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Justice League of America #41

Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010
By: Shawn Hill

James Robinson
Mark Bagley, Rob Hunter (i)
DC Entertainment
Plot: It's time again to rebuild and this time it's about passing the torch to the next generation. Well, kind of.

Comments: I'm glad I stuck it out on this book. This is the issue I've been expecting since Robinson took over. I personally have never cared if the team was full of big shots or small potatoes. I just wanted good art and fun stories. Zatanna and Red Tornado and Gypsy are as important to me as any big guns. I like the funny stories, even, if Giffen and his collaborators were involved. To judge from the two covers, this League is going to be something like Robinson's Cry for Justice crew mixed in with the Teen Titans. I don't/didn't read either of those series anymore, but I'm all for it.

Okay, I'm sure my nomenclature is all wrong. Wonder Girl/Donna Troy, Cyborg, Starfire and Nightwing/Batman haven't been teens for some time. And apparently there's a new set of young'uns in some ongoing title or other (but I stopped reading that when Geoff Johns started confusing the Titans with the Doom Patrol). I'm going to confuse myself if I think about it all too much, but here are my Titans: Wonder Girl, Robin, Speedy and Aqualad or Kid Flash. And the promise was, once, that they would one day step into their mentor's shoes in the League. I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way.

So, as far as that expectation goes, this is as close as we're ever going to get. We've got Junior Wonder Woman in Donna Troy, replacement Bats in Dick Grayson, and even stand-in Superman in Mon'El. We're apparently also getting a Robin, plus long-term Leaguers Hal and Ollie, an Atom (I have no clue which one), the Guardian (I'm sure Robinson has some flashbacks planned for him) and, from the last iteration, only Dr. Light (Zatanna and Vixen having flaked off, and Reddy being a pile of rubble as usual) returns.

That's the big picture. The little picture is watching Diana try to pass the torch to Donna, who can't help but be a heroine despite herself. That much is true of Robinson's Dr. Light as well and he writes her better than anyone ever has. There's a strange but intriguing flashback to America's Colonial era (featuring Miss Liberty in classic Robinson retro style), and lovely design from page to page by the indefatigable Bagley, who makes women sexy and men strong without demeaning either, or vice versa. And that's despite the musical inkers. The new Dr. Light costume is a nice, sleek update.

It's a little problem that these events take place after the as yet unfinished Cry for Justice, but a big relief that Blackest Night gets one page of reference and is otherwise just blamed for everyone's bad mood. It definitely gave me one. But the decks are clearing, and this looks like the beginning of a bright future for a title that's had more than its share of hard knocks.



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