Writer: Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver
Art: Kyle Hotz, Andrei Bressan, Paul Pelletier, Norm Rapmond, Hi-Fi, and Tom Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: December 22nd, 2021
As DARKSEID’S pilgrimage leaves a bloodstained path across the Multiverse, JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE endeavors to Earth-13. They must recruit the assistance of Super-Demon and his League of Shadows against not only DARKSEID but also the evil power couple of Asmodel and the Sheeda Queen! Let’s dive into JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE #2 by Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver as we follow this team across the Multiverse and see what new threats they uncover while attempting to close the bleed.
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I was truly excited about this series. A multiversal team that navigates through each world made up of Captain Carrot, President Superman, and Thomas Wayne just screamed “read me” on paper. And, the last issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE was exceptionally promising. The potential was certainly there. Williamson and Culver attempted to give this team purpose and direction including a pretty gnarly cliffhanger. However, all of that quickly faded away as JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE #2 turned the tide on this series rather quickly.
Williamson and Culver’s silly banter between the characters was exceedingly forced into the story to add elements of humor that were completely unnecessary. Jokes crammed into the narrative about Captain Carrot being jammed into magician hats in a mystical club added an extra element of cheesy conversation that gave JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE #2 the complexion of a TV cartoon show for 8-year-olds on Saturday mornings.
Williamson and Culver forced names unnecessarily into the confines of the dialogue as if fans forgot the characters’ names or needed a refresher along with dating advice from FLASHPOINT BATMAN. Doctor Multiverse even attempts to give heroes new names that don’t stick providing characters within Williamson and Culver’s own story taking meta stabs at the creative team.
Heck, a huge aspect of this week’s JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE focuses on drinks, dating, and Karaoke with Doctor Multiverse wanting to get to know President Superman a bit more intimately over cocktails. Really? And Thomas Wayne just so happens to be his Wing Man through all of this giving him dating advice. Come on… Furthermore, just when you thought all of this was bad, The Batwoman Who Laughs enters the fray with some weird Talon-shaped Infinity Gauntlet. Can anyone say “too soon”? And, why was any of this relevant to the overarching story? Raise your hand if you’re reading this story to see President Superman in a relationship. Raise your hand if you picked up JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE for its humor and childlike tones. Raise your hand if you were searching for the female version of the Batman Who Laughs. I didn’t think so.
So the next question becomes, did the art team help salvage this story at all? That’s a great question. I’ll actually begin by referencing the covers which were extremely vibrant and dynamic. How could anyone not see these covers and be wildly intrigued about what’s inside? Yet, this is exactly why you can’t judge a book by its cover. Not only was the writing a big miss this week, but so was this artistic creative team that was spliced together by multiple talents.
Truthfully, it kind of makes sense why Williamson and Culver continued to name drop throughout the issue because an outsider picking up this issue wouldn’t know who was who. FLASHPOINT BATMAN looks nothing like Thomas Wayne with his elongated features and sunken eyes. Moreover, the backward password to enter the bar was “Vertigo” spelled backward in which it’s drawn as though Count Vertigo is the one who allows them access into the bar. But alas, we are told it’s HELLBLAZER. So, to say the artist’s renditions are confusing is an understatement. Furthermore, the coloring is extremely dark and the character’s eyes seem larger than normal.
To add to the confusion, is the incredibly busy splash pages and panels filled with smoke to provide an aura of mysticism. Moreover, it just clutters the page drawing your eyes away from important facets of the story and the characters themselves. However, the art does take a turn for the better once our heroes finally catch up to DARKSEID. Plus, the colors are brighter, the linework is more clear, and the characters are more distinct again. As proof, there is a splash page involving Doctor Multiverse towards the end of the issue that’s outstanding. My wish is that the entire issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE #2 was drawn that way.
I hate making snap judgments on comics, especially after only two issues. However, I wonder who is truly piloting this ship. Now, remember that this series was delayed AND you’ll notice multiple artists throughout the issue. Moreover, I also wonder if Dennis Culver was supposed to always be writing on this book. I only ask as someone who is very familiar with Williamson’s writing style and not as familiar with Culver’s. Why? Well, because the tone and technical shift of the book are drastic and this story doesn’t feel like what Williamson would write. Therefore, I wonder if Culver is more in charge and things got shifted around once Williamson took over as the BATMAN writer. Maybe Willamson is now more ”consulting”?
If that’s the case (and it’s merely speculation), JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE makes so much more sense. Sadly, if that’s also the case, this isn’t the book I thought I signed up for. And, this is what I mean about snap judgments. It’s hard to jump off a book after two issues. However, the corny dialogue, the forced humor, and the redirecting focus on relationships instead of solving what appeared to be a huge multiversal story completely derail the comic. It looks and feels like a comic that’s been quickly slapped together with too many cooks in the kitchen. If you’re looking to make cuts and save some money, this may be the one to cut noting that it’s nothing like I thought the story was going to be. That said, it’s hard to give up after two issues. The comic does deserve a fair shake to see if the story can develop. Still, as of right now, I’d say you should pass on JUSTICE LEAGUE: INCARNATE. Let me know what you think, Merry Christmas, and God Bless!