Justice League #59 Promising Start to the Bendis Era
It’s in the Infinite Frontier for DC Comics and the Bendis era on Justice League has officially begun! A phrase I never imagined I would ever type. I know he’s been doing work at DC for a few years now, but it is still an adjustment. I am excited though because I do love Bendis’s Avengers works. In addition to Bendis, Ram V’s Justice League Dark story continues in the back-up of Justice League as a part of DC’s added emphasis on back-up stories.
How well do the new era of Justice League kick-off? Let’s find out!
Roll the Credits!
Justice League #59
Justice League: Prism
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by David Marquez
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by Josh Reed
Synopsis- Justice League Meets Black Adam
Green Arrow is reflecting on the Justice League and how well it actually meets the team’s stated mission of “Justice for All”. The need to add new voices to break up the stagnation is a concern of Arrow and sets the direction for the first arc. Meanwhile, in Kahndaq (Home of Black Adam) we meet Black Adam visiting the grave of his wife Isis (see: the wonderful series 52) when he is ambushed by an alien beast calling themselves Brutus. The Justice League intervenes, and a large brawl breaks out between the team and Brutus.
The Bendis era of Justice League is off to an interesting start. I think Bendis has a surprising grasp on the voices of each member of the League. I say surprising as I mainly see him as a Marvel writer, but with that being said he has a great handle on group dynamics. I know the common knock on Bendis is the “Bendis Speak” tick that many claims fill his runs, but that is not truly present here and even if it was in high volume, that has never bothered me.
Instead, I think the dialog here in the book is carried by Bendis ability to capture the characters’ voices. This is notably found in Black Adam and Green Arrow (with a dash of Superman) moments throughout the book.
With 52 being a foundational piece of my introduction to DC Comics, I have a fondness for the more heroic and sympathetic Black Adam character. I haven’t followed the character around too much since New 52, but I find Bendis taps into that version of the character in this issue. A powerful and remorseful king that defends his land and people from an invader. There are callbacks to the events of 52 here and it resonated with me.
As for Green Arrow, we get the angle of Bendis comic work with a greater emphasis in ensuring the Justice League delivers “Justice for all”. Bendis really gels with Ollie here and makes me wish we had a solo Green Arrow book by him. The dialog beats fit within Bendis’s style and within the character. I’ve heard the upcoming Checkmate series by Bendis features a Checkmate whose purpose is to serve as a check on the League and it will be financed by Ollie. That is an angle that I think will be interesting to see develop and gives me hope for Bendis’s Justice League Run and eventual Checkmate series.
Marquez’s art is pleasant in this issue. The character designs are sleek and dynamic throughout. I appreciate how he illustrates Superman with a leaner frame. I have spoke on my love of more cartoony Superman designs, often which are bulky, but I do appreciate the lean look as his power doesn’t actually require muscle mass. He has strength inherent regardless of physique. It gives a more approachable Superman and one that fits in with how Bendis is portraying him here. Superman is much more compassionate and caring here than in other stories. He supports Green Arrow’s view and appears to care for Black Adam’s concerns. This is all done through Marquez body expression and his rendering of Superman.
Tamra Bonvillain’s colors are my favorite part of the art. It has a painted look about it with how well she blends the various hues together and creates an especially warm comic. This is evident by the red tint to many of the character’s faces and overall highlights to everything. It is a pleasant book to look at and overall is a pretty one.
Conclusion- Justice League starts slow, but enjoyable.
Bendis’s run on Justice League is off to a good start. I am eager to see what the next month holds for the book. Bendis has a great voice for the characters and the direction is a promising one. The art by Marquez and Bonvillain is wonderful and a pure delight to read. Definitely recommend Justice League #59 for Bendis and crew’s portion alone, but that not all!
Justice League Dark: Return to Caledonia
Written by Ram V
Art by Xermanico
Colors by Romulo Fajrdo jr
Letters by Rob Leigh
Synopsis- The Justice League Dark vs Merlin
Merlin has returned to the realm of Mortals and wheels have been set in motion for his grand motive. Meanwhile, Zatanna and Constantine travel to New Mexico to deal with conflicting prophecy only to discover an old acquaintance that has return.
Ram V’s Justice League Dark is my first real reintroduction to the mystical side of DC sense 52. Weird how this always comes back to that series, but either way I was interested by what was presented here. The rich history of mystical prophecies and plot has me intrigued. The dialog between Constantine and Zatanna is enjoyable banter and move the story along nicely.
The art by Xermanico and Romulo Fajrdo jr. is befitting of the story with its detailed work and lighting. It helps sets the tone and the art team employees some unique tricks for brief segments such as using oil painting style composition for a prophetic flashback or using background detail work in the gutters of a page. It is a really exquisite and moody work that makes the story work out.
Conclusion- Justice League Dark: Brief but fun
I am curious about Merlin and the return of a notable DC character. While the mystic side of DC has alluded me for some time, it is an area where I wish to explore more. After reading this I went back and bought the first issue of Ram V’s Swamp Thing mini-series and will look more into their work in the future.
Overall- Justice League #59 is a worth while issue and a great jumping on point for new readers. A lot of promise in the direction of both stories and something I am looking forward to checking out next month.
Final Verdict 8.5/10