Monday, July 26, 2021

Review: Justice League #65

Justice League #65 was released last week and as it has a strong crossover feel with Checkmate. That makes me happy.

The book basically has two plots running concurrently. One is Black Canary and Ollie hashing out his involvement in the new Checkmate and the reveal of Daemon Rose's identity. There is some great dialogue here. And the Daemon reveal is quite the eye-opener. There is even a super-villain sighting and a small mystery.

The second plot is the attack by Synmar Utopica on the JL. This also has some great dialogue and some fun moments. It once again shows how Synmar is a worthy foe of Superman as he brings down the house around the team.

I very much enjoyed the issue. So I won't bury that fact. I read comics to be entertained and I was very much entertained. But it felt to me like this was an extension of the Checkmate book and that the Synmar plot was sort of a filler to keep the rest of the League present in the pages. I don't mind that at all. But I wonder about others.

Steve Pugh is again on art and brings a lot of energy to the action here. We get both street level scuffling and super-powered throwdowns and both flow nicely. 

On to the book!

Off in the woods somewhere, Ollie tells Dinah he is funding a new Checkmate. She isn't happy about his secrecy, both with her and the League.

He swears he was going to tell her.

I love her retort. This isn't like the time he had to confess to messing around with Livewire.

Is than an actual canon story??

They then confront Daemon Rose who they think was stalking them. He assures them if he was there to kill them, they would have been dead.

And then the bombshell.

He is a former ARGUS agent and Sam Lane's son. 

We'll need to hear more of his lineage. Is he Lois' brother or half-brother? Where as he been all this time? 

I am intrigued. But I want to hear from the hard core Lois fans. Good idea?

But before more talk can happen, the car blows up and out comes Deathstroke.

Nice art here and nice curveball in this otherwise chatty scene.

Meanwhile, Synmar and Superman are duking it out. The League needs to get all the visitors out safely and join in the fight. Batman tells the Wonder Twins to jump in because they need 'power'.

We get a classic 'Wonder Twin Powers ...ACTIVATE!' Warms my middle aged heart.

And then Zan becomes a bucket of water!! This was one of the things that boggled my child mind. How is that useful! Here it made me laugh! Bring the power ... as a bucket of water??


At least there is an explanation. He splashes into Aquaman to invigorate him!

Back when Synmar was fighting Superman in the Superman book, I struggled with his motivations.

In the end, I think his hatred of Superman stemmed from his own fallibility. He was set up to be his people's Superman but succumbed to the temptations of power. 

Here Superman says it outright. Attacking Superman won't bring Synmar any peace.

And this isn't a one on one fight. The rest of the League jumps into the fray.

I did like this side scene.

Naomi brings her parents down to the JLD basement to get them safe and see if any heroes are there to help.

Constantine can't help here.

I love how he gladly says he'll stay below.

Back up top, Naomi distracts Synmar long enough for Superman to toss him into space briefly.

I wonder if Synmar can sense her power level and that gave him pause. 

Please please please give us a list of her powers and more description of how strong she is.

But Synmar turns out to be really tough. He takes out Superman, Hippolyta, and Hawkgirl.

Batman sends out an all League alert. He even wonders if they should call in big hitters like Shazam, Black Adam, or Supergirl (woo hoo!!)

Batman demands that the remaining League defend the Hall. I don't know if that is simply because of the people in it, the data held in there, or the symbol of it. But it doesn't matter. Synmar brings down the house.

He is a tough villain.

Meanwhile, Deathstroke and the heroes have some banter before they brawl. And this Deathstroke doesn't talk like THE Deathstroke. Even Ollie sees that.

This has to be Mark Shaw himself in some Leviathan cloak. We have seen that Shaw will get personal when he has to. This sort of playful quipping is consistent with his speech. And perhaps this shows just how pivotal and dangerous Shaw feels Daemon Rose is.

It is Shaw. This time I'm right.

But this standoff ends with everyone injured and unconscious.

Two cliffhangers in one book!

As I said above, I was very engaged with this book and very entertaining. I can't ask for more. As usual for a Bendis book, the interaction between the characters is the best part. 

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Another fun issue, but it felt a tad rambling - we’re no further on as regards why Synmar has shown up, that new UP super team were absent, Naomi’s powers remain a mystery… and the big reveal clears up something we won’t actually know is a mystery until this week’s Checkmate asks us, ‘Who is Daemon Rose?’

And what a daft reveal it was… Lois has a secret brother. I do not like, it’s such a cliche, and he’ll likely vanish after this story, like Diana’s secret brother and secret sister - remember them? Few do.

To be honest, I don’t want Checkmate here, they already a book, and I’m not as big a fan of Leviathan as you. OK, have a panel or two acknowledging Ollie’s involvement, but crossovers? No ta.

Anj, I don’t think that ‘Deathstroke’ was confirmed as Mark Shaw, check out that penultimate page again.

Steve said...

The secret sibling trope doesn't bother me anymore. Done badly, it's hardly more than one story arc. Done well the stories are so good you don't mind the implausibility. With this one, Rose needs to have found Sam in at least young adulthood. Anything that undermines the root of Lois's relationship with her father is verboten.

And I hate Ollie in his new and unlikely position of power. At least the Livewire thing confirms he's still the same old dirtbag.