Justice League of America #22 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Neil Edwards, Penciller; Daniel Henriques, Inker; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: The Queen’s Coronation
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The start of the next big arc in Justice League of America brings back one of Mark Waid’s biggest villains from his JLA run back in the 90s, The Queen of Fables. This powerful sorceress originally turned Earth into a playground for vicious fairytale creatures in an attempt to destroy her rival Wonder Woman, but this version has bigger plans. She’s reinvented herself as the Might Behind the Mirror, the behind-the-scenes big bad of this entire run – granting wishes with deadly consequences, and her latest victim is Killer Frost, who ended last issue mysteriously cured of her deadly powers. This issue flashes back to show how Caitlin, at her low after breaking her vow not to kill and thinking she was going to have to go back to the Suicide Squad, was broken down by the villain and eventually gave her exactly what she wanted. While at first, she’s happy to have her powers gone, the reaction of her teammates is very different.
Caitlin soon passes out, and the Queen of Fables promptly uses her body as a conduit to break free into the real world. She wastes no time defeating the Justice League, most of whom have no real defense against magic, and it becomes clear that she has some sort of obsession with Frost, viewing her as her sister. This is a common theme with the Queen of Fables, as she also originally viewed Wonder Woman as an allegory to someone else, in that case, her nemesis Snow White.
It’s rare to see a villain who combines cosmic power with delusion and insanity, and it makes the Queen a serious threat. Maybe a bit too much of the issue is devoted to the Queen monologuing, but between her quick takeover and the fact that she’s upgrading other villains with her wishes, she’s easily the biggest threat this version of the League has faced yet. Orlando’s tribute tour to the 90s in his various books continues, and I’m loving it.
Corrina: Ahem. The Queen of Fables, last seen (I think) in Gail Simone’s short Action Comics: Superman run some years ago, is actually a creation of Gail Simone. Waid wrote her first from his concept.
Onto the issue: the build-up to Caitlin being willing to trade humanity for the release of the Queen of Fables has been perfect and that Caitlin makes a deal with the devil not to protect herself but to protect humanity only adds poignancy to her choice. I cannot hate her, even if she should have seen the disaster coming. She’s been so used to causing the disaster that she leaped at any chance to prevent herself from doing it again.
The Queen has also destroyed the JLA’s relationship with the local people, who will now, when this is all over, see the team as a magnet for trouble, especially after Prometheus. I wonder if that means this series will come to an end? I hope not.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.