Review – Justice League #40: Escape From the Satellite

Comic Books DC This Week

Justice League #40 – Priest, Writer; Pete Woods, Artist; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist


Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Stunning Action Sequences


Ray: Priest’s Justice League continues its twelve-issue run with Justice League #40, an action-packed issue that pairs the two current Justice League teams in a battle to survive. The issue kicks off at the scene of the last issue, where class tensions over a recent chemical disaster have pitted two sides of the same town against each other – with the two Leagues in the middle. Cyborg is sympathetic to the poor, mostly minority protesters, but the rest of the League is skeptical and wants to leave it to the first responders. Priest’s grasp of social issues is usually fantastic, but these segments are a little bit clunky – there are too many sides, and the rest of the League’s explanation that the other side of town was in more critical danger is logical. However, this is more of a distraction than anything – one set up by the Fan, or at least someone working with him. They ambush Aquaman on the Watchtower and set it into a chaotic collision course.

It was easy to roll my eyes when the main crisis of the issue presented itself – how many times do we see the Watchtower start to fall out of orbit per year? I’m pretty sure it’s happened in Trinity, and at least once in Hitch’s Justice League run recently. But Priest manages to save this time-worn plot by focusing it entirely on the members of the League stuck on the falling satellite, as they have to make hard decisions about who will live and who will die. The difference between the two Leagues – one made up of icons, the other of a scrappy band of younger heroes – is very clear here, and Frost even speculates that the world needs the elites more than they do them. But it’s Cyborg’s moment to shine as a leader, and he pulls the two teams together into an elaborate, never-say-die plan with Frost as the crux for survival. There are a few iffy moments in this issue, unlike most of Priest’s issue, but it closes strong.

Corrina: As Ray suggested, this issue is filled with some pieces that don’t fully work, though it is interesting to see the thoughts of the various Justice League members about handling natural disasters. Normally, we see our heroes swoop in and save the day but, here, the focus is on the logistics needed to make this kind of rescue/recovery work, especially in coordination with emergency services. Is it possible the League is overlooking the economic inequity or are they just putting the resources where they’re needed? Typically, Priest does not answer this question and lets the reader ponder it for themselves.

The other half of the book, set in the satellite, should be just another “and the satellite comes down” sequence and yet it’s not. First, because Woods’ art is all that you could ask for a space disaster sequence. We talk so much of writers in these reviews and that’s our bad because comics is a collaborative medium. The story is first experienced through the visuals–if the art doesn’t work, nothing does. Woods is handling a familiar event, the destruction of the satellite, in his own unique way, with views of the satellite from many sides and many angles that provide an overall perspective of the impending disaster.

What Priest does to enhance this art is what he always does, which is dig deep into characters and find things that are part of their essential core–such as Wonder Woman’s insistence that everyone survive–or pieces of their personalities and power sets that other writers haven’t thought to use and expose those as well. That’s what’ elevates this issue (and most of his work) over so many other similar tales.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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