“Welcome to Sundown Town” (part 2)
Plot: The Justice League vs. the Shadow Cabinet and Icon, over the magical remains of what the Spectre's vengeance did to Dr. Light. Who's over-confident? Who's unknown? Who needs to read the scorecard provided as the issue starts?
Comments: Picking up where last issue left off, the heroes of a parallel world must face the heroes of ours, and they hold up surprisingly well after a cursory attempt at diplomacy. It's clear that Shadow Cabinet want to test themselves against the JLA they've heard so much of and, befitting their name, they aren't above being sneaky to do it.
Icon, however, is in a different class, so he knocks Superman into space to take their part of the fight outside the satellite. Mari's powers are back in place (as we learned last issue), and Flash is faster than their speedster (she's from another world without the Speed Force, I'm guessing?). They also have dimensional transporters and ferrokinetics (who've never dealt with Nth metal before, however), and energy manipulators, and techno-enhanced warriors. All interesting enough, but nothing this JLA haven't seen before.
It turns out that Superman and Icon have a different take on the battle, one that admits that all Shadow Cabinet is really hoping for is to buy the time to escape with the prize. Nobody, it seems, quite understands the stakes of the game, least of all Dr. Light (the good one, despite her personality flaws), whose home they first invaded last issue.
It's not really complicated, and you may rightly ask who cares about this team of forgotten warriors? Well, the answer is that McDuffie does, and he was a part of the original group that spear-headed the Milestone imprint, which was at the time a refreshing alternative to both the excesses of Image and the leaden crossovers of DC and Marvel back in the early 1990s. Writing characters he knows so well allows him to easily play with everyone's power sets (a skill too many superhero writers fudge), and their fight is very well choreographed, as most of his are.
The quips along the way are more mean-spirited than funny, and he overdoes the self-referrential talk about the lesbian marriage of Donner and Blitzen, but, then, some girls are just that way. It's nice to see Shadow Cabinet and Milestone again, as they stand for an impulse towards diversity and inclusion that the comics industry has often lacked. They're as good candidates as any for what amounts to this year's JLA/JSA crossover, and the story shows this book back on track after having gotten lost in the shuffle of recent crossovers and grander plans than these. Luis even does a passable (but more importantly consistent) riff on the style established for this title by Benes. If the story seems to have nothing to do with current events in Final Crisis, well, that's another plus in some ways.
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