With a conscious attempt at bringing the self-admittedly iconic heroes of the League down to earth, this issue takes a lot of cues from the CW "Arrow-verse" in both its thematic approach and its singular moments. However, in doing such a great job creating strong, indelible images, Justice League #59 failed to connect in a plot that was accomplished.
Let's cover the good first. This book is beautiful. From the logo lock up at the start to gorgeous depictions of Black Adam in the skies, the artwork from David Marquez, Tamra Bonvillain, and Josh Reed presents visuals that pop. Likewise, with some very clever framing devices (ocean waves) and ripping visuals (the Batplane following Clark and Adam), this book looks like freaking money. That's first and foremost.
Also, there are some cute characterization moments. Apparently, Black Adam dislikes hard candy. Naomi McDuffie is still in the first few days of her superhero-ing career, and — as always — Oliver Queen is stirring the pot (much more comics-like than his grim televised version). That stuff is all very agreeable.
However, with four two-page spreads and a text-based single-page splash, the storytelling here was pretty thin in twenty pages. The plot was enormously simple, had no true sense of conclusion, and no real establishment of what exactly happened as a wholly generic "bad guy" pops up out of literally nowhere. The backup Justice League Dark story at least had a beginning, middle, and end as it introduced a new (or old, depending on your point of view) magical threat.
Sturm und drang with not much to show for it at the end, but this doesn't put much meat on the story's bones. RATING: MEH.
Justice League #59
By Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez
Writer Brian Michael Bendis reunites with artist David Marquez (Miles Morales, Iron Man, Batman/Superman) for a new, star-studded Justice League featuring Superman, Batman, the Flash, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Hippolyta, new DC powerhouse Naomi, and … is that Black Adam?! Superman is leading the charge to reinvent the Justice League — and at the same time, a new, cosmic-powered threat arrives from Naomi's homeworld to rule the Earth! And in the backup story, dark days lie ahead for the new Justice League Dark. Zatanna and John Constantine take a road trip, only to discover horror around the bend as a friend — and sometime foe — is reborn in fire! A legend is destroyed, and another takes a terrible turn, as Merlin reveals the beginning of a new, blood-drenched plot for all humankind. So begins writer Ram V's new journey into the abyss with the Justice League Dark and artist Xermanico!