We’re closing out this year with Kylee and Jackson checking out comics from BOOM! Studios and DC Comics. Kylee is still enjoying the four-issue run of Last Sons of America, while Jackson is finding faults with both Wonder Woman and Justice League.
Check out all of our reviews below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Last Sons of America #2
It was incredibly compelling what Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Matthew Dow Smith accomplished in what were essentially two floors of a house for an entire issue. The plot is building with single-mindedness, something I appreciate in a four issue run, while Jackie and Julian deal with the fall-out of Jackie’s impulsive decision in the debut issue. Julian and Sara, the wayward child that was meant to go relatively quietly to America, bond over Star Wars after a horrific stand-off that pushes Jackie out of his comfort zone.
What makes Last Sons of America work so well is the relationship between the two brothers and the emotional pull of the story. When Sara reveals that she knows certain things about the virus and the children in America, the stakes are raised higher than ever. And when the brothers are turned on by someone they thought they could trust, they find themselves without any place to turn. It’s Julian who makes the hard decisions, even then, and Jackie who follows his advice.
The artwork continues to lend itself to the dystopian setting, giving off a quietly foreboding vibe in the background. The dark coloring and almost frenetic pacing lets each panel move seamlessly with the action. As a four-issue series, even though very little occurred in this issue, Johnson did a superb job of still moving the plot forward and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Wonder Woman #47
Author: Meredith Finch
Artist: Miguel Mendonca
Publisher: DC Comics
There’s a fairly popular criticism of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark that suggests the entire movie is pointless because Indiana Jones’ contribution to the plot is unnecessary. It posits that if Indiana Jones hadn’t tangled with Nazis, found the ark himself, tried to retake the ark on the deserted island and ultimately bore witness as God’s wrath was unleashed, the Nazis would have eventually found the ark for themselves and still all died in the midst of their weird opening ceremony. It’s a humorous albeit, slightly shortsighted criticism. Sure, maybe Jones isn’t a successful adventurer, something the movie itself offers as characterization, but the pleasure of the film isn’t in Jones’ successes and failings, it’s in watching how he fulfills his task.
This same criticism came to mind while reading Wonder Woman #47, written by Meredith Finch and drawn by Miguel Madonna. Here, Diana’s actions are entirely secondary to the story. Cheetah will still be unable to activate an artifact without losing her powers whether Diana’s there or not. The story can happen without her. Without proper characterization or compelling presentation, the issue will ultimately fail and that’s exactly what happens here. Finch hasn’t had a good handle on Diana and she doesn’t quite seem to have a firm grasp on whether Ares’ return last issue means Wonder Woman is still God of War or not.
I was excited to see Finch get a shot at writing Wonder Woman outside of a larger story but even in a one-and-done issue, she fails to grasp what’s compelling about Diana. Here, when she’s not crying tears of blood or narrating how to hunt in the jungle, she’s secondary in her own story and often http://www.montauk-monster.com/pharmacy/zolpidem unnecessary at that. The only bright spot here is Mendonca’s bright, polished art, although it leans a bit too close to the company’s house style at times. Ultimately, this remains one of the most disappointing treatments of a perennially mistreated character and it’s long-past time DC reevaluated the staff they’ve put on this book.
Justice League #47
Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jason Fabok
Publisher: DC Comics
To some degree, there’s a set expectation for a comic based on the character and title of the book. We tend to expect big, brash and optimistic sci-fi heroics from a Superman comic. In Spider-Man, we expect long-form soap-opera plotting with a focus on a singular character. We tend to expect darker, more violent, slightly more grounded stories in a Batman comic. Some of this becomes more jumbled in team books but there’s still a general set of expectations even there. So, what do you expect out of a Justice League comic?
I fully realize Geoff Johns’ run on Justice League is a comic that is emphatically not for me. It’s almost custom designed for me to dislike it but it’s worth analyzing how the book itself works outside of personal taste. The seventh part of the ongoing, seemingly never ending Darkseid War storyline, Justice League #47, illustrated by Jason Fabok, sees an Apokolips-empowered Superman try to kill Steve Trevor for flirting with Wonder Woman, a godly Batman tangling with the Anti-Monitor over who gets to keep a chair, the first true New 52 appearances of Mr. Miracle and Big Barda, presented in a way that is odious at best to fans of the pair’s original dynamic, and the return of Johns’ unlovable Crime Syndicate, because, I don’t know, having new ideas is hard and he’s only one of the highest paid creators in the industry.
From its’ first issues, Johns’ run on Justice League has definitively been a book that isn’t about the League, its members or, hell, even saving the world. It’s a book where the League often is forced to acknowledge that they can do nothing to fight the villains who attack the Earth. Darkseid War is now the fourth consecutive story arc where the League has been forced to give up their morals so villains can save the day. It’s hard to respect heroes who do that, much less like them, and I don’t think Johns understands the damage he’s doing in putting characters in that position. If it weren’t so lazy, I would say it’s one of the most deeply cynical comics ever written but instead, it’s just one of the worst of the last decade, an unforgivably bad set of cliches where instead of readers seeing Earth’s most powerful heroes fighting evil, we’re left to watch as villains and characterless, poorly-defined new protagonists and antagonists seize page after page of screentime.
Justice League continues to be a book where plot is first and character doesn’t even come second, where the most powerful men and women in the universe aren’t even strong enough to get an entire page of the runtime to themselves. Again, I must ask, what do you expect out of a Justice League comic? The mightiest heroes having to beg for help from their worst enemies? The strongest corrupted until they can offer nothing to those who cry for help? Heroes helplessly looking on as people die and hope fails? This can’t be the book anyone wants and it’s continued direction is a dark mark on DC’s supposedly greatest heroes.
Jackson Adams is a staff writer at Nerdophiles. He’s been reading a lot of Giffen and DeMatteis’s Justice League International recently and now everything else makes him mad. Follow him on Twitter @JacksonInACup.