I’m homesick (Justice League #61 Comic Review)
Justice League #61
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Josh Reed
Brian Michael Bendis is building a new Justice League, and they are already on their first major adventure. Much of the team looks the same, but there are two new additions in Naomi and Black Adam. Both characters add new elements to the team dynamics that is not often seen on The Justice League title. Black Adam seems to be a more reluctant member of the team (if you can even call him a member yet) as his interactions with the other members has been more antagonistic in the past. Naomi though, not only is a new member but also takes centre stage. At the end of the previous issue The League was sent to Naomi’s universe, one that has been long destroyed, and her Earth is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It is here that the current issue starts and solely focuses on.
This is an issue with a simple set up, and high concept. The League is lost on another Earth, and they are mostly separated. Having an adventure on another Earth is not new, and was The Justice League’s bread and butter for “event issues” throughout the silver age and beyond. The high concept twist comes from the fact that the new universe has changed each hero’s powers. This ranges from Superman being unable to control his heat vision, therefore becoming blind and ineffective, to Black Canary having a super charged scream attack that is far more powerful than ever before. It is a mixed bag with some of The League greatly benefiting from the change, to other’s being completely off balance. Brutus, the invading villain from the start of Bendis’ run, does not come into play until the end of the issue. The focus here is how The League has changed in their new environment.
Brian Michael Bendis is know for diving deep into exposition and dragging out the most basic elements. Sometimes it seems he is more interested in a storyline than anyone else (Leviathan). Thankfully Bendis is focusing himself on Justice League, and the concept here is a really interesting hook. Not one character or plot element is overwrought. Every League member is given their intro and new status in a quick, efficient, and entertaining manner. This book is a quick read, which is something I can rarely say for Bendis. I am really interested to see where this is going, as the hook is intriguing. He also is able to script some genuine character moments to balance out the story. Batman and Naomi have really engaging dialogue, and it is nice to see Naomi move to the forefront of this title. Bendis does tend to have his pet project characters (often ones he creates himself) and when they click real magic can happen. I am personally still not sold on the character completely, but she does fit wonderfully in this storyline and I am intrigued on how it will fill out her origin and connect with the great DC Universe as a whole. So far Bendis has been a better fit with plotting a Justice League book than he was on Superman. I will always give him a chance as he has written some of my favorite books of all time, and it is great to be able to enjoy his writing again.
David Marquez’s art is incredible here but I would say the real star of the show is Tamra Bonvillain’s colors. The team is in a new universe, so it should look and feel different. All the colors are slightly off from the way our natural universe would look. It is not just “darker” to set the mood. There are far more purples and other highlights that would be unnatural on our Earth or a typical comic panel. It helps transport the art to a different dimension, which just further serves the thematic elements of the story.
Summary Brian Michael Bendis has created an interesting and focused adventure for DC's premier team book. The Justice League is in a new Universe and facing a new threat. And their powers are all out of whack.