A documentarian has entered the Sanctuary with the intent of filming the Justice League of America. Batman recently left without leaving the team a notice of any kind, and this is the focus of the director. He pushes on the soft spots of each member, ending with the Ray leaving Happy Harbor in a rage.
There is something else going on with this director, and things start going wrong about the Sanctuary — with a number of civilians still inside.
The promise of Prometheus is what drew me to this issue of Justice League of America. He's always been one of the more intriguing DC villains to me, and I actually dug the hell out of Justice League: Cry for Justice even if it's one of the most reviled Justice League stories to come out of recent years. Yeah, the Arsenal follow-up story was a hateful disaster of a comic, but Cry for Justice itself holds up for me. Prometheus is a big reason for that.
The lead-in with the documentary interviews is a bit trying. The passive-aggressiveness of the "documentarian" is fairly standard "are you as good as you think you are?" leading questions followed up by many of the heroes taking the bait, especially the Ray, as you could guess. Frost and Atom fall for it pretty hard, too. Funnily enough, Lobo is the one who brushes the director off the quickest.
It's not appealing to watch an obviously malicious director make easy fools of your heroes and have your heroes show a self-consciousness that most people grow out of by the time they leave high school. Plus, the budding romance subplot between Frost and Atom, while not a bad match, is bent to serve the "documentarian" in a frustrating fashion.
However, if you can push past the first portion of the comic, things get pretty exciting from there. The execution of the villainous plans take place hard and fast. Black Canary and Vixen come out looking like the badasses they are, and Prometheus strikes with a cruelty fitting of his reputation.
As such, Justice League #18 has a compelling plot once you can push through the fairly perfunctory prologue.
Hugo Petrus puts some great art to the page with a striking and detailed style fitting of the Justice League. The figures look great, and Prometheus looks appropriately imposing with his delightfully bizarre purple knight armor.
Some of the layouts are too busy and overwhelming, though, and I know that's not always the artist's decision. There are some pages that are bit intimidating in how much is going on and how much dialogue is splashed across the panels. This is a bit perplexing considering how little actually happens in this issue and how slow much of the pacing is. That aside, Petrus and Hi-Fi do a lot to make this comic look appealing. Hi-Fi is a master colorist by this point.
Justice League of America #18 is a solid if burdened read. The last two-thirds of the comic are engaging, even if the pages bear far too much detail. The first third with the aforementioned documentary filmmaker is a trite and tiresome, though, and it hurts the comic a fair bit. However, I can recommend it, as the comic is an exciting read in spite of its flaws. Do give this one a read if you're a fan of this team or the villainous Prometheus.