The ersatz Justice League - Nightwing, Cyborg, Starfire, Lex Luthor, Hawkgirl, and Detective Chimp - embark on a dual-pronged attack on both the Mindhunter Batman and the Omega Knight, with all of creation in the balance!
But the Mindhunter is no easy pickings, as Hawkgirl is discovering...
Detective Chimp, though, remains reluctant to join the fray. He's seen too many of his friends die horribly. But he may just be the key to victory...
First and foremost: Do you see that Liam Sharpe cover?! THAT is an amazing cover. It’s gruesome and grotesque and highly-detailed and leaps right off the stands, especially with that neon pink logo. There won’t be a single other cover on the shelves this week that grabs your eye like it does and begs you to look at what twisted $#!& is going on in there. That is how you do a cover.
It’s too bad that Sharpe couldn’t have painted or even just (“just”) drawn the interiors, but he’s too busy killing it over on The Green Lantern Season 2. Not to slight Robson Rocha and Daniel Henriques and Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s stellar job, of course. This trio is easily one of the strongest working not only at DC but in comics right now, and given the wild and crazy world of Death Metal they’re getting to play with in “Doom Metal,” they’re really getting a chance to shine. Evil J’onn J’onzz/Batman hybrid? Check. Heroes decked out like extras from Lord of the Rings? Check. A flying metal horse? Check. A giant all-powerful space god? Check, check check. Point is – there’s a veritable smorgasbord of high-concept bric-a-brac for the artists to go absolutely hot-wild with, and they succeed on every level. “Doom Metal” may not be anyone’s idea of the next highbrow, pinky-in-the-air Eisner-bait for the monocle-and-top hat crowd, but it isn’t meant to be. It’s big, goofy, over-the-top fun and it succeeds in that at every level. There is literally a talking chimp flying around on an invisible armor horse.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking Justice League #56 is all tomfoolery, hijinks, and fisticuffs. Writer Josh Williamson manages to squeeze in some good emotional beats, too. Hawkgirl’s anguish for J’onn’s suffering is all-too-real, as is Detective Chimp’s reluctance to jump into the fray. I wish Cyborg and Starfire were given more to do, but given the size of the cast and the limited number of issues to tell the story in, I understand. Nightwing, too, takes something of a back seat this issue. Hawkgirl and Bobo carry the emotional weight for this issue, so it makes sense that everyone else – yes, even Lex Luthor and Martian Manhunter – would take a back seat. Que sera sera.
There’s a devastating blow toward the end of the story, apropos that this is the penultimate “Doom Metal” chapter. Not to mention a pretty nasty cliffhanger that has been building since Luthor’s betrayal of the Legion of Doom to Perpetua. How fully this little side trek through DC’s answer to Middle Earth will play into the ultimate Death Metal narrative remains to be seen, but it’s been a fun ride. Horns up, time to ride into the sunset next issue.
Justice League #56, "Doom Metal" part four is a heckuva lot of fun, bolstered by stellar art and a fun story with strong emotional beats. It may not be high art, but it's fun, and that's what counts more than anything else!
Justice League #56: All Guts, No Glory
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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