Justice League #34 – Priest, Writer; Pete Woods, Artist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Fascinating Beginning
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!
Ray: After a largely uninspired run on Justice League by the previous creative team, followed by several fill-ins and issues tied into other books and events, the news that Deathstroke writer Priest was coming on board for at least one extended arc (no word beyond that) was greeted with applause. And based on this first issue, it’s clear that applause was warranted. Priest’s writing is very different than that of any Justice League writer before him, and that leads to a tense, action-packed issue that delivers a serious emotional punch. Essentially a day in the life of the Justice League, it chronicles an assortment of crises that the team has to balance, dispatching different members to each. But at its core, it’s an extremely human story about one member – Batman – and the fact that he’s only human.
Batman runs on a few hours of sleep a day, so he can be both Batman and Bruce Wayne. We’ve all been run ragged by a crazy schedule – what happens when a man who does that has the fate of the world in his hands? From an alien invasion, to an earthquake and tsunami, to a tense hostage situation, each crisis quickly spirals further out of control, and as Batman tries to coordinate the best use of the team, it starts to wear on him. The issue has some great moments for all the members of the League, with Simon Baz and Aquaman in particular stealing the show in places. The action can be chaotic, making the dialogue a tiny bit hard to follow at times. But that’s a very minor issue, compared to what’s easily the most compelling issue of this series so far. I’m hoping that Priest is on this title for the long haul – this is the most promising start to a Justice League run I can remember.
Corrina: Various writers on Justice League in the past have handled Batman as uber-competent, the man with the plan, the one who can take down the entire League if needed, the one with all the right answers. Oh, sure, sometimes he fails but not because of issues with his competence but because he’s emotionally distant and unavailable.
This is not the Batman in this comic.
This Bruce Wayne is more human than ever before. He’s still a hero, and he’s still able to do things that no human should, but his work has begun to take his toll, especially on decisions that can affect an entire planet or galaxy.
It’s a terrific opening concept for a story and, within it, Priest handles the rest of the team well, nailing their personalities in short action sequences that are terrifically rendered by Woods, especially the supposed alien invasion armada headed to Earth. I would love to see the League become more of an emotional give-and-take for its members rather than a rapid response action team and it seems like that is going to be explored in this arc. We’ll see. Priest is a smart writer who can pack more themes and concepts into a single issue than anyone else, so this may also go to unexpected places.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.