Justice League #69
The superspies of Checkmate poke their sneaky noses where they do not belong, and the Justice League are NOT happy about it. In fact, most of the League isn't even happy Checkmate exists, setting up Checkmate versus the Justice League! The superspies versus the super...guys. In Justice League Dark, Zatanna is locked in a battle with the greatest sorcerer of all time-Merlin!
Somehow I am still reading Bendis’ Leviathan saga, though Justice League #69 seems barely related. Bendis’ Leviathan books felt too isolated as if nothing else in the multiverse was happening except Mark Shaw and Leviathan. Bendis’ Justice League run feels a lot different, especially this issue. The best way to describe it would be “fun,” and it really is. The always incredible Phil Hester’s pencils are simple and comforting and set the tone of the book. The art plays well with Bendis’ humor and possibly the reason why the jokes land. In fact, the art of this issue is what makes it a fun read. Hi-Fi’s colors are vivid and bright when they need to be, but aren’t imposing on Eric Gabstur’s inks. Dealing with big teams, too much detail, along with Bendis’ bountiful dialogue, can be too much to handle. Hester’s pencils and Gapstur’s inks are an amazing pair that effectively mellow out the sometimes overwhelming Bendis dialogue. There are a few double-page spreads that I would have liked to focus on the art rather than dialogue, but the artists and Josh Reed make the most out of it.
It wouldn’t be right to applaud the artists without including Josh Reed. Bendis’ writing can strain my eyes and give me whiplash in the same panel, but Reed is able to wrangle every word and make it work. In the end, Bendis offers enough fun dialogue and unique characterizations to stick around. It might be a long time before we see Bendis writing for DC or Marvel, so I plan on enjoying this for what it is: a fun team-up book with an extremely talented creative team.
The Ram V penned Justice League Dark backup story, “A Knight Reborn,” found at the end of the issue has fast-paced action with the intensity you expect out of Justice League Dark. Sumit Kumar’s art seems perfect for this book, and Jose Marzan Jr.’s additional inking on the last half of the story is on par with Kumar’s. Romulo Fajardo Jr. brilliantly ties it all together with incredible colors that weirdly capture the absolute horror of what is happening but come off just as beautiful. Throwing you right in as The Upside-Down Man’s power takes control of Zatanna’s body, the rest of the team scrambles to save her and take down Merlin. With an incredible list of characters and some really great action, like Demon diving through the air to grab Zatanna or Aquaman crashing down to confront Merlin, there is something for everyone.
Justice League #69 moves quickly but sets up a fun arc with an insanely talented creative team plus a captivating look at Justice League Dark!
Justice League #69: Time for Some Fun
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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