So, Catwoman has been caught by the Secret Society, robotic versions of the Justice League have run rampant, and it’s a good bet that Dr. Ivo is behind it all. What does the JLA do? Fly around in the invisible jet of course! Also, a surprise death! More after the jump!
Martian Manhunter + Survivor’s Guilt = Wonderful Story
Interesting implications for future development
The reveal doesn’t have the impact it should
The JLA and Amanda Waller need a divorce
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4
Writer: Geoff Johns / Matt Kindt
Artist: Brett Booth & Norm Rapmund / Andres Guinaldo, Raul Fernandez, and Walden Wong
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse / Wil Quintana
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics, Inc.
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Justice League of America: The JLA was attacked by robotic replicas of the Justice League, potentially the work of Dr. Ivo and a group called the Secret Society. Since Catwoman is still seen as a criminal in the public eye, the JLA laid a trap with Catwoman as bait, in hopes that the Secret Society would welcome her in as one of their own. It worked in the sense that she managed to get on the Secret Society’s radar…
DEATH RARELY PHASES ME ANYMORE
Of course, with Catwoman now captured the Justice League of America springs into action… by first analyzing a coin and then exploring the invisible jet. And then they spring into action to save Catwoman. Of course, they may be a hair too late on that front as she’s seemingly offed execution style—tantalizingly because it’ll lure Batman out of the woodwork.
It’s really hard to be phased by death these days and this is one of those cases. Since they dedicated at least two pages to displaying it, it’s kind of hard to deny that Catwoman appears to be dead or at least dead-ish. What will this mean for the JLA and the world at large? Well, for one, it’s really going to irk an already grieving Batman. After just loosing his son, losing his sorta girlfriend just might send him further down a depressive spiral. Then, again, it’s really hard to believe anyone is truly deceased in a world that’s notorious for bringing back dead people with surprise twists as to why they weren’t dead in the first place (though Marvel may have DC beat in that department).
What’s a little alarming about this series overall is that it’s becoming yet another Amanda Waller-Centric series. It’s understood that her character is behind just about everything that goes on. That doesn’t mean we need to see her on a regular basis and get a play-by-play synopsis of what she’s currently doing. It’s fine for Suicide Squad and Team 7, but it’s disappointing to see her so involved here.
Despite all this, Martian Manhunter managed to outshine it all in a short by Matt Kindt. The reader is treated to the nature of Martian society, a utopia that was all-inclusive, intellectually advanced, and eco-friendly. It’s a society that has no words for “alone” or “abandonment” but countless words for “share.” The only reason MM was gone in the first place was for training to become his people’s new leader. The reason being that in experiencing what true isolation was, he’d be able to better lead his people. Of course, the planet dies by fire, with Martian Manhunter being ultimately stuck in this permanent state of isolation after knowing a life where there was no true concept of it.
This story on it’s own is a beautiful rendition of survivor’s guilt. Kindt has really tapped into something with MM’s history here, showing just how truly alone he is. Unlike Superman who at least has his cousin and has never actually experienced Krypton, MM knew a life before his time on earth, where he had a family in the fullest sense of the word. Now, he has nothing but his guilt and his feelings that he should have been there with them, to die among them. Kindt has touched on an aspect of the Martian Manhunter that I’d personally like to see more of.
ROUND HEADS AND GRITTED TEETH
Brett Booth is a very accomplished artist and he’s very good at drawing circular heads, of which Amanda Waller and Dr. Light sport quite a lot. Booth tends to like to play with motion and fight/stealth scenes—such as Catwoman’s acrobatics or the JLA’s throw-down with the Shaggy Man—really do flow quite nicely. Still, moments of stillness feel too still and stagnant. Since this book is relatively action packed, there isn’t a lot of stagnancy, but it’s still a bit apparent. Also, everyone seems to grit their teeth a lot even when the moment doesn’t call for any teeth-gritting.
One thing that’s fairly noticeable in this book is how visually dark it is. Since they’re sneaking through the headquarters of the Secret Society of Super Villains, it’s kind of a given that the book is going to be a bit on the dark side, but even moments when it shouldn’t be, such as a heavily lit airplane hangar, it’s still really shadowy.
BOTTOM LINE: SO… DOES THIS MEAN ANN NOCENTI IS FIRED?
Despite the “reveal” that’s supposed to rock the DC world, all I can think about is how I hope this will, in some way, bump off Ann Nocenti from anything pertaining to Catwoman. I’m not sure what that says about the book that I’m more interested in whether this will have reverberations for the logistics of the Catwoman series than the fact that Catwoman is potentially dead, but it should say something. Although, I can’t say it enough that Kindt’s story about Martian Manhunter is well worth giving this book a quick look if not just for that purpose alone. Overall, Justice League of America #4 earns three and a half stars out of five.