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Mild Mannered Reviews - Justice League Adventures

Justice League Adventures #16

Justice League Adventures #16

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 5, 2003

Cover date: April 2003

Writer: Scott McCloud
Penciller: John Delaney
Inker: John K. Snyder III

"Hide And Seek"

Reviewed by: George O'Connor (

Upon learning of an impending White Martian attack, J'onn J'onzz and the rest of the Justice League prepare for the invasion with enhanced defensive measures and constant surveillance. To ensure the secrecy of the League's plans and preparations, J'onn constructs headsets that will block the alien invaders' attempts at reading the team's minds.

Later, J'onn helms the computer surveillance system in the Watchtower and intercepts a message that reveals the White Martians' plan of attack: an invasion on the east coast of North America in exactly twenty-four hours! Even more troubling, however, is the revelation that a League member has been replaced by a White Martian shape-shifter who will be able to eliminate the Justice League from within.

Alarmed, J'onn decides to keep the news to himself, so as not to alert the enemy agent within their ranks. Ironically, J'onn cannot read the minds of the other Leaguers to determine whether they are the heroes they claim to be, because of the headsets he passed out earlier to block mind-reading attempts.

As the Martian Manhunter dwells over the mystery of the fake League member, the Flash rushes him, tackling him to the floor before a meteorite from outside the Watchtower crashes into the room. The Flash is carried out into space before Green Lantern can catch him and seal the hull with his power ring. The rest of the League soon responds to the threat, recognizing that the meteor storm could obliterate the Watchtower if they don't act quickly.

All is going as planned until a stray meteor comes soaring towards an oblivious Hawkgirl. Wonder Woman risks her own life to save Hawkgirl by crashing headlong into the space rock. The Amazonian blacks out and J'onn moves quickly to recover her floating body and help her inside the Watchtower.

J'onn feels terrible for not having noticed the impending meteor shower on his watch and further reflects his own concern about not being any more certain who the enemy agent is. After a pep talk from Superman, J'onn feels certain that the Man of Steel, Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman are all the heroes they claim to be, but he is less certain about Batman and Hawkgirl, especially when the two report to Superman that an airliner over the Pacific needs his help. Could it be a strategy to separate the League's most powerful member from its ranks?

Just as J'onn is about to talk to the Flash and Green Lantern about his concerns, he is surrounded by the four remaining members of the League, who suspect him of being the traitor!

Convinced that a false Batman is behind the ruse to trap him, J'onn escapes and sets off a defense program that renders the League members unconscious. Taking Batman with him, J'onn grabs a Martian weapon and flies towards the approaching White Martian fleet. Infiltrating the main starship, J'onn brings the gun to bear on whom he believes to be the enemy agent and demands a trade for the real Batman.

The Martians laugh at him and then reveal their only prisoner: the real J'onn J'onzz!

Suddenly, it all becomes clear to him: he is a White Martian soldier who has been brainwashed with J'onn J'onzz's memories so as to create a more convincing enemy plant. At the right moment, his own memories would have been restored to him, so that he could effectively eliminate the League... but with this realization in hand, and with J'onn J'onzz's memories implanted in his mind, the soldier decides to go rogue and help the Earth and its Justice League.

Fighting off the ship's inhabitants with his Martian gun, he frees Batman, who helps to awaken the real J'onn and outfit him with a space suit. The two Leaguers then escape as the rogue soldier turns the captured starship on his own race and goes out in a blaze of glory.

4Story - 4: Aside from some pretty stiff dialogue, McCloud shines through with a great story of intrigue and mystery. As usual, J'onn J'onzz makes a great narrator, even if he isn't really J'onn! There is something so humble and human (ironically enough) about the Martian Manhunter (especially this animated incarnation) that it is a joy to follow him in his quest for uncovering the enemy agent in his midst. McCloud does a great job of making the twist ending work for him and I find it especially ironic that the White Martians, in their zeal for an authentic agent within the League's ranks, essentially doomed themselves. They made the replica too well, and it cost them in the end.

2Art - 2: I'm sorry to say that Delaney and Snyder's combined work in this issue looks rushed and uninspired. It's disappointing since this story is one that would definitely benefit from some top-grade artistic work. For the most part, the characters are flat and sometimes poorly rendered, and the action is un-engaging.

4Cover Art - 4: This cover is very nice. Although it looks similar to the cover with Aquaman a couple months ago, the characters are illustrated with a greater attention to detail, and the motion of the scene is terrific. Each hero converges on J'onn from a different direction, and the use of a white background is a wise choice, as it leads the eye to the multitude of colors from the different costumes.

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

January 2003

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