Justice League #43
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Richard Friend
Colorist: David Baron
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Leading into the final part of this arc, The Justice League was finally at an upper hand. Wonder Woman was in captivity but had escaped, and learned that The Eradicator was looking to use her DNA with Kryptonian DNA to make a perfect species. In early issues The Eradicator had all but taken over The Earth, but due to actions by The Flash and Madame Xanadu things have turned around. The Flash was able to get The Eradicator and the Daxamites to chase him through a portal that led to a planet without the solar energy needed to power Kryptonians.
Being the final issue of the arc, everything wraps up here. It isn’t a spoiler to say that things look up for The Justice League. The bulk of the comic is a large battle between The Eradicator (and his army) against The League, giving the readers another action packed issue. Eradicator’s plan turns on him when the Daxamites learn that he was looking into incorporating Amazonian DNA into the mix, and the lack of yellow sun exposure doesn’t help. The way things tie up at the end reset The League to a status quo, but one with a newfound connection to Madame Xanadu.
Robert Venditti’s run so far has been simple yet fun. I have compared it to reading an episode of the excellent Justice League cartoon. Stakes are set, action ensues, and things get resolved in an exciting way. While this seems to not be like the long form storytelling The Justice League title was accustomed to, under Scott Snyder, it is a nice change of pace. Especially since this is an introductory arc of his run, Venditti proved he can handle a vast array of characters and give them a worthy adversary. There is a great Superman moment in this issue, that shows he really understands the character. Superman is depowered and bleeding, yet still makes a selfless choice to save his team. It is nice to see that a character that has been wrongly lumped into a category that puts him, “hard to write” or “boring,” shown as compelling and motivating. Every single character in this book has a proper voice and motivation. No one seems inessential or inconsequential. The only issue I have with Venditti comes with the next issue, these fun “done in one” story arcs are fine for now, but we are going to need a larger stary coming together. Sadly, if this never comes together in a grand scale (like Snyder’s run) it will be relegated to a forgotten run on the title.
Doug Mahnke comes back to pencil the last issue (he previously was on art duties in the first issue of this run). His work is something I have enjoyed in the past but in comparison to the way the middle of this arc looked, it sadly pales. In trade the art changes are going to be jarring and make the book look incohesive. With the clean style the title has become accustomed to, Mahnke’s style is a little “off.” The action and layouts are great but there is something not quite right with how he draws faces. The Eradicator looks better than ever, but Wonder Woman has strange sunken in eyes, for example. Maybe these stylistic choices wouldn’t bother me if it was a complete look across the issues, but as it stands I was slightly disappointed with the way this issue looked.