JUSTICE LOST, PART 4: As Wonder Woman lies dying, can the League save her in time? But if they divert any attention, innocent people will surely die. All this and Deathstroke too!
JUSTICE LEAGUE #42
Authors: Christopher Priest
Artists: Pete Woods
Letters: Willie Schu
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
Jessica Cruz kissed Batman. And she’s been obsessed about it. Mostly embarrassed. And on the way back to Earth with Simon Baz, she told him about it. At least they’re not talking about his lunch with Superman anymore.
The League has been plagued by a Fan who knows who they really are and who is trying to help them by forcing them to make hard decisions. Part of what the Fan has done was to crash their Watchtower which landed the League in Africa, and in a whole new dilemma.
The Red Lion shows up to complicate matters as the League is trapped between refugees, various warlords, and the Lion’s armed forces. And in all of the chaos, Wonder Woman is accidentally shot in the neck.
What You’ll Find Out:
Even as the two Green Lanterns obsess about their own problems on their way back to Earth, they notice a startling fact: the Watchtower is no longer in orbit.
On the ground, Superman quickly uses his heat vision to cauterize Wonder Woman’s neck. He picks her up and flies off, but Flash intercepts. Superman is needed to protect the refugees and Flash is faster anyways. He can get Wonder Woman the help she needs but Superman is needed here. And as the warlords prepare to slaughter civilians, they notice a red/blue blur heading their way.
At the Red Lion’s presidential palace, Cyborg finally wakes up, his cybernetic systems still not responding because of something the Fan did to him. Deathstroke is standing over him. Not really gloating, but as all villains do when they think they hold the upper hand: monologuing. Explaining how the Red Lion deliberately sent the refugees to the League, knowing the League would protect them, but also knowing that public perception would be different. They would see the League intervening in other countries’ affairs. It’s the Red Lion’s plan to get the press, the attention he wants.
In San Francisco, Kid Flash grabs Raven, asking for her help. He takes her to Barry Allen where a Wonder Woman lies dying.
Back at the Presidential Palace, Cyborg is left alone. He’s trying to make his way to an apple with a knife left in it. But he’s struggling, his systems shutting down.
The two Lanterns finally make their way to the wreckage of the Watchtower. They find absolute chaos with refugees under fire from Kamala’s forces and the Red Lion’s forces firing on everybody. When Jessica watches a boy mow down a crowd of refugees, she decides to take a blanket approach to force everybody to stop, putting up her own barriers as Superman and Simon do the same. Meanwhile, in the palace, Batman and Aquaman teleport in, holding the Fan prisoner. The Fan keeps pushing them to kill, which, of course, is fostering disagreement between Batman and Aquaman. The two find Cyborg, sitting against a fireplace, a knife in his gut. But he’s conscious. And weak. He advises Aquaman and Batman to step back and he starts glowing.
Elsewhere in the Palace, the Red Lion is having a teleconference with the UN, demanding that they cease their no-fly zone over his country as well as release the aid they have sitting (he also demands a new iPhone). However, the communication is interrupted as his screen turns to static. Someone appears behind him and Cyborg lays him down with a single punch. Cyborg then explains how he built in a subroutine to avoid the Fan’s changes to the teleporter and had buried it deep within himself which he needed the knife to get. This subroutine fixed him.
Outside, the violence has stopped, thanks to the League. Superman is ready to leave, but Jessica Cruz feels they still have work to do here. If they leave, the killing will just start again. And thus starts the debate of what the League should do. Simon understands why the League must stay out of it. Cyborg arrives, carrying a jeep with Batman, the Fan, and Deathstroke. The argument continues, the League divided on what to do, how to help these people, what their mission should be.
The arguing is stopped by a single gunshot. They look over at the jeep where Deathstroke has just shot and killed the Fan.
There. He just solved one of the League’s problems.
What Just Happened?
My first thought as I opened this book, was “yay, we get the Green Lanterns!” My next thought was “finally, we get some clue that Priest actually cares about continuity!” (it had been bugging me that Jessica and Batman kissed even though Batman was engaged in his own book)
I was already enjoying this book.
The next couple pages were fairly mediocre, with Wonder Woman dying, choking on her own blood (the gurgling sounds were great) as we get some inner monologuing from her.
And it was there that I realized I was really going to enjoy this issue.
As always, let me get the worst of it out of the way. Priest again gets really technical when Cyborg explains himself…and it sounds silly. On top of that, Cyborg is giving a speech like a traditional supervillain, using narration to the bad guy to explain to the reader what happened. It bugs me and surely there would have been better ways to explain this.
But other than that, I enjoyed this entire book. Pete Woods’ art finally impressed me. That, mixed with the colors (the light shining over Superman at the beginning makes him resemble the Messiah) gave this book a fantastic look to it.
But I think it was Deathstroke that finally did it for me. He’s not your traditional villain and admittedly I don’t know much about him, but his arrival in this issue (okay, yes, he technically arrived last issue, but didn’t actually do anything) is kind of like Priest saying “enough with the arguing, the solution is simple!” See, Deathstroke isn’t part of the League and so he doesn’t have to worry about ramifications to the League. He knows what needs to be done and is willing to do it, even if the League isn’t.
The fan’s the problem. And the solution is simple.
Now, it remains to be seen if the solution is really that effective, but you can’t deny the simplicity. The Fan was wanting the League to kill him (okay, maybe not, but he certainly was “asking for it”) and he finally got his wish. Kind of. And that ending had me staring slack-jawed I really did not see that coming. But Deathstroke is, if nothing else, efficient. He didn’t have time to discuss this in a committee. So he’s prepared to handle both the Fan and the League’s other problems.
Of course, it’s probably not that simple. But I’m definitely enjoying this run finally.
Final Thoughts: Priest provides a simple solution to a complex problem. This issue will have you cheering for the bad guys and leave you clamoring for the next issue. And it will probably make you want to pick up Priest’s Deathstroke run as well (it sure did for me).
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