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Justice League of America #40

Posted: Monday, December 21, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

James Robinson
Mark Bagley, Rob Hunter (i)
DC Entertainment
“Reunion” (part 2)

Plot: Four female leaguers face four male zombies, former allies who know all their weaknesses. It's not pretty.

Comments: This is a sadistic story. It was kind of fun seeing Superboy Prime be tortured by his victims in Adventure Comics last week, but it's pretty grim facing what Vixen, Gypsy, Dr. Light, and Zatanna go through this issue.

Johns' Black Lanterns idea does a disservice to the fallen heroes as well, as I don't think we ever needed to see a rabid Vibe, a leering Steel, or any version of the vile male Dr. Light ever again. He's pathetic in any guise now, a truly tainted character with no place in comics.

Robinson hasn't really upped his sensitivity points, either, as he gives voice to racist and sexist rantings on the part of these revenants, intent on berating the women they're attacking before literally stealing their hearts. So Gypsy must hear from the former industry magnate how she really isn't a gypsy at all and Vixen gets berated by Vibe for being a 3rd rate hero all along.

Worst of all, Himiko must suffer through not only the undermining goads of Dr. Light about her worth as a hero, but he also trowels on the rape threats as he strips her bit by bit of the costume they share. Bagley, whose naturally cheery art does its best to convey the dark and violent proceedings, even calls upon a creepy moment of abject vulnerability, where Himiko crawls away from the merciless zombie.

With Red Tornado already disposed of and Plastic Man a near-useless puddle, the women have few allies and yet lack the strength to fend for themselves. Except for Dr. Light herself, who manifests the power all the zombies keep telling her she lacks--finally. Zatanna returns from her off-screen battle, apparently victorious, and then everyone faints. It's a grim, predictable story, merciful only in its relative brevity. I hope it purchased Robinson the time he needs to really get things running in a new direction next issue.



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