Last month, Matt Kindt had a fantastic start to his Justice League of America run, as well as a fantastic first tie-in issue to Forever Evil. We saw members of the Justice League and JLA in a prison with cells specially built to mess with their minds, and seeing each character’s personal purgatory was a fascinating look into some of DC’s greatest heroes. This month, the journey into neuroses continues, but can it live up to its predecessor?
To start things off, this issue heavily features Stargirl, who has by far been the most neglected member of the JLA so far. Every other character has had a starring role in a book either before or since Justice League of America #1 except for Stargirl, and we’ve gotten very little insight to her character so far. Here, we see her backstory, she gets a substantial amount of dialogue, and we come to understand everything we need to know about her: She’s a happy, genuinely good person. Stargirl didn’t become a hero due to emotional baggage; she accidentally got her hands on a Cosmic Rod and decided to have the time of her life doing the right thing. The furthest her emotional turmoil goes is normal teenager stuff, like “Dad’s new study was my old bedroom and it sucks”. In a market where it seems even Superman isn’t allowed to be hopeful anymore, it’s refreshing to have a character like this. Really, she’s filled the void left when Captain Marvel was rebooted into Shazam.
Stargirl’s origin story is about half of the book. JLA #9’s other half is more of what was seen last issue, but that’s not a bad thing. We get to see new jail cells as Martian Manhunter delves deeper and deeper into the prison holding the Justice Leagues, seeing more heroes trapped in their own mental hells. And really, as we get deeper and deeper into the jail cells, they only get more disturbing. It’s just more of the high-quality analysis of some of DC’s best characters, but a bit shorter this time as it isn’t the focus of the issue.
Madame Xanadu’s is probably my favorite, just because of how the reveal is drawn.
The art in this book is just phenomenal. This is what all superhero art should be: Big, bold, and beautiful. Tom Derenick’s pencils are fantastic, with all these great-looking, unique characters, especially the faces. It seems lately whenever you have a close-up on a character’s face while they’re yelling, they have ridiculous horse teeth or overly squinty eyes. But here?
He even made the tongue look good! Who even bothers drawing a nice-looking tongue!?
The book has two inkers, Tom Nguyen and Allen Martinez, and it’s difficult to tell when Nguyen’s work ended and Martinez’s began. Add in the stunning colors of Gabe Eltaeb and this is just some of the best art in recent history.
Whiting out Baz’s eyes just makes him look a lot more like a proper Green Lantern, and now I want to see him drawn like this forever.
Nothing, really. Just this one panel.
I stared into it too long, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in a nearby graveyard reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Tongues.
Justice League of America #9 is available for $3.99 USD from physical and digital retailers.