JUSTICE LEAGUE #59/ Scripts by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS & RAM V/ Art by DAVID MARQUEZ & XERMANICO/ Color by TAMRA BONVILLAIN & ROMULO FAJARDO JR./ Letters by JOSH REED & ROB LEIGH/ Covers by DAVID MARQUEZ, TAMRA BONVILLAIN, JIM LEE, ALEX SINCLAIR, LIAM SHARP & LEE BEREMEJO/ Published by DC COMICS
Were I in a less charitable mood, I might quip that DC Comics could take comfort in the fact that there’s no way Justice League #59 could be the most over-hyped and disappointing thing ever connected to their biggest superhero team. That would be cold comfort, however, as there is little to recommend this new run starring the World’s Finest heroes beyond a back-up feature that should, by rights, be its own series.
The main story is very much a Brian Michael Bendis joint, with conversations that take place out of sequence with when they occur later in the issue. Most of this chapter is used to establish a powerful new villain who requires that the Justice League come together and ally themselves with new allies. Allies like Naomi McDuffie – Bendis’ new original character.
As per usual, Bendis’ characters all have the same voices in their dialogue and their characterization seems somewhat off. Perhaps the worst offender in this regard is Black Canary, who is, for some reason, against Green Arrow’s idea of using the Justice League to perform more acts of social justice rather than just beating up costumed villains. Ignoring for the moment that the modern Black Canary was a homeless youth who is just as much an activist hero as Green Arrow, it just doesn’t ring true that Dinah Lance would beg her colleagues to “save me from Oliver’s latest rant.” Dinah doesn’t need a bunch of men to save her. She wouldn’t even joke about it. She’d take offense at the idea that she couldn’t fight her own battles or make Oliver Queen shut up unaided. Indeed, she’s one of the few capable of doing it.
The artwork is similarly slapdash. Under David Marquez’s pencil, Green Arrow’s quiver and bow disappear from Oliver Queen’s back between panels. More worryingly, the detail becomes lost past the middle distance within Tamra Bonvillain’s colors. There are also inconsistencies between the script and the artwork, with The Flash in one scene being identified as Barry Allen, but being drawn and colored with Wally West’s curly red mop!
The back-up Justice League Dark story is another kettle of fish completely, being centered around John Constantine and Zatanna teaming up to investigate two prophecies involving weapons forged in Heaven and Hell respectively. Ram V’s story is accessible and distinctive in a way that Bendis’ isn’t and the artwork by Xermanico is vivid and detailed, backed by some amazing color work from Romulo Fajardo Jr. If it were its own book, it would be well worth buying and a 5/5 on its own merits.
Is it worth buying Justice League #59 purely for the glory of the Justice League Dark back-up? Can one truly tolerate a world full of demons for the sake of an angel? That is a decision you will have to make for yourself. For me, this book averages out as decent, at best, and were it still possible for me to purchase Justice League Dark on its own, I would do so.