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Mild Mannered Reviews - Justice League Adventures

Justice League Adventures #31

Justice League Adventures #31

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 5, 2004

Cover date: July 2004

Writer: Josh Siegal
Penciller: Chris Jones
Inker: Dan Davis


Michael (George) O'Connor Reviewed by: Michael O'Connor

A tragedy has occurred. A criminal has killed a boy's parents and the Justice League was too late to do anything but offer its condolences.

Now, the League joins young Danny at his parents' grave, and J'onn J'onzz can't help but notice that Danny does not feel grief so much as he feels anger. As the League struggles with its own guilt for not being there in time for Danny and his parents, the Phantom Stranger appears and stops time, offering the Justice League three futures that will come to pass if the League involves itself too forcefully in Danny's life.

The Phantom Stranger also has other troubling news. Danny will discover that he is a metahuman in the coming days.

In the first of these futures, Wonder Woman tells Danny to remain brave. Somehow (and this is a bit vague), this leads Danny to hunting down his parents' murderer, killing him, and then taking on the entire Justice League... which is when he kills Hawkgirl. (Huh?)

The second of these scenarios is a little more developed. Batman takes the youth under his wing, but eventually, Danny lets the hate that has been boiling inside him for so long burst in a furious display of power by eradicating the Joker or one of his minions.

In the final scenario, Danny joins the Man of Steel, but he pushes himself too hard and it ends his life.

After the Stranger has left, Superman reflects on what the Stranger has shown them. He and the rest of the League offer their condolences and leave Danny to grow up on his own. They part with only a few choice words, which have been influenced in part by the Phantom Stranger's possible futures.

3Story - 3: This story had tremendous potential, but in the end, it buckled. There were parts that just didn't make sense, or that were too vague, or that seemed a little too rushed. For instance, what was the whole Wonder Woman version about? What is it about the concept of courage that Diana shares with the boy that drives Danny to turn into a supervillain? The Batman and Superman versions were better, but even they could have benefited from specifics rather than generalities. Show us how Danny lets his vengeful spirit slowly overcome him in the Batman tale or how his desire to push himself will be his undoing in the Superman account. I like the idea that the League, in its guilt, seeks to help the boy by molding him to compensate for their own shortcomings. That's good stuff - a poignant observation - but this message is buried under a struggling narrative. If only Siegal had really pursued his premise.

3Art - 3: A mixed bag, as I've noticed before with Jones and Davis working together. Some pages are very nice, especially the first few of the book, but as the work progresses, it falters a little. The action sequences, in particular, could have been a little more engaging.

4Cover Art - 4: Very nice. As soon as I saw this issue, my eyes widened. That's a good cover for you.

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2004

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