Review: Justice League #64
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colours: Nick Filardi, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Josh Reed, Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Justice League #64: Introducing…the United! This all-new all-star group of alien warriors represents all voices in the newly formed United Planets. A galactic Justice League, if you will. The first Legion of Super-Heroes? Sort of. The United comes to the new Justice League for help because the biggest threat to the universe is on the loose, and all roads lead to…Superman. All this, and Aquaman has some surprising news. This big, bold, universe-spanning story serves as a perfect hopping-on point for fans curious where their favorite DC heroes go next!
Plus: While the Justice League Dark regroups after hitting the books (literally), all eyes turn toward Gotham, where Merlin’s followers gather to protect a mysterious weapon. Now it’ll take not one knight but two to infiltrate the cult and save reality. Batman guest-stars as the Eternal Knight’s new squire in this action-packed tale!
Justice League #64 introduces us to the honour guard of the United Planets, the United Order, a very early precursor to the Legion of Super-Heroes, with heroes from various UP planets. However, their introductory appearance is somewhat inauspicious, as they manage to let the Synmar Utopica escape his imprisonment.
Meanwhile, we see the League at the Hall of Justice, with Aquaman giving Naomi a training session while the other leaguers watch on. While I felt there were a number of problems with this part of the story, I did quite enjoy the appearance of the Wonder Twins. Their presence in the Hall of Justice gave the story a bit of a nostalgic feeling.
As has often been the case in recent months, the Justice League Dark backup story has outshone the main story. We see more of the Eternal Knight, Elanara Roshtu’s encounter with Batman. I loved seeing this ancient knight’s reaction to Batman. She immediately recognizes him as a fellow knight and expresses admiration for his armour. She asks, “Who is your armourer? Very fine quality work, if I may say so”. Perhaps Bruce should introduce her to Lucius.
Like the main team, Justice League Dark is also enjoying some down time in the Hall of Justice. We see the group welcoming the Ragman to the team. Zatanna gives him a private welcome, during which Rory hints about the secret he learned in the Library of Babel. He states, “We all learn to live with our darkness and secrets, don’t we? I know they have a way of… turning one’s life upside-down”. By this, he hints that he’s aware of the lingering influence of the Upside-Down Man has had on Zatanna. This could be interpreted as menacing, but I think he means to give her reassurance, as he goes on to add, “But I’m sure things will be fine i you have each other’s backs, right?”.
Although, I felt the Bendis’ story wasn’t as good as it could have been, Steve Pugh’s art was superb. I love his rendition of the heroes, especially Superman. The same is true of Sumit Kumar’s art in the Justice League Dark story. In his case, it’s his rendition of Batman that really stands out.
First off, is the United Planets’ honour guard know as “The United” or “The United Order”? The cover and the solicitation text state the former, but the actual text of the story calls them the latter. This is similar to the confusion in Bendis’ Superman over the name of the Synmar Utopica. He kept being referred to as “the Synmar”, which was the name of his alien race.
Speaking of which, the Synmar Utopica has to be one of the least interesting villains to appear in recent years. Why on Earth did Bendis feel it was necessary to bring him back? I would rather see Bendis taking the League in a fresh new direction than rehashing stuff from his previous DC titles. At this rate, it seems only a matter of time until the League faces off against Rogol Zaar.
And the scene of Naomi’s training session seems rather bizarre. At first, I thought I thought I must have missed a page. Aquaman asks Naomi to hit him, but then gets distracted. Naomi is just about to strike, when the story cuts to a different scene. When we return to the scene, other members of team are holding Naomi back until she calms down and apologizes for losing her temper. There was no indication that her impending strike was out of anger before the cut. So, did something happen off-panel. Or is this just sloppy writing. The latter seems more likely to me.
In Justice League #64, the Ram V’s backup story steals the show. At this point, I think DC might be better off moving Justice League Dark to the main story and Bendis’ “Continuing Adventures of Naomi Guest-Starring the Justice League” to the shorter backup slot. I’d definitely give Ram V’s story a 5/5 on its own, but Bendis’ story is only mediocre this time around.