Justice League #51 – Jeff Loveness, Writer; Robson Rocha, Penciller; Daniel Henriques, Inker; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Despite doing an excellent done-in-one Shazam issue with lighter themes, Jeff Loveness is mostly known for his darker sci-fi and horror stories. It’s not a surprise he goes back to that vibe for this Justice League arc as the title continues to switch off creative teams after the conclusion of the last large run. This is a hard sci-fi adventure as the Justice League explores space and is called to an alien planet where they find a disturbing, much larger manifestation of one of the biggest threats the world has ever seen—the Black Mercy plant. The Black Mercy was at the center of one of the most iconic Superman stories of all time, and its ability to lure people into comas with its hallucinogenic powers that grant them their fondest wish is a powerful threat that can neutralize even the most powerful people in the universe. So when you take that, and magnify it by an entire planet, the scale is pretty big.
The art by Robson Rocha, who was a mainstay on Green Lantern comics for years, is effectively imposing as the core League members find themselves in darkened woods stalked by an unseen enemy. What sets this threat apart is that while the Black Mercy previously was a weapon used by other villains, this one seems to be self-aware and mobile, with a hive-mind core stalking the heroes and getting into their minds, trapping them one by one. Batman is the main target, and the plant uses his recent losses to get under his skin. This issue does take a while to get going, letting the tension build, but next issue promises to be where the threat really ramps up and the heroes find themselves confronted with their fondest desires—and darkest fears. This isn’t as compelling as the previous arc, which challenged the League with a thorny ethical crisis, but it’s another effective fill-in arc.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.