Justice League of America #8 by Matt Kindt (Comics Review)

Given the way that DC’s last big crossover event, Trinity War, ended and the way that the current event, Forever Evil, started, the big question on everybody’s mind has been just what the hell happened to the three Justice League teams. Forever Evil #1 jumped forward in time a bit and its opening act is disconnected with the ending of Justice League #23, which was the final Trinity War issue. It was only until the final page of this month’s Forever Evil #2 that we were able to get a glimpse of that in-between time, or rather, the result of it.

With Justice League of America #8, the first JL issue to hit stands since Justice League #23 in August, we finally begin to explore where the heroes are, what’s happened to them, and what the future has in store. Matt Kindt begins his 6-issue arc on this title with this new release, and it promises to be an interesting time, if he can get rid of all the kinks in his script.

JLA 08The interviews and information released prior to the release of the issue indicated that this book was going to be a buddy-cop story for the new arc, with Martian Manhunter and Stargirl acting out the roles in a world where the other heroes are… gone. As a premise and concept, it is a fairly interesting one, with lots of potential behind it. And a lot of that has to do with the pairing of the two characters here, two characters who we have seen very little of so far in the New 52. We know a little about the Manhunter thanks to the Justice League of America backups so far (also written by Matt Kindt) and through some bits and pieces of dialogue in Geoff Johns’ Justice League. Stargirl, who has only been featured in Justice League of America till now, hasn’t really done much since she has been relegated to the background by Amanda Waller, who wants to use her (or wanted I should say) as the public face of the team, and little else. So its great to see that these two characters are getting their day in the sun.

And combined with the fact that this arc is going to explore the fate of the missing heroes, well, you have a recipe for awesome in your hands. But the thing is that Matt Kindt doesn’t quite deliver on that promise, that potential.

The issue can be summed up like this: Manhunter and Stargirl wake up in a dreamscape that resembles some kind of a field; they meet up with Ronnie, who is one-half of the superhero known as Firestorm; then they all investigate what Ronnie calls the prison, where every hero who is imprisoned within is forced to confront a core aspect of their being.

Largely, I was okay with all of those, but some of the execution just threw me off. Take Wonder Woman for example. Her prison is that she has to fight a neverending battle against both her fellow Amazons who are holding Steve Trevor prisoner and against US Army soldiers who are holding Superman prisoner. In her own words, she is reduced to a simpering fool, love-struck, unable to choose. There’s nothing in any of the JL books that supports this kind of an indecision. Even her own solo book has nothing of the sort. And Shazam. We saw in the closing stages of Trinity War that he was corrupted by Pandora’s Box and had turned into a parody of himself, wearing what appeared to be the same costume as his nemesis Black Adam. But here we see that he is back as he was before the whole story on that front. What caused his reversion? Why is he in prison here? Granted, the idea of his prison is pretty solid, and one that matches well with how his character has developed in the Justice League backups and during Trinity War, but I just have one question after another.

And so on. We see Flash’s prison. Superman’s. Green Lantern Simon Baz’s. While I appreciate what Matt Kindt is doing here, the entire script feels like so much filler. It doesn’t add anything to the ongoing Forever Evil storyline. All the questions I had going into Forever Evil, they have doubled now. I want to know more.

The art in this issue is by Doug Mahnke who is on pencils with Christian Alamy, Tom Nguyen, Keith Champagne and Marc Deering on inks, and Gabe Eltaeb and Hi-Fi are on the colours. Overall, this issue is one of Doug Mahnke’s best so far. He really gets all the characters and he draws them with an expressive body language and diverse facial expressions. Its great to see all these characters back in action and Doug Mahnke is definitely the one person who should reintroduce them following Trinity War. Apart from a few minor niggles here and there, the only thing that stood out for me was how he drew Wonder Woman. She was too thin, too… delicate. That doesn’t jive well at all with how she’s been drawn in the last few issues of Justice League or how she is drawn in her own solo book.

The large number of inkers means that there are some inconsistencies in the artwork in that respect, but nothing that particularly stood out for me. And the same goes for the colours. Its eye-popping artwork all the way and for the most part, it all gels together given the number of people involved.

With next week’s release of both Justice League and Justice League Dark, I’m hoping that some of the questions are answered. And that over time the larger storyline is streamed out.

Rating: 7.5/10

More Justice League of America: #1, #2-4, #6-7, #7.4.

Posted on October 17, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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