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Justice League of America #30

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Dwayne McDuffie
Jose Luis, JP Mayer (i)
DC Comics
"Welcome to Sundown Town" (part 3)

Plot: The Shadow Cabinet are still hanging around the satellite, as a familiar foe with ties to both teams interrupts their already hostile negotiation. Meanwhile, on earth in her apartment, Dr. Light is glowing.

Comments: Though glad to be back after last issue’s Faces of Evil intrusion, McDuffie doesn’t exactly return us to a rollicking world of adventure. Even given the large plethora of characters involved. The Shadow Cabinet come off as rude upstarts, unaware of who they’re dealing with in the JLA. Superman and Icon sit out the fight, aware that events are transpiring on a level beyond the issues of inter-team rivalry, or even of territorialism. This all started out being about Dr. Light’s remains, remember?

You’d be forgiven for forgetting, as it seems this title has been as spotty in 2008 as it was in 2007. McDuffie has squandered the potential in place when he took over the title from Meltzer. The most he has achieved has been to restore Mari’s powers, in a story that substituted Elseworlds versions of the cast to fight Amazo (her personal nemesis at this point?).

While seeing the Shadow Cabinet has been good for nostalgia, they don’t come off very well, especially as they spend a lot of time in talking heads mode, and what they say is rude and cryptic. Even a cameo by Rocket doesn’t pep things up enough, and the planet-sized menace generated by the villain in order to unite both teams at last is a formulaic afterthought.

Jose Luis does a good Benes facsimile. He keeps everyone clear and curvy and muscled. And the cover by Shane Davis reflects story events, with evil shadow doppelgangers of our heroes leering at their feet. But what’s older than an evil double attack? All the rumblings about greater threats coming don’t substitute for some surprises and intensity right here.

The backup story from Len Wein (another of the Origin & Omens featurettes) finds Kendra and Speedy at odds, supposedly a portent of a growing fracture. We also see that Dr. Light will soon join the team. We don’t know why, though, as she seems zombified in this issue. This crossover has been too mysterious for its own good.



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