Friday, September 17, 2021

Review: Justice League #67

Justice League #67 came out this week, wrapping up the Synmar Utopica storyline while further introducing us to the United Order. It also nudges the Checkmate story a baby step down the road. This is an issue that has a couple of very solid moments. But there are a couple of things about the story that don't sit quite right.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis continues to shine when it comes to Superman and Lois. I love the way Superman is portrayed here. He still wants to convince the villain to reform. He doesn't want to make his enemy suffer. And he can still rally the troops around him. But the defeat of Synmar happens a bit too quickly and a bit too familiarly. I still am rubbing my chin about Daemon Rose. 

The art here is done by Phil Hester and there is an appropriate sharpness to the works. Everything is angular and harsh, befitting an issue that is almost entirely a brawl. And he handles the different alien races of the United Order well.

Still, the Superman stuff is solid enough to nudge this book up a but in the grade.

The issue starts with Daemon Rose (nee Leonardo Lane) doing some surgery on himself, pulling bullets out of his arm. The Daemon Rose codename was given to him by Sam Lane himself.

His phone rings. It's Lois wondering why 'Leo' was fighting with Green Arrow and Black Canary. Was he intentionally keeping them away from the fight at the Hall of Justice. 

Now 'Leo' sounds awful familiar and sisterly. Has she always known about him? Enough to call him a nickname? Has she hidden him from Clark all these years? Or is this going to be an Omniverse 'soft reboot'?

Always good to see the Planet Pit though.

And Daemon Rose is talking to someone in his safe house. Hmmm ... who could that be?

Bout the biggest roster of JLAers is still brawling with the Synmar Utopica when the United Order joins in.

We get brief little 'Who's Who' for the team, each member highlighted with some dialogue to give us a sense of their personality and a little bio.

Hawkslayer? How 90s!

I wouldn't mind a one-shot or a mini-series of the team to get a better sense of them. Maybe bring in Vril Dox to be a little reboot of L.E.G.I.O.N.?

As I said, we get all the JLAers here.

I love the surprise from Firestorm when Black Adam starts to be a field commander. 

Strange days indeed.

Simple dialogue flair like this goes a long way with me.

Synmar is crazy powerful, shrugging off the combined attack of all the heroes. Throughout the fight, Batman keeps telling Superman that Clark knows what he has to do. But Superman keeps saying no.

So the fight goes on.

Perhaps the United Order member that I am most intrigued about is DivineQ, the MegaDaxamite. 

What is it about her that makes her Mega? Blue skinned? I like how she was the one who came up with the idea of the team. And she has some serious intestinal fortitude, flying in to melee with Synmar on her own. 

Well, if Superman won't do what Batman thinks he should, then Batman will do it himself.

The Dark Knight gets the Phantom Zone projector from ruined Hall and sends Synmar to the Zone.

It is a little bit too easy and almost expected at this point. We have seen Bendis use the projector to get rid of other major villains like Rogol Zaar.

But the juice here is Superman' s reluctance to use the Projector. I think he knows the hell the Zone is. He doesn't wish that on his enemies. And there is more.

Batman tries to explain his reasons behind using it. Synmar is gone. The thousands (if not more) people saved because Synmar is gone is reason enough to send him away.

But you get the sense that Superman is incensed. I mean, that last panel, the extended hand and the shadowed eyes, is just brilliant. The projector is a Kryptonian device. It is his technology. It's his decision.

I don't mind there being some friction between Batman and Superman; they are sort of opposites. I just don't like it when they are enemies. But this also plays nicely into the bristly Superman in Action Comics as well. 

And maybe Superman should ask Batman why he hasn't asked to use the Projector on the Joker. 

This was the scene of the book for me.

There is more to Superman's reluctance to use the Projector.

He doesn't like using it because it was developed by his father. He doesn't think as highly of Jor-El as he used to. Maybe he doesn't want to use something associated with a tainted legacy.

The panel with Naomi also intrigued me. Remember, in some ways her origin is very similar to his. She still thinks her parents are the unblemished heroes who saved her, sacrificing themselves. Maybe she is starting to worry that her folks might also have had feet of clay.  Maybe she is happy that her folks were heroes. Maybe this is a little foreshadowing by Bendis.

Either way, I liked it.

The United Order think, perhaps, they should take the Phantom Zone Projector with them.

Superman says they are welcome to try. 

I love how without a word, the League just rallies around him, getting in their most 'don't sing it ... bring it' poses.

Now that is Superman. 

Will we see the Order brawl with the League next issue? 

But the issue ends on another cliffhanger. Not one ... but a bunch of Deathstrokes attack Daemon Rose. maybe he's Multiplex in disguise? 

And is the blue Kirby Krackle in the background a sign that Deathstroke was sent there via Leviathan teleportation?

You know, as I reviewed the book, I realized I liked it more than I thought I had. Yes, the Projector is a bit of a cop out to end the Synmar threat. But the rest was pretty solid. And I love the Superman stuff. 

Overall grade: B+/B


Bostondreams said...

Off-topic: I'm sure you saw the solicit for World of Krypton, with baby Kara on the cover? Woohoo! :)

Martin Gray said...

Great post, and I am so jealous at your point about the Joker!

Anj said...

Thanks Mart.

It just seemed like Batman was being a hypocrite. He can't just throw an 'end justifies the means' card out there when his rogues are a murderous group who keep on murdering.

John (somewhere in England) said...

To go off-topic again, it's good to see the return of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and "Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes is coming to DC in 2022."