Justice League #41
Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciler: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: David Baron
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Venditti recently took over the Justice League title, and threw the group right into a conflict with the Eradicator. He brought his Daxamite army to earth in order to Eradicate the population and replace it with apex Kryptonians. The Daxamite people have all the strengths of a Kryptonian and none of the weaknesses. The previous issue left off the League in a fairly unwinnable situation (other than Batman looking for Madame Xanadu to help fight them with magic) and this issue fairs no better for the title team.
This issue ramps up the threat, and the Eradicator continues to have the upper hand here. The bulk of this issue is action packed, with the League taking on the Daxamite army. Batman is able to get Madame Xanadu in the battle but her addition to the team provides an unexpected result. The way the issue ends leaves The Justice League, and Earth in general, in a far worse spot than before. It is a fairly straight forward issue of the antagonists gaining an upper hand.
This is one of the quickest reads I have had in a long time. As you can tell from my story summary, this is not a dense comic. However, this was not a major drawback for me. The Justice League comic had previously dragged at times, and it is a nice change of pace. Also, Venditti is able to make an action packed and quick comic not seem shallow and pointless. In 18 pages he covers a lot of ground. I am fairly excited to see where he takes the arc from here, as The League is in legitimate trouble. There is only one big issue I have, and it was the choice of how to place Wonder Woman in all the action. Without spoiling much, Diana is damseled. With a team full of different heroes it seems a little rote to place the female character as the victim. Hopefully, Venditti has a reason for doing this and is able to make it worth it, but these storytelling techniques ring alarm bells in my head. Other than that, all of the League is given unique and clear voices and actions. Venditti has a grasp on each character. Both Superman and The Flash, in particular, have breakout character defining moments in this book. Again, The Eradicator does hit my nostalgia but he is written as a clear force here. I believe even if you are not as tied to the Death and Return of Superman, as I am, you will get a clear picture of what makes this antagonist interesting. Overall, this is just a fun comic that exemplifies what a Justice League book should be (damsel in distress Wonder Woman notwithstanding).
An art change in this book, already, as Aaron Lopresti takes over the main pencils. Thankfully, Lopresti is a fine stand in for Mahnke, as they both have somewhat similar styles. While this book might seem a little strange in trade, as a single issue it reads really well. In particular I love the way Lopresti draws Eradicator, and David Baron’s colors. Every panel he is on, the character pops. His colors illuminate and the inking around him seems sharper (Matt Ryan provides the inks) and it is a really cool effect. All the action is well laid out and dynamic, and helps exemplify the quick pace of the script. There is nothing bad to say about the art here, as a single issue.