Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE #56
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Colours: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Justice League #56: “Doom Metal” part four of five! In this Dark Nights: Death Metal tie-in issue, the Justice League has nowhere left to hide from the agents of Perpetua. The towering, nightmarish Omega Knight hunts them to the edges of Brimstone Bay and will stop at nothing until the team is obliterated! And all the while, above Perpetua’s throne, Hawkgirl battles the Mindhunter for the soul of the man she loves: Martian Manhunter!
So far, in Joshua Williamson’s “Doom Metal” storyline, Hawkgirl hasn’t really contributed much to the League’s mission. In fact, last issue, she put the mission in danger by taking off on her own to rescue Martian Manhunter. But in Justice League #56, Hawkgirl redeems herself, rescuing J’onn from Mindhunter. And with him added to their team, they are able to complete their task of rescuing the Legion of Doom.
However, the question remains how the Legion of Doom will respond to their rescuers. As villains, they are predisposed against heroes by their nature. Plus, Lex Luthor betrayed them to Perpetua, so they aren’t likely to be amiable to anyone working with him. But they will probably realize that it’s in the best interest to side with the heroes that are trying to save the Multiverse. Plus, they will likely want revenge on Perpetua badly enough to call a truce with Lex and the League.
I was also glad to see Detective Chimp come around and come to his teammates rescue. Bobo finally shook off his depression and saves the team with the help of Comet, Nightwing’s robotic horse. It was heartening to see Bobo stop wallowing in his misery and declare to Nightwing, “I’m done watching my friends die, kid”.
As a Death Metal tie-in, “Doom Metal has contained a lot of nods to DC history. For example, Comet is reference to Supergirl’s pet horse in Silver Age stories. And I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but the helmet Hawkgirl wears in this story looks an awful lot like the one worn by late Justice League member Aztek.
But my favourite is the recurrent references to the Titans. With Nightwing, Starfire, and Cyborg on the team, this particular Justice League team could just as easily claim either name, considering all three have belonged to both teams. Even Luthor comments on it, saying, “I thought I was working with the Justice League. If I had known it was the Teen Titans, I would have come alone.
It is odd seeing a Justice League story with none of the A-list members. It’s been a long since we’ve seen the main Justice League title without the Trinity, the Flash, and a Green Lantern. But this isn’t really a drawback to me. By focusing on other members, it reminds us that the League’s membership goes gone well beyond DC’s tentpole characters. Also, fans can still see the A-team in the main Death Metal miniseries.
After this Death Metal tie-in story , the title will jump immediately into another event tie-in (Endless Winter), and then another after that (Future State). And rumours are starting to surface of another event after that. This succession of tie-ins with different creative teams is making me wish that that we could get back to regular stories with a regular creative team. DC has good pool of talented writers and artists. Hopefully, DC will pick a regular team and give the book some much needed stability.
Justice League #56 features an odd team of Titans, second stringers, and one of DC’s biggest villains in place of the regular team. Yet, it is a damn good Justice League story, despite the absence of the League’s major players. I look forward to seeing how Williamson concludes this storyline next issue.