Justice League #42 Review: Christopher Priest Continues to Shock and Amaze

[rwp-review-recap id="0"]

Wonder Woman has been shot, and she's bleeding out. Superman rushes to get her to safety, but the Flash convinces Clark to leave Diana to him so that he can protect the refugees. Cyborg is dying from wounds inflicted by the Red Lion, and Vic's self-repair system was shut down by the Fan. Cyborg was also left with none other than Deathstroke.

Thankfully, the Green Lanterns are finally back on Earth, but will it be too late?

Justice League #42 cover by David Yardin
Justice League #42 cover by David Yardin

"Justice Lost" continues to be among the bleakest yet most compelling Justice League stories I've ever read. With a focus on the brutality the League is witnessing and their inability to effect lasting change in the area, Christopher Priest has crafted a story I can scarcely believe I'm reading at times.

The body count is unnervingly high in this issue, with each little mistake made by the Justice League being punctuated with another dozen refugees gunned down. The comic doesn't let you know which side is which; it doesn't matter. People are dying all around the world's most powerful heroes, and there's not a thing they can do about it.

Deathstroke is posed as something of a level head in this issue, which is all the more disturbing. The cliffhanger centers on Slade Wilson; it seems that Priest has fallen in love with this character in his time writing Deathstroke.

And just for a kicker, the comic also ends with the Justice League having the refugee debate that has been kicking up storms in European and American politics for the past few years.

Justice League #42 art by Pete Woods
Justice League #42 art by Pete Woods

Pete Woods does an admirable job of depicting the brutality without ever making it feel too exploitative. Arguably the most disturbing scene are the panels of Wonder Woman bleeding out. His work tends towards cartoonish, which does raise the question as to whether or not he was the right choice for a comic like this. That said, it still works, and there's weight in the panels when needed. His color work is bright, which actually adds an ominous glow to scenes those horrific scenes. It works quite well.

Justice League #42 is not a feel-good or high adventure tale for DC's seminal team. It's rough, loaded with social commentary, and wavers into Watchmen-level nihilism. However, it's still absolutely enthralling, and I can't recommend it enough. Give it a read.

[rwp-review-ratings id="0"]
[rwp-review-form id="0"]

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.