Justice League #44 Review: This Doesn't Check Out

Justice League #44
6/10

This issue is a conundrum in that it shows the Justice League execute a display of power and teamwork that is presented very gorgeously. With sumptuous visuals presented by Xermanico, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Tom Napolitano, the Javelin is a triumph of lines and sleekness while the dynamic action scenes are worth seeing.

 

Justice League #44 cover published by DC Comics with a creative team of Robert Venditti, Xermanico, Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Tom Napolitano.
Justice League #44 cover published by DC Comics with a creative team of Robert Venditti, Xermanico, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Tom Napolitano.

 

Unfortunately, despite some remarkably effective moments (where Flash can stop bracing, Aquaman being on another call), the character elements of this story are razor-thin. There is a mystical element that tries to bring resentment between characters to the fore, but its use in the story shows a facile understanding of who is on the field and what they have done together. If this was a "year one" story, that might be a little more believable, but with an Aquaman who has lost the throne and gained a baby, or a Wonder Woman who lost her home and gained a deadbeat dad, this doesn't check out.

The threat, showing a culturally imperialistic look at how maps work, appears to come from a land of myth familiar to Diana's background. They are all well rendered, representing a credible threat that the visual team presents as a spectacle worthy of the team's capabilities. Likewise, the sparseness of the Antarctic locale is an excellent place for such a colorful conflict, with every combatant a striking contrast to the environment around them.

Unfortunately, the same sparseness makes the stakes of the supposed "true" conflict (wrought by magic or some such) seem like shouting into a void. A shiny, candy-like coating with empty calories underneath, this issue may be starting something, but it's not anything remarkable just yet. RATING: MEH.

Justice League #44
Cold War kickoff! After 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?

About Hannibal Tabu

Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at http://bit.ly/combatshaman.

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