Justice League #50
Writer: Si Spurrier
Pencils: Aaron Lopresti
Inks: Matt Ryan
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Tom Napolitano
The Justice League is still governing an alien planet, trying to balance the political factions of two subspecies and an incoming terrorist threat. Batman seems to be taking to his authority status quite happily, while Wonder Woman questions if this is the right thing for The League to spend their time doing. Superman and the rest seem to be just trying their best in the situation at hand. The previous two issues culminate here in an extra-sized issue #50.
Without spoiling much The Justice League does end up saving the day yet again. But the way they do so leads to some unexpected surprises along the way, at least as contained in this arc. The Justice League remain in their political stances for most of the story and continue to mismanage governance with only the best intentions. There is a larger theme at play here about outsiders taking control of a foreign land, but The Justice League was directly asked to be the leaders. The main struggles for The League are two-fold. On one hand, they have a population that purposefully puts themselves into two different groups and then immediately hates the other faction upon joining. In this issue, two life long friends become enemies, as one joins “the way of the spark.” If you have read The Sneeches by Dr. Suess you get the gist of it. The other major issue is the constant incoming terrorist threat. This issue outlines who these bombers are, and how they only see things in the present and not the past or the future. They fight because they are fighting, there is no reason they care to remember of goal they are looking toward, making them a tough to negotiate with species. All of these plot threads come together with some new twists to put the title heroes back in their original status quo by the end.
Issue #50 is usually a milestone story. Last time Justice League hit issue #50 it was the conclusion of the massive Darkseid War. This issue may be extra-sized, but it is the conclusion to an inconsequential fill-in arc. Nothing feels special about this comic. While the story isn’t bad, it is nothing memorable either. The Justice League simply has a mini self-contained adventure and some basic political thematic lessons are learned along the way. There was never any real stakes in this comic. The three issues feel like a drawn-out silver age adventure. While I am more than happy for some off the wall mishaps and alien adventures, it comes at a time this title has been spinning its wheels for too long. I don’t think anyone is going to remember this book. In serialized storytelling, the downfall and the draw are to continuously be building. While it can be exhausting, it can also be fun and rewarding. The Justice League went from DC’s must-read title to a book that anyone could skip and feel like they are missing nothing. Si Spurrier created a fine story here it just comes at the wrong time and on the wrong title.
The art here is fun and Aaron Lopresti gets to create some fun new alien species. However, it is all in service of a mediocre story with no real weight. The art elevates everything here but fails to make anything shine. I hold nothing against the team here as they are between runs and just fulfilling work duties, rather than creating something truly memorable.