Justice League #40 Review: Not the JL vs. JLA Fight That We Expected

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Tension mounts in Estes Park West, as the residents feel that the Justice League teams have overlooked the impoverished neighborhoods with predominately POC inhabitants. The riot police have come out to quash the protestors, and the Justice League teams do their best to calm the situation but are extracted by another Fan.

Justice League #40 cover by David Yardin
Justice League #40 cover by David Yardin

Back on the Watchtower, the two Justice Leagues find that it's falling out of orbit and has fallen too far and too fast to simply hold back. The transporter has been shut down too. This leads to some uncomfortable discussions about how to resolve the crisis.

As you can see, this is a plot-dense issue, and it gives you a lot to think about regarding its implications. It's a fairly dense issue in terms of dialogue too, and that does give it a slow pacing. However, I'd struggle to say it's unwarranted considering the ideas with which this comic is playing.

Hell, the section in Estes Park could have had another issue to unpack everything Christopher Priest lays on the table, especially after the protestors start chanting, "Ferguson."

The fact that the Fans (which is apparently a group instead of a single person) are continuing to try to exert their will on the Justice League, from changing Cyborg's appearance to trying to off the JLA, warrants a lot of thought as well. That's before we even get to the moral math that both JL's start performing once it starts looking like not everyone is going to make it off the Watchtower.

Needless to say, this is a complex issue with a lot of deliberation put into it. I'm not sure that I'm entirely comfortable with some what some of the decisions say about our heroes. The fact that the comic presents a lot of this very plainly and without implicitly taking a side is interesting unto itself, though I wish it were a little more unambiguous in the Estes Park West sequences.

Justice League #40 art by Pete Woods and Chris Sotomayor
Justice League #40 art by Pete Woods and Chris Sotomayor

Pete Woods' art is a little spottier in this issue. It wavers between realism and cartoonish a lot, and it doesn't always accomplish either. I'm not particularly grabbed by the new Cyborg design either—though the comic makes me feel like part of the problem with that opinion. Woods' art isn't bad throughout though, and there is something to say about a fluid art aesthetic. Chris Sotomayor's color art is consistently solid too, striking a good balance throughout.

Justice League #40 is a slow-burning and thoughtful continued deconstruction of superheroics and the team itself. Not everyone will like what all it has to say, but there is undoubtedly a respectable amount of audacity in saying it. The art is shaky but not outright bad. This one is definitely recommended. Check it out and see what you think.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.