In Review: Justice League United #5

An okay transition issue, with the visuals being stronger than the story.

The covers: A trio to chose among this month. The Main cover is by Mike McKone and Gabe Eltaeb with a focus on Equinox. Her hands are up in distress as she’s been attacked by animal-like hands. Nice image and I like that the newest hero on this team is getting some face time on the cover. The drawing is good and the coloring is strong. The Variant cover is by Cameron Stewart and Nathan Fairbairn showing a collage of the characters. Hawkman, Equinox, the Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Adam Strange, Animal Man, Supergirl, and Stargirl are all in bust or full body shots. A fine job, but could go on any book featuring this team. Nothing in this image is unique to this issue’s story. There is also a Monsters of the Month Variant cover done for Halloween. This illustration is by Kelley Jones and features the Manhunter as Frankenstein’s monster, Stargirl as Medusa, and Adam Strange as the Wolfman. This cover has nothing to do with the story within, but I love monsters and Kelley’s artwork, so I grabbed this cover. Overall grade: Main A-, Variant B-, and Monsters of the Month A 

The story: The first page sums up what’s happened in the previous four issues. The team is trying to figure out what to do with the alien child named Ultra that they rescued from Byth and his hired assassin Lobo. Before they can make a plan, the trouble with the Whitago and how it relates to Equinox comes up. The youngest member of the team and her grandmother sum what what’s happened with them and this monster until Green Arrow’s old JLA transmitter goes off, signaling Hawkman’s location. This is odd, since Hawkman died two issues ago. Adam Strange states that the heroes can get to the signal by using a Zeta Beam. Animal Man, Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Stargirl are transmitted away. Alanna, Adam’s love, goes with Miyhahbin and her grandmother to investigate the Whitago, while the Manhunter will take care of Ultra. “The Midayo and the Whitago” by Jeff Lemire then follows all three stories, with some progressing further than others. Equinox gets a full origin of her powers and how long her abilities have been in her family. It’s okay, but I was more interested with what was going on with the four members who were zapped away. They end up going to an interesting place, but after seeing who and what is at that location, the story goes to Equinox. A bit more is revealed with Ultra, with the final panel of the book being the reason I bought this book: The Legion of Super-Heroes has now entered the New 52. It’s only one member, but it’s enough to get me hyped. Legion cameo aside, this was an okay story, but nothing tremendous. Overall grade: B-

The art: I did like the visuals of this book by penciller Timothy Green II and inker Joe Silver. The opening page summary is really well drawn, showing all the leads and villains clearly, and done in a nice style. The splash on Page 2 should have been tighter on the characters, as too much space is given to the floor. I realize this page is to establish the protagonists and their proximity to one another, but too much floor and ceiling are in the shot. I love their rendition of the Martian Manhunter. I’ve never seem him look like this and he’s fantastic. Alien and familiar to previous renditions, but a nice bit of tweaking has been done with his head to make him look awesomely different. Their Supergirl and Stargirl are also stellar. This pair can draw these characters forever, as far as I’m concerned. The issue’s focus is on Miyhahbin and her granny and the art is fairly striking, especially on Pages 12 and 13, but the Whitago is a poorly designed threat. Green II and Silver did not design this character, but I was hoping they would put their own spin on the character to make it more sinister. As it is, he’s Slenderman with antlers. The magic that comes out of Equinox (Page 17) is very well done, and compels me to see them do more magic in books. The last two pages look good, with the last page looking outstanding. If the Powers That Be at DC would like to bring back this title, I think Green II and Silver would be excellent artists upon it. Overall grade: B+ 

The colors: Excellent color work on this book from Jeromy Cox. The colors are bright and the characters stand out strongly in every panel. The opening summary is a great example of this, as the characters look great, and the narration by J’onn perfect in green. The rust-brown interior colors of the opening setting are another super way to get the super heroes to stand out in the scene. Page 8 is beautiful. There’s a lot for Cox to deal with and he makes this splash page gorgeous. The final two pages are also really well done with the all the smoke and the sound effect on 21. Cox is the top dog on this book this month. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Travis Lanham provides narration, dialogue, opening title and credits, sounds, scene settings, and next issue’s tease. The sounds are very strong, as they should be in a team book, and I’m looking forward to what he does when this issue’s tease fully appears. Overall grade: A 

The final line: An okay transition story, with the visuals being stronger than the story. Equinox’s source of power is revealed and events occur to set up conflicts to come in future issues. Nothing spectacular, but a decent outing. Overall grade: B

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two 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.

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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