Justice League #59 – Brian Michael Bendis, Ram V, Writers; David Marquez, Xermanico, Artists; Tamra Bonvillain, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorists
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Brian Michael Bendis just wrapped up an extended run on Superman, and now it’s on to DC’s biggest team book in the first chapter of this new run. Along with superstar artist David Marquez, Bendis has promised to bring some new blood into the team, and he starts quickly by introducing wild card Black Adam to the roster. The name “Shazadam” is nowhere to be found in this issue, thankfully, but what is there is a mysterious new villain named Brutus who bursts out of a portal into Adam’s home of Khandaq and immediately starts rambling about conquering the world. This is probably Bendis’ biggest weakness in the issue—it’s impossible to take Brutus seriously as a major new threat when he spends half the time talking like a surfer dude with an attitude problem.
That being said, Bendis’ take on the League is pretty strong so far. His take on the A-listers fits, and he’s obviously having a lot of fun writing Green Arrow and Black Canary. Ollie in particular seems to be back to being the leftist rabble-rouser who has no problem telling off his fellow heroes, and his take on how the Justice League needs to be doing more to stay connected to the average person has some sense to it. The roster isn’t exactly firm yet, and Hippolyta doesn’t even appear here, but it feels like it’s a good start. The reveal of where Brutus comes from and his connection to another first-time member is a little predictable, but this seems like it’ll be a slightly more laid-back take on the League than the previous mythology-driven epic that led to Death Metal. And it lets Bendis show off his humor, which is always a plus.
Justice League Dark may be over as a solo title, but the backup by Ram V and Xermanico is off to a strong start. It follows up pretty closely on the post-apocalyptic events of the Future State backup, but flashes back to just how Merlin came back from the dead and began his war on the world of magic. While much of this issue focuses on him wandering through darkened halls and betraying a long-time ally, there’s also a great bit involving Zatanna and Constantine investigating magical phenomena in a small town. The horror is relatively light as this issue is just setting things up, but V hasn’t lost his touch on this franchise as he moves on to bigger titles in the Infinite Frontier era.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.