Justice League #54 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Xermanico, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Joshua Williamson jumps into the Death Metal fray with this five-part tie-in, and the story really takes shape this issue with the addition of a pair of new heroes joining Nightwing, Hawkgirl, and Detective Chimp—Starfire and Cyborg, newly returned from their extended sojourn in deep space. After the team rejects Luthor’s help, not trusting him due to his ties to the Legion of Doom, it’s time for the old friends to catch up. This is the first time we’ve really seen fallout from the reveal that there was an early Titans team featuring these characters, and Dick and Kory in particular are better-written than they have been in a while. The issue hints that Dick’s still not fully healed from his brain injury, but it’s closer to the real thing than we’ve had in a while. I also like this new, grizzled Cyborg, and the hints of what Detective Chimp went through in Justice League Dark before this story are intriguing—and kind of make me dread that arc because it’s undoubtedly going to be horrifying.
Things get really interesting at the halfway point, as the heroes start encountering strange anomalies just as they approach their latest threat—a massive field of giant Starros. When Starro shows up, you know strange things are going to happen to the mind, and soon all the heroes find themselves battling to maintain control of their sanity as they’re confronted with visions of realities they wish could be real. The Nightwing segments in particular are intense. The presence of Mindhunter, the twisted telepathic Batman who has Martian Manhunter in his clutches, adds some stakes, and the constant ambiguity of Lex Luthor’s allegiances add some mystery to the story. The real star here, though, is Xermanico and his detailed art, creating a powerful visual scale that makes this feel like a surreal post-apocalyptic hellscape. DC has kept the tie-ins limited, with only one per week for Death Metal, and they’re making every one count.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.