Justice League #49
Writer: Si Spurrier
Pencils: Aaron Lopresti
Inks: Matt Ryan
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Tom Napolitano
The Justice League has found themselves in the middle of political conflict. They were able to solve a dispute between separate alien factions, and therefore they were asked to lead the planet. While they were originally reluctant to offer their leadership skills they committed after seeing that there were some external threats still in play. This comic mostly deals with how The Justice League functions as a government body, and not solely as a superhero team.
When the comic opens it is clear that the entire League is behind the idea of leading a nation, except Wonder Woman. She sees the team as saviors and protectors but not leaders. Even though the quickly dealt with the suicide bomber at the end of the last issue, they still seem to be stumbling with dealing with the minor issues of running a government. The Justice League are a great team to protect your nation from terrorists, but they might not understand the ins and outs of an alien culture’s mating rituals (something that gets Flash in trouble in this comic). Most of the issue is Batman working behind the scenes as an all-seeing “big brother” figure, Superman just trying his best to understand everything, and The Flash acting far to quick and impulsive to make intelligent decisions. Wonder Woman is the voice of reason throughout the comic explaining why the team cannot lead. They just don’t have the know-how and aptitude when dealing with foreign cultures.
This is a very politically charged comic and a “moral story.” This comic is meant to teach a lesson and is fairly heavy-handed with its lesson. I do not think this is a bad thing, as The Justice League is read by people of all ages, and it is important to not lose the moral of the story. Si Spurrier is trying to show to the reader that even when the occupying force (in this case The Justice League) is without a doubt well-intentioned, they are incapable of ruling a nation when the culture is different than there own. Saving a nation from outside threats and terrorism is one thing, but forcing your way of life and culture can only lead to more damage. Even when the nation is welcoming (like the aliens here) they should be the ones that hold the power in governance and not an outside force. Every character, other than Wonder Woman, makes the same mistakes we see in the real world. Superman may be well-intentioned but he is an outsider and would need years of education and understanding to effectively lead a different culture. The moral here is effectively told by Spurrier. I just wish they were allowing him to be more than a fill-in writer and have his build towards issue #50 become a launching point of a larger story. This issue will most likely be forgotten in the grand scheme of things, even though it is a solid story.
Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, and David Baron are continuing to create some beautiful comics. I can tell they are having fun coming up with alien species and environments. The mating ritual in particular was a fun little moment. The tech in this book looks impressively alien and foreign and not just a transplant of what we have on Earth. The art elevates this arc to an impressive level.