Synmar! This is over (Justice league #67 Comic Review)
Justice League #67
Writer: Brian Micheal Bendis
Pencils: Phil Hester
Inks: Eric Gastur
Letters: Josh Reed
This arc of Justice League has been dealing with the attack on the Hall of Justice from Synmar, and a “B” plot of Lois Lane’s brother and Checkmate. The previous issue had the league struggling against Synmar as he caused massive devastation to the League’s headquarters and the surrounding city. The Checkmate storyline had a twist with Deathstroke showing up, however it was clearly a new Deathstroke and not Slade Wilson. The issue this week ignores (for the most part) the Checkmate storyline and focuses on ending the attack with Synmar.
This is one of the most straightforward comics I have read in a long time. Synmar is attacking while the League and The United Planets team up to take him down. The United Planets is the organization that had Synmar in custody and let him escape, so they feel responsible for his current actions. This team has shown up in Bendis’ former Superman work, but this is the first time they get a real proper introduction. The comic is full of double page layouts with a new intro of a United Planet member framing the scene. The reader learns where each member came from and their motivations for joining the organization. Other than these brief character introductions the comic is just a battle with Synmar that ends in a fairly predictable way (spoilers will still be avoided though). There is also a little bit about the Checkmate situation in this comic, that seems to be there just to remind readers that the storyline exists.
This comic was ok. It was nothing really special, but it was not bad either. In a trade it would read much better as a culmination to a story, but as a single issue it is just a fight. Bendis does avoid his usual pitfalls here. There is nothing that is overly explained or wordy. He keeps the character intros to a single panel and the flow of action from there works well. It was smart for him to frame it in this way, we get a character, learn about them then see them fight. The only problem is all this smart plotting is in the middle of a mediocre story. Synmar has never been that engaging, and the conclusion of the fight is something you have seen at least 100 times before. Not having the Checkmate story drag the comic was also a smart choice (however I am afraid this means there will be a Checkmate focused issue coming soon). Overall, this was a quick, easy and somewhat fun read that lacked any real uniqueness to make it special or memorable.
The art by Phil Hester was awesome and is a reason to pick up this comic alone. I am a fan of Phil Hester’s style and I think it works really well in the Justice League book. I prefer artists to be a bit more cartoony or unique, versus trying to make things look real. Hester’s are fun and dynamic in a way that can only be achieved by removing itself from realism. Also his colourful style allows the vast group of diverse characters to work well together. The art here really makes this fairly straightforward book a lot more engaging.
Summary The Justice League wraps up their battle with Synmar. The book itself is fairly straightforward and action focused, which leads to a fun but mostly forgettable read. Hopefully The Justice League can move onto a newer and more pressing arc soon.