Justice League #35 – Christopher Priest, Writer; Pete Woods, Artist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: What Have They Wrought?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Priest’s reinvention of the Justice League continues from last issue’s dramatic cliffhanger, which saw the League fail on a particularly tense mission, leading to the death of an innocent woman and Batman beginning to doubt himself. This issue pulls back from that, with Wonder Woman stuck dealing with the police trying to get her sword back, and Batman taking some much-needed time off.
Instead, this is a much lighter issue, calling back to – of all things – Priest’s Justice League Task Force run from the 90s. It starts with Jessica Cruz being startled in the League base by the arrival of a mysterious armored alien. After a brief battle, it turns out that the invader is actually Glenn Gammeron, J’onn J’onnz’ old alien ally. He’s on Earth seeking an escaped prisoner and enlists the League in his fugitive hunt.
That fugitive, though? Turns out to be an alien cockroach that plans to enlist the roach population of Earth into his army and build a hive mind. Barry Allen, Cyborg, Simon Baz, and teen ride-along recruit Wally West are tapped for the mission, which turns out to be a crazy race through San Francisco as they try to track down one roach among millions. There’s some great banter, and Priest manages to find the hidden depths in certain characters. There’s one page here that manages to do more interesting things with Cyborg than any of his solo series have. But when the issue gets serious, it manages to get some very creepy visuals out of our monster roach. It’s a great issue and another example of how good Priest’s team dynamic is. But before it’s over, the League’s past mistake comes back to haunt them in a big way, as the league becomes the victim of…social media?
This is easily the best the Justice League has been in years.
Corrina: One of the fascinating things (out of many) from this issue is that the entire initial confrontation between Jessica and Gammeron takes place not in English but in Spanish. It makes absolute sense that Jess might use Spanish when she’s startled and also makes sense that Gammeron, who must communicate in multiple languages, would answer back in Spanish. Woods’ art carries this sequence, even if you don’t understand the words. (And Google translate should help you out if you don’t.) It’s a terrific character moment that makes me want Priest to write Green Lanterns. But, then, I tend to want Priest to write everything. Like, say, Wonder Woman, because of her dialogue at the police station.
The overall plot of the cockroach infecting Earth tempts me to see it as some kind of metaphor but, mostly, it lines up nicely with the parallel plot: as the cockroaches spread and infect a city, the video goes viral and infects all of the internet. The difference is that taking down the original video and locking it away isn’t possible. No putting that genie back in the bottle.
It’s this kind of smart writing that is characteristic of all Priest’s work.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.