Monday, April 26, 2021

Review: Justice League #60

Justice League #60 came out this week and was simply a great issue. We are in the Brian Michael Bendis era of the League and we are in the early stages of his team coming together. There is an underlying plot, the incursion of powerful aliens from Naomi's home dimension. But for me, the juice of this issue, like the one before, is the character interactions as the team comes together.

This issue we get some fun Naomi moments. We get some great Hippolyta moments. We get some informative Black Adam moments. But the axle the book spins around is Superman. I suppose I am biased but I am loving how Superman is the inspirational leader here. And I love seeing how people around him respond. 

I loved how Bendis wrote Superman so I am thrilled to still get him on the character.

David Marquez remains on art and his stuff is just wondrous. I love the expressive work on the characters. You can see what they are thinking easily. The action spots are kinetic and dynamic. And it all is so smooth. Dazzling. 

A solid start to a new direction! I am very happy.

On to the book.

Last issue, Brutus' incursion was traced back to Naomi's land. 

This issue starts with Black Adam confronting her.

But before he can do much of anything, Superman bounces him from the club. 

While Superman seems to have some faith in Black Adam, he isn't going to leave him alone with kids.

The best thing about this is the art. That is a determined look on Superman. And the body language on Black Adam shows he is just a notch below Superman in strength. That lower panel shows Superman not straining at all while Adam is using both arms and his legs and body weight to break free.

That's a lot of visual information. 

Naomi catches up to the two and Superman and Black Adam both agree that anything Naomi has to say should be heard by everyone. So off they go to the Hall of Justice where Naomi says what she knows about her world.

But I love this 2 panel progression.

She is stunned to be in the presence of Superman and Black Adam. 
She is stunned to be in the Hall of Justice.

That wide-eyes stare by Marquez is perfect.

Before Naomi can too far into what she knows, the League calls a sidebar.

How could Superman invite Black Adam, you know ... a super-villain, into the ranks.

This is where Superman rises and Bendis shines.

Ollie had just said the League needed new viewpoints. Adam has been alive a long time. And he has been doing straight up heroic things recently. Superman wants to give Adam a chance to rise to the occasion. 

He has that outlook in life, thinking the best of people.

I like how Ollie knows that Superman is so above the fray and so beloved and so pure that to go against him is to sound 'vaguely evil or nuts'.

One thing that I have to say about Bendis' Superman, he is really the best person in the room and he makes you want to do what is best. 

But even that talk is interrupted.

Brutus is back. 

The League heads to Central City where they find Hippolyta in a crater.

Turns out Brutus came through a portal into Themyscira. The two battled and Brutus only left when he saw the Amazons were organizing. He teleported out to Central City and Hippolyta followed. He struck her as hard as she has ever been struck.

But once more he decided it was time to run, heading back to his home.

Check out this page of the battle on Themyscira. I love the palpable feel Marquez gives that spear strike in the center panel. Just great art.

Just when it looks like the team might have another ally, Hippolyta sees that Black Adam stands among them and takes off.

I like how Superman is being the upstanding bystander for Black Adam, trying to talk him up.

The silent panel with 'Lyta looking away is also powerful. 

But the crater gives some clues. There is an energy residue that Batman can use. They can head to Naomi's world and close the portal capability from the other side.

In a bit of comic book science, Barry is able to make a cosmic treadmill big enough for the League. It is toy-etic with little pads for all the members, their logos present. Pretty cool.

Before they leave, the team does a little experiment. Remember, Hawkwoman's Nth metal mace went wild around Brutus. It does not have the same effect with Naomi. So it isn't a universal response to Naomi's dimension.

But 14% cooler?

Clearly the right answer is the mace makes her 20% cooler.

Naomi gives one more warning before the team goes through. Only the toughest beings will have survived on her world.

So Flash starts running. He will need to remain behind but everyone else will go through the portal.

I love this page. The angle of the rows give the sense of someone running in a circle, like a cyclone. The panels becoming smaller adds a feeling of speed. And the growing yellow energy makes it  feel even more dynamic, more kinetic. 

Just gorgeous.

So much to like here. Lets start with the art. Just brilliant.

Add the fun character moments and some great action and you have an all around wonderful issue. 

People should be reading this book.

Overall grade: A


Steve said...

It's like Bendis is using only positive lessons he learned from previous team books. I still wish Naomi had a super-hero name though.

Oh and I worry that Javins upholding Didio's dark legacy at DC means we'll lose Superman here when they have Jon replace his dad elsewhere.

Martin Gray said...

I’d love Naomi to have a hero name too, and for her powers to do. something specific

Top review Anj, I agree with everything. I’m so pleased that while the Superman books have become less fun, we still get Bendis’s version here, and he’s said more elements of his run are coming. Ted Cloud?

Anonymous said...

Marquez's art is tremendous. Wonderfully expressive.

I like the way Bendis writes, and this is no exception.

While I don't love comic book logic, the worst examples of it these days are on the CWTV shows, where no plot points are rooted in anything whatsoever. Jesse Rath is forced into massive monologues of pseudo-science exposition which amount to "I invented a framistat and then connected it to a doohickey." It's always a new, never-before seen, all-purpose framistat.

The cosmic treadmill is goofy, but it's been hopping dimensions since the 1960s, so I consider it well-established science. Just like Flash's costume and ring. The costume simply fits in there, because of Navy life rafts. These are fundamentals, verified over decades.