An Atlantean outpost has called for aid…  but will they survive til the League arrives?  Your Major Spoilers review of Justice League #44 from DC Comics awaits!


Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Xermanico
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Editor: Alex R. Carr
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 12, 2020

Previously in Justice LeagueAfter receiving a distress signal from Aquaman, the Justice League travels to Antarctica, where they discover an ancient prison at the bottom of the legendary pit of Tartarus.  But who picked the locks within?  Freed from their shackles, creatures of myth and horror emerge to battle the team, while the League must confront their own personal demons.  What exactly lies at the base of this well, and what will be left of the Justice League when they discover its secret?


We begin with a distress call. A remote Atlantean outpost somewhere in the Antarctic Ocean is on high alert after a series of strange earth tremors, but when they discover what is causing them, it’s too late. The entire place is devastated. Cut to the Justice League en route to the same area, responding to a call from Aquaman, only to be downed by attacks from mystical creatures. The team leaps into battle, with Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman going on the attack, while Flash and Batman try to land the heavily-damaged Javelin. Once they’re all on the ground, they are able to identify each of the mythical creatures, with Wonder Woman confirming that all of them imprisoned in Tartarus by her Amazon forebears. A little teamwork puts the monsters back in the bottle, but Batman points out that they all had glowing green eyes… just as his own start to glow as well!


This book is remarkable in its characterization and how subtly it puts them together. The League effortlessly shifts command back and forth, each giving or taking orders as necessary, instinctively joining Aquaman and working together like a seasoned group of professionals. That becomes important when the mystically-powered resentments start bubbling up, making the speed at which they go for each other’s metaphorical throats stunning. The appearance of The Spectre is even more ominous, as it’s unclear whether he’s behind the literal green-eyed monsters or also under the effects of whatever spell entrances them. Neither option bodes well for the League. I’m okay with the art in this issue, as Xermanico embraces multiple influences and ends up somewhere between Adam Kubert and David Finch. The monsters all look really good, as do the shots of the flying javelin, but things are less successful when it comes to the characters. All the anatomy is very angular and blocky (which is a perfectly valid aesthetic decision), but combined with sketchy facial expressions, it distances the readers from the characters and their emotions.


Even with those questions, Justice League #44 is a solid first chapter of story, using the six Leaguers’ (the base cartoon team minus Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl and adding in the King of the Seas) well, with a very successful shocking moment from Batman making it clear that things are gonna get weird, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’ll be interested in seeing where this is going and if The Spectre means we’re going to see more of the Justice Society in these pages.

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A Pretty Good

First Chapter

I like how much this feels like a lost episode of Justice League Unlimited, and the return of The Spectre is a great cliffhanger moment.

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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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