Justice League #40
The next chapter for comics' premier superteam begins! An unexpected arrival from the stars brings a dire warning to the Justice League: A new breed of conquerors is on the march. Led by Superman's nemesis Eradicator, a genetically engineered, super-powered strike team has come to subjugate Earth. To aid the Justice League, Batman makes the unprecedented decision of enlisting an ancient, unrivaled power, which calls into question who, exactly, is in charge. With the League on unsure footing, will they be ready to save the world?
Robert Venditti is not Scott Snyder. In case there was any question, I suppose I might start there. Where Snyder’s run was rooted in complex, decompressed, and intricate storytelling, Venditti is far more straight-forward with his narrative structure, opting to get right to the point with this issue. As an Eradicator army heads for Earth, the League attempts to enlist Madame Xanadu to “do that voodoo she do so well” and deploy magic against the Kryptonian based army.
Venditti brings new conflicts to the League’s leadership structure, not unlike previous writers. This time around, the conflict seems to be between John Stewart and Batman, both naturual born leaders with drastically different styles of leadership. The personality conflicts between the two should be interesting to monitor as the story progresses.
Mention of Batman does raise the rather curious moment in which Batman calls back to cave and speaks to Alfred (who was killed off during Tom King’s run on Batman). Later in the issue, Superman references Alfred’s passing, leaving readers to question whether this inclusion was a gaff or possibility the seed of a future side-story. Given Venditti’s past works, I find it hard to believe he could have made such a sloppy error so be on the lookout for future developments. Not a writer typically known for character voice, Venditti does very good work here making his Batman feel slightly off through the manipulation of his dialogue.
Here’s to hoping we get to see Doug Mahnke stick around on art. His straight-forward, clean style of artwork with beautiful finishes by Richard Friend are a welcome departure from the apt but overly-stylized renderings from previous art teams. Mahnke is a seasoned veteran and should serve very well as DC seeks to reinforce the creative shift in Justice League to bring back fans lost during Snyder’s tenure on the book (I quite enjoyed Snyder’s run but I do understand those of you out there who didn’t).
Justice League #40 (Venditti, Mahnke, Friend, Baron, Napolitano) is off to a strong start with back-to-the-basics, straight-forward superhero action.
Justice League #40: It’s Reigning (Super)Men
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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