Justice League Annual #2 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Aaron Lopresti, Penciller; Matt Ryan, Inker; David Baron, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Justice League has cycled through a number of creative teams in recent months, but this tense one-shot calls back to the Robert Venditti run’s first arc, as the Justice League finds themselves in the ultimate locked-room mystery. The core five Leaguers—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, John Stewart, and Barry Allen—get a distress signal from the headquarters and find the body of a murdered man inside. Before they can figure out how he was killed within the most secure locked room in the world, the body starts to disintegrate—and the HQ security system starts targeting their worst enemies with power-neutralizing systems that attack the exact same power sets the five heroes have. A combination of red sun rays, nanobots, anti-magic wardings, and killer robots soon have the heroes on the ropes as they struggle to survive their own headquarters.
Much like the Venditti run overall, this is a very action-heavy issue with strong art by Aaron Lopresti. The various dangers are well-drawn and the scale keeps escalating until the League is forced to make some hard choices about which of them will survive in order to prevent a potential apocalyptic event. The identity of the main villain shouldn’t be a big surprise given the rest of the run, but this is probably the biggest-scale plot he’s ever been involved in and it’s the closest anyone’s come to finishing off the League in a while. Watching the heroes pushed to their limits is entertaining, although it maybe comes together in a little too easy a way, complete with the heroes talking about all they’ve learned at the end. It’s not a groundbreaking issue by any means, but it is an effective done-in-one spotlight for the five most iconic heroes in the Justice League. Pretty much what an annual is supposed to be.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.