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Justice League of America #19

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Alan Burnett
Ed Benes, various (i)
DC Comics
“Sanctuary” (part 3)

Plot: The League is on to Amanda Waller and Commander Flag’s plan to maroon all super-villains on a foreign world. The Manhunter is trapped there, and needs their aid. So, with Flag as pilot, they launch a rescue mission. To the wrong planet.

Comment: Is McDuffie ever coming back to this title? After some strong work at Marvel, including a decent FF run in the wake of Civil War, he seemed poised to take the League full-on into the fun high stakes drama of the cartoons. Instead, after capitalizing on the Black Canary / Green Arrow wedding shenanigans, he’s been relegated to back-up stories trying to salvage Vixen from the wreck of Meltzer’s confused run, and letting various other irrelevant crossovers and mini-series hog the spotlight under other writers in the main story.

Tangent is something I’m buying out of affection for the concept (much like I’d give "Age of Apocalypse" another chance), but it had nothing to do with Justice League. And Salvation Run has even less, because it’s such a muddled mess of a story it’s better to just avoid, like any title with sense did to Amazons Attack. DC has been sending Willingham all over creation and then not letting him do what he does best (thank god for Vertigo and Fables, too bad for you Shadowpact), when they should just give him a big book and let him have his Matt Wagner-level wicked fun with it.

It’d have to be better than the moribund mess this title has become, which is trotting out old standard JLA foes to little effect. Kanjar Ro looks great under Benes’ pencils, and I’m sure the Queen Bee will next issue, too, but c’mon…are we going to one-off Faust, the Crime Syndicate, Despero and the Manhunters too? Is it already time again for Starro? Can we at least think of something new to do with them?

This issue, with no backup feature, sends Batman and crew on a wild goose chase, where they are effortlessly captured and only freed because Ro’s power source happens not to like Nth metallics. Lame. No amount of pretty covers is going to make up for a complete lack of story. Meltzer’s run wasn’t much, but at least he made you care about the Tornado’s feelings, and he had a pretty fresh take on Grundy. Since then? Nothing memorable at all.

How can we already be at the Detroit League and we’re only at issue #19? Hello? Anyone minding the store at all?



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