Justice League #49 – Simon Spurrier, Writer; Aaron Lopresti, Penciller; Matt Ryan, Inker; David Baron, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: What could have been a filler arc has turned into one of the most interesting Justice League stories in recent memories, as the League’s new responsibilities threaten to pit them against each other. Having intervened in a brutal civil war on a planet divided between organic and technological cults, the League finds themselves drafted into leadership as the people elect them as their stewards. While Batman approaches this like any other mission and Superman and Flash get maybe too into being helpful, Wonder Woman is strongly opposed to any role as rulers for the League – pushing the League possibly towards their own civil war. But because this is DC and not Marvel, the heroes are able to talk it out. Diana relates her hesitancy through a fascinating fable about an ancient giantess who preceded the Amazons who had her own ill-advised foray into leading a kingdom.
One of the things that really sets this apart is the way Simon Spurrier brings the two warring cultures to life. There are all sorts of clever touches, like the way the Way of the Cell’s courtship ritual is mistaken for something much darker by Flash, or the way the two children rescued by the League last issue are the only people not colored by the horrible civil war on the planet. There’s an especially great touch as the war escalates and Superman almost makes an unforgivable mistake. This is the most vulnerable and human we’ve seen the League in a long time, and that’s much more compelling than the sci-fi explosions that fill the issue. The ending reveals who the true threat on the planet is and sets the League up for a dramatic finish, but it’s going to be the clever worldbuilding that I’ll remember. DC should give Spurrier more mainstream superhero work, if this is any indication.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.