s unclear why the series has this title at this point, but it is clear they must turn against one of their own at one point. Maybe that spurs a conflict, but so far everyone has been rather peaceful as the threat of the Great Darkness looms.
You can see that threat firsthand in the second and third pages in yet another impressive double-page splash by Godlewski. The Gold Lantern is stuck in our time while the rest of the characters were shot into the future, yet somehow they can see the same splotchy Great Darkness cloud at the same time. Trippy. This book is truly impressive looking, from the great sunset lighting in one scene to fantastic splashy pages. This book is event-level looking in quality.
Brian Michael Bendis opens the issue well with his customary recap pages, this time told by future A.I. Computo. This effectively allows anyone to drop into the story with no trouble at all. Floating to the top in this ensemble story is Batman and Brainiac which makes sense since they’re both the smartest guys in the room. Their scenes and dialogue are on point.
For entertainment value, Bendis also drops in a few surprises. Cameos will have longtime fans of these characters squeal with joy. There’s at least one that’s going to tip the scales as far as how this story pushes on. Of course, for a book with so many characters, it is a bit of a surprise we’re getting even more. It’s obvious you can’t give every character a ton to do and say, but with fewer group shots than there were in the first issue a lot of the characters in this series fall into the background. It’s a common thing in these big superhero team books, but since it was done so well early on it’s a bit of a disappointment here.
This issue is unfortunately light on answers. Even though we’re three issues into the story, we’re still introducing the characters to new troubles as they continue to try to figure out what is going on and what to do. By establishing new characters into the bunch and new locations, it’s starting to feel like the narrative is a bit all over the place. Since we’re still seemingly setting things up, the stakes are starting to feel not very high at all. The threat is obvious, but it seems like there’s all the time in the world here and no firm ground to expect what comes next.
Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes is one of the cleanest and best-looking comics on the stands. The story is fun as it features so many heroes, but it’s also erratic as it continues to figure out what it wants to be about. It’s a fun ride and a good journey well worth a look for fans of DC Comics, but it lacks stakes and a solid direction.
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