In Review: Justice League #42

PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: A trio to track down before the Gods arrive and change your life. The Main cover is by Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson, responsible for the art and colors, respectively. It’s a magnificent conglomeration with Wonder Woman being the dominant figure. Over her right shoulder Superman carries an unconscious Lex Luthor, with Apokolips behind the pair. Mister Miracle is shown looking resolved under the two heroes. On the Amazon’s shield is Metron in his iconic chair, while Batman and Green Lantern are in the shine coming off the New God. This is a poster quality image with perfect coloring. The Teen Titans Go! Variant is by Dan Hipp. Cyborg is the sole Titan on this cover, busting some serious dance moves; his right hand pointing to the sky, and his left wrist reading “BOOYAH!” on its monitor. Behind him Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Flash are making some dance moves, though Batman only watches — with a smile. High above, Wonder Woman has lassoed Superman, while down in the corner, barely seen, Darkseid watches the events transpire. Cute, though why the Amazon has caught the Kryptonian makes no sense. The Joe Quinones Variant cover is oddly laid out. Darkseid is in the lower left corner, standing on a cement cracked pink/violet floor, surrounded by three young kneeling disciples. Wonder Woman is flying away from him, holding a man who looks out of place. Superman is horizontally flying down from the issue number to belt the baddie, while Batman and Green Lantern fly in from the right. Good idea for a cover, but there’s too much wasted space in the image and it’s difficult to find a focus: I’m drawn to Wonder Woman, then Bats, then GL, then Darkseid, and Superman last. It’s not working. Overall grades: Main A+, Teen Titans Go! Variant C+, and Quinones Variant C

The story: Four tiny words are in a vertical black panel, The Gods Are Coming, and then Lex regains consciousness just as Superman is about to do something delicate to help him recover from the gunshot his sister gave him last issue. Luthor rises after the procedure, stunned at where they are: Apokolips. The story then moves to Darkseid’s residence where DeSaad tells him, “The Kryptonian is here!” Steppenwolf states that he will kill the intruder, but their master merely moves his head a little from his view outside to say, “You believe your ax is what will destroy the Kryptonian, Steppenwolf?” Darkseid states that he doesn’t want Superman’s death; he wants his soul. He orders that the Furies, Mantis, and Kalibak be released. Meanwhile, the arrival of the Anti-Monitor on Earth has Grail (Darkseid’s daughter) gleeful. Wonder Woman races forward to vanquish him, but someone’s arrival changes things. A good portion of Geoff Johns‘ story has Scot Free’s full introduction to Myrina Black, who gives him her backstory and what the stakes are for the battle between the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid. The highlight of the book is what begins on Page 20 and goes until the end of the issue. There are some scream worthy lines on Page 21 in panels one, three, and five. And if those didn’t chill a reader’s soul, the last four words of the book certainly will. This story has officially gone into unchartered territory and things are going to go really badly for the heroes. I’m completely enthralled with this. Overall grade: A+

The art: This is how an epic story should be illustrated! The opening page introduces Lex and Superman to readers, with some emergency assistance, ending with a terrific look at the once villainous multi-billionaire in a rare moment of surprise. The full paged splash on Page 2 is a sensationally detailed look at the sprawling hell that is Apokolips. Jason Fabok really outdid himself on this page. The slow build to Darkseid’s reveal is also good, with his back showing his disdain for his two minions. Page 8 partially spreads into 9 with the Anti-Monitor countering Wonder Woman’s attack. Her response on 9 is excellent. Fabok is able to create epic scenes (Pages 6, 8, 12, 14, and 21), but does some really dynamic work in close-ups (1, 9, 11, 17, and 18), giving the characters a humanity that any reader can relate to. The settings are also outstanding (2, 6, 12, and 15), with Black’s abode being the real stunner. DC, you have to promise to identify every artifact in this room when the collected version of this tale comes out. My favorite pages by Fabok are the final two, because that’s one of my favorite characters and his reaction in every panel is a stunner. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Because this book goes to several very different locations and the cast wears brightly colored clothes, the deck is stacked for Brad Anderson to succeed in his contributions, and, boy, does he! Luthor’s emerald armor is woefully out of place on Apokolips, and even on the opening page he stands out. Page 2 is gorgeous combination of oranges, yellows, rust, and tans — perfect colors for this dark world. These smoldering colors continue when the Anti-Monitor is about to battle Wonder Woman, but the arrival of the character on 10 changes the color scheme, bringing a cold, technological, unflinching seriousness to the book. I really liked the cool blue that dominates the sound on Pages 20 and 21. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The opening four words, dialogue, screams, a whisper, opening title and credits, narration, sounds, Mother Box speak, and next issue’s terrible tease are all created by Rob Leigh. The sound on Pages 20 and 21 just dominated this book wonderful, evoking several dramatic responses in a character and in me. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This was fantastic. PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING PING You want this. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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