Review: Justice League #21

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artists: Bryan Hitch, Daniel Henriques, Scott Hanna

 

Summary

In the last issue, The Flash was stuck in a time loop where the League would fight and defeat a large alien shortly before attempting to stop an explosion at a demonstration of a new zero-point energy device. When The Flash touches the device, it explodes, killing several people. This includes the family of the device’s creator, who uses it to go on a rampage causing Green Lantern Jessica Cruz’s death.

Eventually, the rampage ends in an even more horrendous, possibly planet-devastating explosion. This explosion propels Barry back into the past to live the same events over again, each time sending him further back into the past.

This time, The Flash finds himself in the middle of the fight against the large unnamed alien. Barry explains about the events he’s experienced to Batman, who calmly accepts his bizarre tale. The pair leave the rest of the League to deal with the alien and they go to investigate the scientist and his device.

This time, Barry and Bruce have time to use detective work to analyze the situation instead of using direct confrontation to try to forestall the imminent tragedy.

This pays off, and the two detectives find that the situation is not what it seems, and that the real villain is not who they had thought.

 

Positives

I find this interesting that in the same week that Batman and The Flash team up in the brilliant “The Button” crossover, that the same pairing of heroes is also used in this title to great effect. Historically, DC hasn’t done much with the Batman-Flash dynamic, but they make quite the effective combination, and also seem to have the makings of a strong friendship. I would love to see more of Barry and Bruce working together like this.

I also like that this story plays with the standard conventions of comic books. We see the League fighting a large alien or a crazed scientist with a powerful weapon, and we immediately make assumptions about who the villain is. The Flash learns a valuable life lesson about making such assumptions. If you do a bit of detective work, you may find out that the bad guys aren’t who you assume them to be.

Also, I think this is the first time I have seen the Justice League stop to have a meal together after wrapping up a case. And Batman joins the rest of the League. Batman actually socializing with his teammates is definitely indicative of the brighter feel to the DCU in the Rebirth era.

 

Negatives

The drawback to the focus on the Batman-Flash team is that the rest of the League gets short shrift in this story. This is okay though. With seven Leaguers, you can’t expect all of them to be at the center of the story all of the time. There will be other chances for the other Leaguers to be in the spotlight.

 

Verdict

This is a fun and thoughtful story and serves as a nice companion piece to “The Button.” This iteration of the League is shaping up to be the best since Morrison’s “Big Seven.”

 

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.