Comic Book Review: Justice League #21
After Timeless, I was really hoping for something that would reignite my anticipation for Justice League again. Unfortunately this seems to be a pattern with team books like this where everything con go so right, and all it takes it one story decision, or a series of them to derail from what was captivating. I felt something uplifting about this team once, something genuine, but as of late this has been lost to plots that are too ambitious for their own good.
The last issue of Justice League was the start of ‘Endless’ and I have to say I found myself struggling to make it to the end of the issue. We just came out of a story dealing what was somewhat of a mess of a plot dealing with a fight for space/time/history. To do that again for ‘Endless’ was not a risk worth taking. From the start of this short arc, things were just all over the place. We were just thrown into this craziness and there was no true pull for this aside from another villain who lost enough to try to destroy the world. With Justice League #21, we still find ourselves tossed around through time disappointingly while looking for more conclusiveness. Normally I wouldn’t even say that an issue too wordy is bad, but the fact that there even needed that much explanation of what’s going on felt like a problem. They had this idea that seemed crazy enough in the planning stage, but when put to paper it was reaching more than it should have.
It wasn’t until close to the end that things started to come together, and I think the way this wrapped up it could have been done overall in one issue. All the run around through time complicated things more than it should have when it shouldn’t have taken that much effort to figure out what triggers this guy losing his family.
If there was something redeemable about this story arc, it was probably that they are pushing further with this possible relationship between Barry and Jessica. In my opinion it is nice when writers try to push for something that wasn’t done to death. Jessica is still a new character to some extent, and has a lot of reason to connect with someone like Barry who went above and beyond to keep her on a steady path beyond fear. This isn’t to say that the fear of losing Jessica like this was necessary, because again this could have been a one and done issue just focusing on preventing this disaster from happening in the first place.
Story aside, the artwork doesn’t disappoint. I would say the quality of work is solid, especially considering that Bryan Hitch handles both story and pencils. It is easy to forget when someone can do both when they make that switch for a certain period of time. Overall between the pencils and inks, this was a lot cleaner than I initially thought it might be. This was a step up from the issue before having less chaos taking up the pages. We were dragged in one too many directions dealing with all this hopping through time The Flash was doing every time he came in contact with that hammer. Just focusing on the characters more was a plus when this was the time to let the fear of loss sink in enough for these heroes to rise to the occasion. As for the colors, I expected no less from Alex Sinclair being able to bring energy to this climax of the plot. Great sense of lighting, application of effects in action sequences, and an overall distinctive selection of colors that makes it easy to read what’s going on in each scene.
Clearly there is a message to send through these past two story arcs, but there could have been better ways to go about this. Justice League #21 did enough at the end to salvage this, but you can’t overlook that a lot of quality has been sacrificed for this enemy approaching that we knew as little about as we did when ‘Timeless’ began.