Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE #65
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colours: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Josh Reed, Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Justice League #65: The Justice League heads to deep space, on the trail of the most dangerous new criminal in all the galaxy. The biggest threat to the United Planets is on the loose, and no one in the cosmos is safe. Meanwhile, on Earth, Checkmate breaks into the Hall of Justice looking for clues to Black Canary’s secret affiliation. What secret affiliation, you ask? It’s a secret, duh! All this, and Black Adam declares himself leader of the League.
Plus, as the Justice League Dark plans their next move, Batman makes his in Gotham. An ally from Etrigan’s past holds the key to saving the present, but to retrieve it, the League and the Eternal Knights must venture deep into his twisted dreams. Little do they know, Randu Singh’s mind is a maze that they could end up trapped in for good!
As seems to be the case in recent months, once again the main story in Justice League #65 is merely adequate, while the backup story outshines it. Brian Michael Bendis’ story is not egregious, but neither is it anything special. It has its moments, but it also has some serious drawbacks. However, Ram V’s backup story continues entice readers as it builds towards the Justice League Dark’s encounter with Merlin.
So what’s good about Bendis’ main story? Well, mainly a number of small moments or references. I loved seeing Green Arrow threatening Daemon Rose with his Boxing Glove Arrow. And having grown up watching the Super Friends, I loved seeing Zan and Jayna doing their “Wonder Twin Powers! Activate!” schtick.
This bit of the story indicates something that may become an issue further down the road, if Bendis or another writer decides to follow up on it. This transformation, in particular, demonstrates the large power disparity between the two siblings. Jayna, with her power to turn into any animal, transforms into Gorilla Grodd. Presumably, this gives her full use of the villain’s formidable mental powers.
And Zan? He transforms into a bucket of ocean water, which Batman pours on Aquaman to restore him to full strength. Yay… I guess. This seems pointless at best, and rather gross at worst. Is this implying that Arthur is absorbing or breathing in Zan? Ewwww! And.. where did the bucket com from? It seems to be an ordinary metal bucket. But Zan can only transform into water-based forms.
Ram V’s Justice League Dark story, on the other hand, is as great as ever. The story focuses on new character Randar Singh. He appears to be an old man, but on the mental realm, he appears as a young boy. He obviously has powerful mental abilities. It appears that he will prove an important ally in the fight against Merlin. And perhaps join the League?
I also like how Ram V is incorporating some of the main Justice League team in the story. Batman continues to work with the Eternal Night to rescue Singh. And while this is happening, the Justice League Dark team confers with Aquaman about what Merlin is up to by resurrecting ancient Atlantis.
I wonder if the culmination of Ram V’s story arc will pit both Justice League teams against Merlin. I would love to see Ram V get the entire issue (or multiple issues) devoted to a team-up story between the two Justice League teams.
The artwork in both stories is above reproach both Steve Pugh and Sumit Kumar do a fantastic job illustrating their respective stories. The heroes look iconic and the action is dynamic and easy to follow. And Romulo Fajardo Jr. does a brilliant job providing the colour for both artists.
Is Bendis trying to increase the amount of money he gets for this issue by packing in as many of his own creations as he can? Between Naomi, the Synmar Utopica, and his new creation the Daemon Rose, it feels like the story is just an excuse to get his own characters in print. And each of these characters presents a different problem.
First, let’s look at Naomi. I get that Bendis is enamored with his character. She has seen some success in her own series, and it would be interesting to see her story continued. And I don’t blame him for forwarding that story here. But don’t make her the focus of Every. Single. Story. If Bendis wants to focus on her exclusively, then he should talk DC into greenlighting a new Naomi series.
As for the Synmar Utopica. This was a rather confusing and boring villain when Bendis used him in Superman. And it’s only been a few months since his last appearance. I bet that as soon as he’s been dealt with, Bendis will bring in his equally pointless and uninteresting creation, Rogol Zaar.
When it was announced that Bendis was moving on from the Superman books, I thought that we were safe from his unnecessary and poorly thought out additions to the Superman mythos. No such luck. In Justice League #65, the Daemon Rose reveals that he’s Lois Lane’s previously unmentioned brother. Oh god no. DC, please, for the love of God, stop Bendis from mucking about with Superman continuity!
And the story ends with the apparent destruction of the Hall of Justice. What is this, about the fourth or fifth time now? It’s been done so many times that it’s getting to be a cliché. And it better not be permanent. Incorporating the Hall of Justice into the canon continuity was one of the best decisions DC has ever made. It’s permanent removal would be a tragic mistake.
The main story of Justice League #65 has some major problems, but also has some nice moments. Overall, I’d give it a 3/10. Ram V’s backup story is once again perfect 5/5, if a bit short. DC should really consider giving him some of Bendis’ pages. His Justice League Dark story deserves at least a full half of the book’s page count.