Review: Justice League #23

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

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Tom Derenick, Tony Kordos, Andy Owens, Trevor Scott, & Batt

 

Summary

Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, Wonder Woman, and Batman are in the middle eastern nation of Nomalia fighting a new foe called The Black Shield. He is somewhat illogically trying to end terrorism by practising it on the innocent citizens of the countries where terrorists originate.

The Black shield has an impregnable shield that prevents him from suffering harm, but it can also return any force hurled against it. When Jessica attacks him, her reflected attack propels her into a building, where she almost hits a little girl. The girl is safe but Jessica is shaken by the possibility that the girl could have been killed due to her carelessness.

 

The Black Shield launches a missile that Jessica stops from unleashing a payload of deadly gas. The villain escapes, but a number of his henchmen are captured.

Returning to the Watchtower satellite, they have Cyborg analyze the gas. Jessica is having trouble dealing with her fear of accidentally harming civilians, but Wonder Woman and Batman try to convince her that one accidental death would still be better than the alternative of the many others who would have died if they hadn’t intervened.

Batman and Wonder Woman then interrogate the prisoners to discover the next target on The Black Shield’s agenda – the nation of Bialya.

Jessica does better in the next battle and manages to capture and incapacitate The Black Shield. However, this time he has nearly a dozen missiles instead of one. Can Jessica overcome her fear and stop them all?

 

Positives

Given the recent interest in female superheroes due to the Wonder Woman movie, it is great to see DC bringing the women of the Justice League to the forefront of the story. Even Batman, who usually is one of the leads roles is taking a back seat to Jessica, who is the star of this story.

However, Batman is used to good effect in the story. The central theme is fear, and what Leaguer is more familiar with fear than Batman. As Jessica puts it, Batman uses fear as a tool.

But unknown to Jessica, Batman is also motivated by fear. There is a great character moment where Jessica asks “Can you even imagine what it is to experience such terror? To feel so weak and helpless?”

To which Batman simply says, “Yes. I can,” and walks away.

Jessica is gradually dealing with her fears, and she is now starting to show that she is capable of being a great Green Lantern. She really seems to be maturing into her role as a Leaguer.

 

Negatives

I possibly could quibble about the absence of all the other members of the team who don’t even put in an appearance this issue. Cyborg is the only other member in the story, and only appears just briefly. Aquaman only appears in a bonus preview of Aquaman #25, which is unrelated to the main story.

However, I am finding that the recent focus on smaller subgroups of the League is working to give illuminate the relationships between the various members. However, I hope we get to see the entire team in action together again soon.

 

Verdict

Like last issue, there seems to be a positivity to the team that has been missing for while. Justice League by rights should be one of DC’s best titles, and the last few issues indicate to me that it is quickly working its way back to that status.

 

 

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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.