Known As The Justice League #6
writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
artists: Kevin Maguire and Joe Rubinstein
another '80's revival draws to a close, before it can overstay
its welcome. Granted, a sequel miniseries has already been
announced, I Can't Believe It's Not Justice League,
but it's heartening that the creators are giving themselves
a little bit of a breather before rolling right into it.
deserve a break, because with this first dip back into their
glory days, they managed to recapture the magic while dealing
with modern spins on continuity. Half of their team of idiots,
Blue Beetle, now has a heart problem, and Giffen and DeMatteis
addressed it full on without making it melodramatic. Sure,
Ted Kord pranced around this story in his odd blue garb, but
if you'll notice, he never actually did anything physical.
Rather, he dodged every effort on Booster Gold's part to draw
for a good twist in their relationship, and this issue's confrontation
over Booster's new "lifestyle" actually brought back an ignored
part of his backstory: he may be from the future, but he's
still really just a dumb jock. Tomorrow will still have its
this league, henceforth to be known as the Super Buddies,
is actually dumb. Maxwell Lord's solution to dispose of G'Nort
isn't just clever; it rewards continuity-geeks everywhere.
And certainly, the writers have made Sue Dibney into a much
fuller character, and done a better job of explaining her
attraction to Ralph Dibney, than years of back-up stories
and even a mini-series of their own had done. Actually, Sue
seems to be a much more vibrant character than her husband;
when Plastic Man mocks you, you're pretty bottom of the barrel.
the modern Justice League makes an appearance, for the most
part just observing. Younger members marvel that both J'onn
J'onnz and Batman actually spent time as members of the goofier
incarnation (heck, J'onn was even in Justice League Detroit
- far more embarrassing). For whatever reason, proximity to
the old crew actually causes Batman to display a sense of
humor. Some fans may find this reason enough to buy the book.
not without its serious side, either. Though this issue wraps
up a confrontation with the loquacious and self-absorbed Manga
Khan, played largely for laughs, Giffen and DeMatteis have
slipped some higher stakes into the overall mini-series. Though
with some comic relief, the Super Buddies' kidnapping by Roulette
has led to consequences for Captain Atom.
glaring weak spot is, as it was previously, in their treatment
of the Marvel Family. I've lost track of how old the Batson
kids are supposed to be these days, but Mary is way too innocent
in her attitudes. She can be moral and upright, but they play
her as strangely naļve. Unless the Batsons are Mormon (and
is that likely given their connection to Egyptian and Greek
pantheons?), the jokes at Mary Marvel's expense are just that
- jokes, and not humor that arises out of a real character.
But that's a carry over from the original run - Captain Marvel
was an impossible to be true boy scout then, too. At least
when Guy Gardner acted that way, he could claim head injury.
the trip down memory lane. Or wait for the trade paperback
if you haven't already bought into this series. It will definitely
be worth the expense.
writer: Geoff Johns
artists: Rags Morales and Michael Bair
think this issue is particularly intense and hardcore, it
looks to only be the beginning of the current creative team
attempting to go out with the largest bang they can. What
they will leave, besides a job well done, may be the first
Hawkman villain to really stick in the minds of fans: The
from urban myths and horror film franchises, it turns out
that The Headhunter has plagued St. Roch for decades, resurfacing
as a boogey man every few years. Citizens just accept, I guess,
that his presence is just a tiny drawback to the otherwise
lively city. Since St. Roch seems an awful lot like New Orleans,
maybe unexplained decapitations are easy to take in stride.
just a strange and colorful piece of the city's background.
What really matters is the impact The Headhunter has on the
Hawks. Call him more the straw that breaks the camel's back,
as Johns' final character arc has been building for some time,
both here and in JSA. (And indeed, next issue's story
will actually begin in that comic, not the pages of Hawkman)
by undead and thankfully empty shells of his former lives,
the Winged Warrior stands beaten, bloodied, but not bowed.
Things only get worse from there. Over the course of this
series, we've seen a deeper exploration into Carter Hall's
past lives than ever before, an element always lurking but
rarely brought to the fore. In the Golden Age of comics, his
Egyptian origins no doubt seemed somewhat elegant, with a
rather restrained acknowledgment of the violence of his first
however, has never shied away from the savagery that should
have plagued every incarnation. Due to The Headhunter's tauntings
(and desire to absorb Hawkman's knowledge), Carter sheds the
veneer of civilization he believes himself to have carefully
crafted. The result is a Hawkman that seems almost like The
Punisher, but with a more hands-on approach.
looks based on a false premise, perhaps, but one that makes
sense for Hawkman to embrace. One of the ideas running through
this series has been his addictive behavior. Once he seizes
upon a thought, he pursues it doggedly, usually with painful
results. The most obvious case had been Kendra, though the
two have managed to start building a believable friendship.
Hawkman believes he is nothing but a savage killer, answerable
to a rougher justice than modern day allows. And cripes, do
Morales and Bair make that transition a terribly beautiful
may not be the truth about his past, but all that matters
is that he believes it. And though he may have all
his memories, something he did not have in any previous lives,
this Hawkman has demonstrated time and time again that remembering
what has gone before has nothing to do with actually understanding
Black Adam forming a brutal strikeforce meting out Old World
Justice, it's not hard to see where the story is headed next.
But Johns has always been good at still twisting the most
obvious directions around, so look for a surprise or two.