The Man From Monster Valley makes his move, and it’s up to the Justice League to stop a bloodbath…  Your Major Spoilers review of Justice League Of America #9 awaits!

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #9

Writer: Steve Orlando
Penciler: Felipe Watanabe
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Justice League Of America: “The hidden truth of Makson and his family is brought to the surface — as are his superhuman powers, which the Man from Monster Valley turns on the Justice League in this tale of treachery and revenge!”

THE MAN FROM MONSTER VALLEY

As our story opens, we find the man called Makson (a man seemingly raised by dinosaurs in a hidden part of the world, very Tarzan) confronting his family members, whose machinations led to his exile and the death of his mother.  The family has plans to double-cross him and use their sociopolitical power to drive him away and/or kill him, but Makson has a much more visceral revenge in mind.  Fortunately, the Justice League has assembled the necessary clues to know the truth, arriving just in time to keep him from committing multiple murders.  There’s a very dynamic, albeit quick, action sequence with the League in play (Makson’s attack on Lobo is quite amusing, though, with a sneering Main Man asking if he’s “sure he can cash that check”, after a punch on the Superman-level Czarnian fails to do much) followed by a lovely Batman gambit that prevents more murder, but also punished the guilty members of Makson’s family…

AN INTERESTING USE OF THE CAST, ESPECIALLY LOBO

As a fan of this book (and especially this writer) since the beginning, I was a bit disappointed in the amount of detail involved in Makson’s dilemma and the plots around it.  That part of the issue felt a bit hazy, and while Makson himself seems like he might be fun (a miniseries about his dinosaur-Tarzan adventures wouldn’t be unwelcome), this issue sets up a difficult problem: The Justice League is determined to stop a man bent on vengeance, with a team consisting of a man bent on vengeance, a woman who is trying to recover from being an icy mass-murderer and the Last Czarnian, who earned that title by killing all the others.  It’s a difficult balance that doesn’t always work, but the character interactions are always strong.  The Ray gets in a really impressive speech on Batman about hope and dealing with the sort of loss that Batman is actually is business because of (but won’t share with his teammates because he’s being standoffish Batman.)  I’m perfectly fine with the artwork this time around, even though we’ve seen several pencilers cycle through the book already: Watanabe delivers subtle linework and facial expressions, and shine during a heart-to-heartless talk between Ryan Choi and Lobo…

THE BOTTOM LINE: STRONG CHARACTER WORK

There are three shining Lobo moments in this issue, some nice investigative things for The Atom to do, a little bit of Ray and Batman and a lot of Vixen, but all in all, it feels imbalanced and a little bit distant.  Justice League Of America #9 is a solid visual book with a lot of individually successful moving parts, some of which don’t quite mesh, earning a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall.  With a the hook for next issue promising to delve into the back story of Ray Terrill, I’m hoping that we can get back to the strong plotting that brought Steve Orlando to my notice in the first place…

[taq_review]

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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