Justice League #42 – Priest, Writer; Pete Woods, Artist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Not Dead Yet!
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Justice League #42, the penultimate issue of Priest’s run before Snyder, Tynion, and Williamson come in to blow everything up, has a lot to do, and unlike most issues of his run, I’m not sure everything landed. It’s still easily the most ambitious Justice League run I can remember, with an overtly political bent and major developments for multiple characters, but it almost feels overwhelming at times this issue. The opening page of the issue has Jessica and Simon discussing the weird kiss with Batman, which I still don’t quite get. It didn’t seem to go anywhere, and the fact that Jess knew he was engaged (as confirmed this issue) makes the whole plot rather icky. The issue then picks up in the aftermath of Wonder Woman’s shooting, which is revealed to be a near-fatal neck shot. Priest’s take on her powers is that she’s not really invulnerable at all without the protection of her bracelets, which doesn’t quite match up with what we’ve seen – I assumed she had at least some level of innate invulnerability.
The battle to save her is tense and fast-paced, as Flash and Superman evacuate her in the middle of a war zone and call in Raven to assist with healing. Unfortunately, it has the side effect of sidelining her almost entirely for the issue, something which largely takes place with Cyborg as well. He was taken out of commission by the Fan, and now winds up held captive by Deathstroke as his technical healing kicks in. The tension of the civil war ginned up by Red Lion makes up the back half of the issue, and that’s the best part of the issue. Red Lion – who reminds me a lot of Killmonger as leader of Wakanda, a plot that Priest pioneered in the 90s – is a fantastic villain. I was surprised, though, to see the Fan dispensed with almost off-handedly by the end of the issue, which almost makes him feel like a false lead. Some of the political commentary, especially between Simon and Jess at the end of the issue, feels a bit forced, but Priest is still trying things in this title that no other writer has dared. Based on that alone, this twelve-issue run is a must-read.
Corrina: I found that this issue started to bring all the story threads together, which pleased me because I love to see how Priest will pull off his ending. I have a minor complaint in that Wonder Woman is sidelined and Jessica is distracted by her kiss, but it’s minor. One, because we rarely get to see Diana so vulnerable. The last issue, I wasn’t buying her ability to be shot but, with the story this issue, her injury made more sense. We’ve seen Diana beaten down before or defeated but dealing with her being shot was a new element and one that worked well, especially with Raven’s help.
Cyborg, too, recovers well from his temporary defeat last issue. Despite his origin being altered to swap him from the Teen Titans to the Justice League of America (and to include that Mother Box), Vic has never felt like he belongs with this team, especially with the weight of his history with the Titans. Throughout this run, Priest has taken a deep dive into Vic’s role as a member of the JL and it’s much appreciated, especially since it’s not focused on the go-to plot for Vic, which seems to be his worry that he’s not human but a machine.
Meanwhile, the refugees are defended because it’s the humane thing to do, even if it’s not the wise or politic thing to do. Priest has a lot to say about this subject but he’s provided no easy answers, except perhaps that good people have to do the best they can with the situations they’re given.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.