JUSTICE LEAGUE: ENDLESS WINTER #1/ Story by ANDY LANNING & RON MARZ/ Art by HOWARD PORTER/ Colors by HI-FI/ Letters by ANDWORLD DESIGN/ Published by DC COMICS
Superhero crossover events can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s a fun time seeing all of your favorite heroes joining forces to face global threats. On the other hand, some crossover events grind the on-going stories of various monthly books to a screeching halt and the efforts to tie everything together fall flat. More recent event books have been run independent of the monthly series, but this results in world-shaping mega-events that don’t really seem to change anything. This has been especially true at DC Comics of late.
Endless Winter #1 is different. It feels more like a classic crossover event than the likes of Dark Nights Metal and Doomsday Clock. Indeed, the whole thing reminded me of The Final Night – a 1996 crossover, no longer in continuity I think, in which the heroes of Earth rallied to save the Earth as some alien monster began eating the sun, all while facing the possibility that they might not be able to win this fight. Endless Winter is not so fatalistic. At least, not yet. But it does sport a similar focus on characters over circumstances.
The action is split between the Justice League dealing with a small gang of supervillains and a group of scientists working for Stagg Industries digging too deep in their efforts to excavate where the Fortress of Solitude once stood. It’s the same old story you see in many Justice League books and every fantasy or horror novel where an ancient evil is awakened. Where Andy Lanning and Ron Marz succeed is in putting the focus on the people behind the costumes rather than the king of the Frost Giants emerging from a long winter’s nap intent on freezing the world solid.
Most of the issue has The Flash talking with his fellow heroes about how to balance their work as a superhero and their normal lives – a subject few of them are prepared to discuss and one for which nobody has an easy answer. The dialogue here easily establishes the characters and their personalities and also conveys the status quo in most of the heroes’ solo series, for the benefit of those (like me) who haven’t been keeping up on the Superman comics of late.
The artwork for this first issue is excellent. Howard Porter and Hi-Fi have proven themselves to be quite the dream team on The Flash solo series and their work here proves equally complementary. Porter works an amazing amount of detail into each panel, but keeps his linework clear and consistent and his inks largely light. One of the better touches is that the various ice monsters are highlighted with white rather than defined with black lines as is normal, which more accurately captures the appearance of real ice.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Endless Winter when I read the solicitations but I approve of it most heartily now after this first chapter. It may not be the be-all and end-all of DC Comics 2020 season but it is a solid story with fantastic art and some great character moments. This is easily the best crossover event to come out of DC Comics in some time.