In Review: Justice League #47

This is what a team book should be.

The covers: Standing before the Anti-Monitor are Lex Luthor, Ultraman, Super Woman, and Owl Man. Before them with her golden lasso in one hand and her shield in the other, Wonder Woman has locked eyes with the reader, silently telling them not to challenge her. I wouldn’t! Fantastic cover by Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson, the interior penciller and colorist for this issue. The art is good and the colors great. My only nick is that that darned bar code and the book’s logo is covering the visual. There’s also a Harley’s Little Black Book Variant cover by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair. Harley Quinn is dressed in roller derby gear, complete with helmet, holding a damn big gun. She’s taking a selfie against a concrete wall that’s seen the firepower of her gun. Falling around her are destroyed stuffed dolls of the Justice League, with only one villain’s doll present. It’s intact and on her shoulder. Cute, but has nothing to do with this issue. Overall grades: Main A+ and Harley’s Little Black Book Variant C+

The story: Still in the Mobius Chair, Batman has transported himself to the Ace Chemical Warehouse, where the Joker was created. He’s still got Green Lantern tagging along, who’s telling him he’s got to get out of the chair. Batman refuses and is about to elaborate on why he came to this setting when the chair gives him a PING and he realizes Superman is in trouble. Superman, still burning white hot after being fed by the flames of Apokolips, is battling Wonder Woman. He demands she quit avoiding him and fight, but the Amazon continues to dodge his attacks. Just when she plays her trump card, writer Geoff Johns moves the story elsewhere, and there are several elsewheres to go to in this issue. The first is Belle Reve Prison where Cyborg, Mister Miracle, Jessica, and Big Barda are there to collect individuals who aren’t thrilled to see them, but surprises on Pages 14 and 22 put quite the spin on their goals. Also making an appearance is one of the villains from earlier in this storyline, who requires one of the heroes’ supporting characters for something nefarious. There’s also the return of someone who exited early, and this individual is very buffed up from the last time they were shown. There’s a whole lot going on in this issue, with the villains being a big highlight, as well as Batman’s continual teasing about what he knows of the Joker. The only reason this doesn’t earn a higher grade is that it’s only a chapter of a larger work: there’s no end to anything in this, only plot advancement, and boy is it advancing. Still, this is a terrific team book. Overall grade: A 

The art: What a difference an artist makes. Jason Fabok returns to pencil this series and it looks much, much better. The details he places in his visuals are amazing. Take a look at Page 3, panel three, on the right side. Fabok could have easily shaded in that tiny glimpse of the background black and no one would have noticed. Really. The focus is on the character, and the space is so small it’s not important to any part of the story. However, he drew a very detailed section of pipes, and in doing so made this book seem more grounded in reality. Had this been a film, viewers would have seen the background. Fabok is going all out in this issue. The double-paged splash of 4 and 5 that introduces the battle between the gods is amazing. First for the character work (with both their muscles looking stellar) and the super (no pun intended) background work. This is a “Wow” illustration in every way. The first glimpse of the first villain on 10 tells as much to the reader as the character’s dialogue. The villain that appears on 18 also tells much from her three panels, with that first panel showing the condition of the character and her mental state. Two full page splashes come off as poster, print, and tee shirt worthy: 14 and 22. Both are of villains, and if there was to be a modern day Who’s Who published these illustrations would be used to define the characters. Mr. Fabok, I’m so glad that you’re back. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The first panel of the book displays the talents of Brad Anderson perfectly. It’s night, yet the sky is a rusty red and the moon an alien orange. Ace Chemical is shown, with its lights on and smokestacks billowing. Rather than use white, Anderson uses the same sickly pea green for illumination and airborne masses. The second panel goes inside the facility where the same green is used for the tanks that hold the poisonous materials and the walls and pipes that surround them. Using this same color is an excellent way to have the readers immediately focus in on the Mobius chair, black and emanating white light, ending with a close-up on Batman. Colors are used to lead the reader into the story flawlessly. Colors constantly enhance the art, such as on the changed man from Krypton, Jessica Cruz’s abilities, and Pages 11 and 12. Anderson completes the illustrations wonderfully. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, story title, opening credits, yells, sounds, an evil piece of jewelry’s dialogue, a song, Cyborg’s programming, and the tease for next issue all hail from Rob Leigh. Everything is working, with the yells being a particular stand out of this issue, especially those from Superman as he tries to kill Diana. Also extremely enjoyable is the Mother Box PINGs which never fail to alert a reader that something important has occurred. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is what a team book should be. Excellent story and visuals, with plenty of surprises from both. If anything, the cover price is too cheap for a book like this. 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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