Nightwing! Firestar! Cyborg! It's the Teen Titans reunion fans have been clamoring for - plus Hawkgirl, Detective Chimp, and... Lex Luthor?!
On a desperate quest to free the Legion of Doom (whom Luthor betrayed) from Perpetua's clutches and deliver a decisive blow to her multiversal war machine, this rag-tag team must somehow figure out whether or not they can trust Lex Luthor at all, despite his claim that only he has the knowledge they need to save the day. But first they must cross... the Valley of Starros! PLUS: Martian Manhunter versus the sinister Mindhunter!
“Doom Metal,” the requisite Dark Nights: Death Metal tie-in, chugs along at a brisk pace in its second installment, but outside of some nice character beats between the O.G. New Teen Titans members, it unfortunately doesn’t have a lot of original ideas to offer. It could be argued that it’s the nature of the editorially-mandated event series tie-in, but given how insanely fun the recent spate of Death Metal one-shots have been, “Doom Metal” really falls short of the expectations set so far. And I can’t blame writer Josh Williamson for that – with “Doom Metal” clearly being an editorial mandate, the man was given certain tools to work with and is doing the best he can with a limited tool chest.
In what’s essentially a quest tale set in a quasi-swords and sorcery world wrought by the Batman Who Laughs, the rag-tag team of heroes must reluctantly accept the help of a known villain (Lex Luthor, whose newfound cloaked appearance and ominous overtones suggests a certain D & D affect) to strike a decisive blow against an unknowable ever-present god of evil. Everyone gets a barbarian-esque makeover, whether it makes sense or not, which feels more about looking cool and fitting the story’s aesthetic than making any sense. That knee-jerk trend toward style over substance dragged the original Metal down a bit in the end; the need to create sweet metal moments and motifs that qualify over adhering to a coherent story lead to an underwhelming finale. Fortunately, the core Death Metal series hasn’t succumbed to that down fall yet, but “Doom Metal,” at least two installments in, just can’t seem to get past the superficial.
Xermanico and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.’s art fits the story well, though. There’s a rough-hewn edge to it that suits a world of giant telepathic starfish and mythic quests to defeat mega-evil. I’m in love with Xermanico’s working of the story title into each issue’s artwork, too; these sorts of details help elevate the artistic experience. But outside the art, Justice League #54 reads more like reheated leftovers than the main course. “Doom Metal” may wind up playing into the ultimate Death Metal narrative, but right now, it feels more superfluous than important.
For better or worse, Justice League #54 continues the "Doom Metal" story, but offers little in the way of originality despite some strong character beats. The art is great and suits the tale, but readers might find themselves feeling more ho-hum than blown away.
Justice League #54: Mental Funeral
Writing - 6.5/106.5/10
Storyline - 5/105/10
Art - 7.5/107.5/10
Color - 7.5/107.5/10
Cover Art - 6.5/106.5/10
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