Review: Justice League of America #24

by

Or – “Hmmmmmm…”

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I don’t think I’ve been in any way coy about my feelings for this series so far.  There have been some well-done issues of JLA since the relaunch (most of them under Dwayne McDuffie) but overall, I’ve been sorely disappointed in the quality of the book overall.  I’m not a fan of the pencillers they’ve been giving us, and a lot of good plots have really gone nowhere.  One of the longest back-burner arcs to date has been the story of Vixen’s powerset change, but it’s about to come to a rapid boil, and <insert hot joke here!>

JLA1.jpgPreviously on Justice League of America:  I honestly don’t know.  A bunch of things happened in Brad Meltzer’s arc, leaving Red Tornado without a body, Hawkgirl and Red Arrow (ugh) is an on-again off-again tryst of some sort, Vixen’s powers changed from duplicating animals to mimicking other superhumans, The Flash is back on board, Wonder Woman being Wonder Woman, Superman doing likewise, Black Canary being the leader, and (for the umpteenth time) Amazo is back on the attack.  Using a full range of powers (though cut off from the speed force by The Flash) Amazo has cut a swath through the League, including guest star Zatanna using his Grant Morrison style “powers of any JLAer who seems to be on the team” gimmick.  Vixen used her power-duplication to futz up his power-duplication, but the feedback knocked her out, and left Amazo ready to impale her with Red Arrow (ugh)’s red arrows.  Phallic symbols much, there, Roy?

Luckily for Vix, Zatanna isn’t going down that easily, even with her mouth magically removed by Amazo’s powers.  Showing her grit, her moxie, and her adorable little fishnet-covered voiceover boxes, Giovanni Zatara’s favorite daughter manages to save Vixen’s life through physical intercession, a rarity for her.  Of course, she immediately gets a smackinnaface, causing her to get a nosebleed.  Zee’s eyes widen in fear, as she realizes that, with a nose full of blood and no mouth, “I’m going to suffocate.”  Her gambit gives the rest of the tam time to attack, and the fighty-fighty commences with Red Arrow (ugh) and Hawkgirl hacking the heck out of ‘Mazo’s robot body, and Black Canary leaping in.  Grasping the android’s neck, Dinah whispers, “Want to hear a secret?” in his ear before giving him the full-power canary cry…

…AND BLOWING HIS HEAD CLEAN OFF!  Holy.  $#!+.  Of course, he regenerates it quickly, taking out Superman with red sun radiation in his laser vision, dropping Wonder Woman with a Green Lantern power blast, followed by Black Lightning to the temples.  Zatanna manages to writer a backwards spell in her own blood, restoring her mouth and evening the odds, and we continue with the fighty-fighty, the smashy-smashy, and the Batman has a planny-planny.  Bats tries to force Amazo through the teleport bay, but gets pimp-slapped like a Gotham playboy should facingan all-powerful android, as Zatanna brings in their ace in the hole: the disembodied essence of John Smith, aka the Red Tornado!  She blasts Amazo through the teleportal, and muses, “John believes [his] essence to be that of a compute rprogram.  I know better.  I came here to transfer his spirit.  Independent of any “program,” and certainly of any mechanism built to house it…  Something wonderful and utterly unuqie.  A power beyond even Amazo’s to copy.  His SOUL.”  Doesn’t this imply that, since he copied the rest of the League, they’re soulless?  I’m just saying…  Batman reveals that he and Steel teleported Amazo into the orbit of a red sun millions of miles away, and the League puts Red Tornado back in a body, then heads for California to interview Animal Man regarding Vixen’s powerset change.  A-Man reveals that he, too, has lost his powers, and barbeques some food for the League.  Firestorm finally points out the elephant in the room, asking why Animal Man, a giant vegetarian, is chowing down on fried chicken.  “Something’s screwing with more than our powers, Buddy,” notes Vixen ominously…

…to be continued!  This issue packs in a LOT of stuff all at once, but thankfully caps off the Amazo subplot (hopefully for frickin’ ever, since the character is utterly beyond boring.)  The main problems that I have with this issue aren’t with McDuffie’s high-octane high-speed script, but with characterization and art.  Allan Goldman drew this issue with the DNA of Ed Benes stuck to the end of his pencil, apparently, as this issue maintains the majority of Ed’s artistic tics, while downplaying the T&A and adding a very welcome element: backgrounds.  Still, the issue is mostly Zatanna’s show, with the Big Three getting their moments in the sun, Firestorm pointing out the obvious, and Steel getting a good line in near the end.  With a cast this big, though, it’s good to see ANY character development going on, as any LSH fan will tell you.  It’s an okay issue, but is it really necessary to have a 14 member Justice League?  Either way, Justice League of America #24 gets by mostly on charm and character bits, earning a slightly above so-so rating of 3 out of 5 stars.  I’m hoping that we finally get some sort of closure on Vixen’s powers soon, either accepting her new Super-Adaptoid powers or returning to the animal mimicry that brung her to the dance, but at least we’re past the senseless “Salvation Run” crossovers…

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