Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE #62
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colours: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Josh Reed
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Justice League #62: The Justice League! The biggest heroes! The biggest threats! With their powers out of control and trapped on a world they do not understand, the League must band together like never before. Queen Hippolyta is forced to confront her new destiny. All this and a last page so shocking that it will have fans screaming!
Meanwhile, in our bonus story, the Justice League Dark are trapped in the Library of Babel, where they are learning the hard way that the pen is mightier than their swords. Elsewhere, Merlin sets his sights on a lost city that hides the key to his violent delights. Could this mean a violent end for all?
The main story in Justice League #62 is a large improvement, but still had some issues. Thankfully, there is no further mention of the “Ducktales” nonsense from last issue. While witty banter is not unwelcome, if that was the best Bendis can come up, then he’s best off keeping the dialogue serious.
The situation of the League’s powers acting erratically adds an interesting complication to the story. I like that Black Canary is, for once, the team’s heavy hitter. She nearly takes Brutus out with a single use of her amped up Canary Cry. I suspect this is only a temporary change in power level, but I hope this indicates that Bendis intends to make Dinah play an important role in the League’s battles, rather than leave the heavy lifting to the others.
In Justice League #62, the backup Justice League Dark story once again outshines the main story. I suspect this is going to be a recurring pattern. Brian Michael Bendis can be a very good writer when he’s at his best, but Ram V is a master.
The Library of Babel is proving to be a fascinating stop for the team. I love the idea of a library containing every book ever written. I especially loved the meta reference of Ragman finding a volume titled “Justice League Dark 2021 Author’s Notes” by the author Ram V. What he reads there explains a lot about Zatanna’s recent insecurities: “At some point, one of our characters will learn Zatanna’s secret, that the Upside Down Man’s power and influence lingers within her”. I love that “at some point” proves to be this exact point.
Merlin’s plan to be reawak ancient Atlantis is intriguing. I wonder if this means we might get an appearance of Arion The Immortal, Lord of Atlantis? It’s been too long since we’ve seen him in the DCU. And he would make an interesting addition to the team.
Both David Marquez and Xermanico are doing a great job with the artwork in their respective stories. I was especially impressed with Marquez’s depiction of the war-torn landscape of Naomi’s homeworld. And I was equally impressed with Xermanico’s rendition of the ruins of ancient Atlantis. I would be hard pressed to choose which story I preferred on the basis of the artwork alone.
Even though Hippolyta didn’t travel to Naomi’s homeworld with the League, she shows up this issue. While I understand that Bendis needed a pretext to bring the Flash and Hippolyta into the story this issue, I think he should have found a better excuse than Barry suddenly realizing that he had made a mistake in his dimensional travel calculations. This makes Barry come off as a rank amateur rather than the seasoned veteran superhero we know him to be.
There is also an incident where a blow from the villain, Brutus, sends Superman and Black Adam flying. Hawkgirl and Naomi catch them despite Batman’s order, “Don’t waste time catching them!…The fight is in front of us!”. His teammates react poorly to this, thinking it rather cold and unfeeling. I understand a novice like Naomi reacting this way, but the rest would understand that the two powerhouses are invulnerable. They wouldn’t be harmed by the fall and the team’s full power is necessary against a foe as powerful as Brutus.
I do have a minor quibble about the artwork for the main story. And this is only really noticeable because it’s blown up huge on the cover. In the main Superman titles, Superman has lost the raised cuffs on his wrists that were added to the costume in the Rebirth era. However, he is still wearing them here. It’s a minor point, but it would be nice if the artists got together and decided definitively on whether they are part of the costume or not.
The lead story of Justice League #62 is better than last issue, but there’s still room for some improvement. On the other hand, Ram V once again provides a top-notch backup story. And the artwork is superb in both stories. Hopefully, the main story will continue to improve as the series continues.