Friday, June 4, 2021

Review: Justice League #62

Justice League #62 came out this week and was another interesting middle chapter of this storyline exploring Naomi's version of Earth while simultaneously building a new team. 

Brian Michael Bendis is no stranger to team books and certainly no novice at putting together unconventional super-hero squads. His New Avengers was a hodgepodge of characters like Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman and Wolverine ... certainly not the classic Avengers we were used to when that book first came out.

And as someone who doesn't mind a little bit of a shake-up in JL teams (I am a big fan of James Robinson's Legacy JL team from a decade ago), the addition of new voices like Black Adam, Hippolyta, and Naomi adds a little new spice into the staid team of big sevens. Bendis writes characters well so seeing these members interact is great reading.

Add to that David Marquez near flawless art and you have a solid beginning to this era. Marquez is a master showing movement and energy. And this issue, predominantly a big splash page brawl across a devastated landscape lets  him cut loose. From maces to faces, sonic screams, and giant tanks, it is all magical. But his expressive work in the character scenes also shines.

It has to hang on the plot. I have been waiting for answers surrounding Naomi and her world and we are now 4 issues in and I still don't think I know much. So overall success is going to be in how this wraps up.

On to the book.

We start with Hippolyta visiting the Hall of Justice. 

Last issue she took off after besting Brutus, looking at Black Adam with disgust.

She has come to apologize for her behavior.

I gave a sad smile when I read the 'Young Justice merch is half off'. The Wonder Comics Young Justice is already deep in the rear view mirror. Their merch is even on clearance. Sad that book didn't get more time to grow. It is missed. Bet Bendis feels the same way.

Hippolyta passes on her apology and her complete befuddlement about the outside world to Flash. She doesn't understand us. And she wonders how Diana could.

Remembering that one thing Superman wants is new views and new members in the League, Flash offers her a seat at the table.

I love this panel though, showing the speed of the Flash. That massive blurred foot in the extreme foreground looks almost scribbled. And yet, in the context of the rest of the panel, it lets us know that the Flash is really motoring. Just eye grabbing in the best way.

In the middle of the conversation, Flash realizes his semi-Cosmic Treadmill probably sent the League somewhere they weren't supposed to go. His calculations to get the team to Naomi's world was in error. He sent them away on bad math. I laughed at that line. Poor Barry. Look at this shocked expression.

And I love that he rushes to get Mr. Terrific on the horn.

At least we know why the team was scattered when they made it Naomi's world.

On that Earth, our heroes are learning that everything isn't quite right. Superman and Black Adam are not as powerful here, taken out by Brutus. Naomi is fading away.

Meanwhile, others seem to be thriving. 

As we saw in last issue, Black Canary's scream has got a bit more kick here. She let's loose with a cry that sends Brutus flying into the horizon.

All these pages, with the heroes skirmishing with Brutus are beautiful. But this one is just spectacular. You feel that scream, Brutus just a fleck in the distance.

Late to the game is Aquaman. Last issue he woke up despondent and barely conscious.

Taken in by refugees in this war torn world, he says his despair came because he couldn't hear the ocean. 

I called that last issue. I know, not a big stretch. 

Getting his bearing, he knows he needs to join his friends. He jumps in this band's tank and ends up joining the fight.

The fight scenes are pretty fun. Brutus keeps reiterating that if he kills the League their Earth will be his for the taking. He is completely annoyed at Green Arrow peppering him with arrows. And that mace to his face moment is thrilling.

Finally we get just a smidge of information about this world.

Naomi flies out of the clutches of Brutus and sees her world from the 10,000 foot view. It is a pock-mocked dust bowl. Look at the surprise and sadness on her face.

I like this interaction and hope that Adam and Naomi become sort of friends on the team. He knows that her parents must have sacrificed much to save her from such a destiny. You get the sense that his years have taught him some lessons. 

But this is dystopian.

As the two streak back to the fight, they see an explosion.

The Flash has figured out the math and has brought him and Hippolyta in as reinforcements.

How I love this panel. Hippolyta has ended Brutus, knocking him out cold. She stands over him like a victorious gladiator ... or a hunter who has killed something. Even her banter about beheading anyone who challenges her is amazing! I don't mind Hippolyta being like this. It should (and does) contrast her from Diana.

But I'd wear this as a t-shirt. Just brilliant work by Marquez.

But this is sort of a rescue mission.

The Flash knows this world is slowly poisoning his friends. They need to get back home.

Before the return trip can start though, Zumbado has arrived. He has controlled this world. And now he is here to face off with Naomi and her new friends.

All right, as someone thirsty for information about Naomi, I like this cliffhanger. I can only imagine that chapter 5 will fill in some details. It better.

So yes, while this was mostly big art and a big punch-em-up it was entertaining and beautiful. There were enough character moments within the book to keep me happy. And maybe we took a little baby step forward in the plot.

Not much to complain about though!

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Yes indeed, that was so much fun it had me dancing the Zumbada.

I have no confidence we’ll learn much more than we already know about Naomi’s world, I think Bendis is likely saving that for the next mini series.

It’s fun to see Hippolyta, but so very weird to see her in tights.

Great review!

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere once that if someone could run as fast as the Flash, it would take them half the length of the United States to stop, and they'd dig a huge trench while doing it. So, a blurry foot would be the least of it!

As for Naomi's powers, the TV show is in production for the CW, so they are have to dramatize *something*, and perhaps it will be left up to them to define her power set.

It doesn't look like it's a Berlanti show, which means there is some hope Naomi's power set will be better defined than, say, Nia Nal's.

But maybe they'll just pick up on the Bendis approach to Naomi, which has been "Hey, I just go these powers 2 weeks ago and I have no idea what's going on." Then she'll be discovering powers as she goes along, and we may never get a definitive "answer."

This article talks about how open-ended her background still is:

https: // www . dccomics . com /blog/2021/05/24/its-official-naomi-tv-series-is-coming-to-the-cw

"...her own story is still largely yet to be explored, giving the newly greenlit CW series a pretty open canvas when it comes to what we should expect."


Bostondreams said...

I just LOVE the way Hippolyta is portrayed in this. Definitely an Amazonian Warrior Queen...