Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Color Artist: Tamra Bonvilliain
Cover Artist: David Marquez
Backup Story Writer: Ram V
Backup Story Artist: Xermanico
Wraparound Variant Cover Artist: David Marquez
The Justice League have been through a lot in the last few years as they’ve just come from saving the multiverse and stopping a winter-themed villain from freezing over the Earth. Now the team is back on the ground level and Justice League #59 shows us what the new creative team has in store for them.
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For those dreading Brian Michael Bendis’ writing, don’t worry, it’s not too bad yet. Don’t get me wrong, his Bendis speak makes its way in through the new villain and a few other times, however, he holds it back here as it’s not so present as it is in the majority of his past titles. Except for the new villain, who I’ll get into in the spoilers.
Bendis actually does do a fine job with Black Adam, giving him a moment that does make him sympathetic and he manages to maintain this air of regality and pride to the character throughout the comic. One thing Bendis manages to do in this comic is actually give each character a distinct voice that fits their personality. For the most part, there are a few cracks here and there, but it’s nothing too horrendous like in other stories except near the end.
Of course, David Marquez and Tamra Bonvillain (cool name) do an excellent job in the comic illustrating the characters, the action, the locations, and the designs of the heroes. Once again, Bendis is working with some talented artists on his book, and hopefully he manages to keep the story solid. I’m not asking for miracles here, just hope he does a moderate job here and keeps more of his usual wiring tics in check. One potential warning sign is his depiction of Green Arrow, but I’ll get into that in the spoilers as well.
Justice League Dark Backup Story Review: The backup Justice League Dark story by Ram V is not that good while the art by Xermanico (yes, that’s their name) and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr. is great. It feels like it needed a few more pages to tell a story. Instead it just feels like the first part of a story. There’s a lot of exposition here and it’s mostly setup for what the team – at least John Constantine and Zatana – is in for. If you’ve read the Future State: Justice League Dark stories by Ram V then this will definitely feel familiar to you.
Justice League #59 Spoilers:
Okay, so Bendis plays it pretty simple in this book. The new villain is some random bad guy from another dimension called Brutus who just wants to take over the Earth. No other reason than, “I’ll keep it simple – All of this is Mine Now!” He’s the main source of the Bendis-speak that people will want to look out for in this comic and in the next couple of issues. His design is fine but nothing to boast about and he doesn’t leave the most memorable impression.
The next thing I wanted to mention was Bendis’ depiction of Green Arrow. So, the first page literally starts with a conversation between Green Arrow and Black Canary off-panel where he talks about how the JL doesn’t always work or it doesn’t do enough. This continues later as the two make their way to the Hall of Justice and Black Canary wants the others to chime in. The crux of Arrow’s point is that because the Justice Leaguers have known each other for a while now that they all see things the same way and, in his words, “We need to get new voices in here. Some disruption. Some dissent.” This is not a strong argument on two fronts.
One, for the past 10 years now, the Justice League have been depicted as regularly struggling to agree on various important matters. Even in this same JL series where past writers such as Scott Snyder and Robert Venditti have depicted the leaguers, at least the founding members, disagreeing on plenty of things and nearly coming to blows over them. Two, Green Arrow, and by extension Bendis, forgets that the League is more than just the founding seven and they all have their own perspectives and opinions as well, when they’re actually given a chance to show up and speak.
It all feels like Bendis is using Green Arrow to justify adding his new character Naomi to the Justice League, who only shows up at the very end. Heck, Bendis even uses Green Arrow in the opening dialogue to validate his own creative decision of Superman revealing his secret identity as a good thing in-universe. It feels like Green Arrow could end up being a mouthpiece for Bendis’ views instead of anything Oliver Queen would actually say and believe.
Justice League #59 isn’t the nightmare some might have envisioned it to be, which is helped by some great art but it’s not without its problems. It’s an average comic with excellent art and a story that could go either way in the next couple of issues depending on Bendis’ dialogue and story choices. The backup story by Ram V is mostly setup with great art by Xermanico. If you’ve read his Future State: Justice League Dark story, then this will feel familiar to you.
Dig into our other Comic Book Dispatch Reviews HERE or grab another perspective from Weird Science Marvel Comics HERE. And, if you’re curious as to what’s arriving in comic shops each week, check out our Comic Book Dispatch Previews HERE
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