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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #25

Justice League of America #25

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 1, 2008

Cover date: November 2008

"The Second Coming" - Chapter Four: "The Best Lack All Conviction"

Writter: Dwayne McDuffie
Penciller: Ed Benes, Ian Churchill, Ivan Reis, Shane Davis, Darick Robertson, Doug Mahnke
Inker: Ed Benes, Christian Alamy, Darick Robertson, Rob Stull, Ian Churchill, Joe Prado

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

The clean-up of the Justice League's headquarters continues. Red Tornado proposes to Kathy Sutton before going on a quick mission with Batman to capture Professor Ivo with the help of Zatanna. Afterwards Red Tornado requests a leave of absence so he can take care of some personal business.

Meanwhile Buddy Baker is confused as to why he is eating chicken, as Firestorm had previously pointed out. They discuss the cause of Buddy and Mari's change in powers. Buddy's wife throws out the possibility that this could all be caused by the aliens that gave Buddy his powers. Buddy explains that the aliens fix problems in the space-time continuum and that some of the memory confusion Mari is having about her and Buddy's previous adventures was caused by them messing with Buddy's personal history. As the League discusses this Mari hears a voice calling her and when she touches her totem she disappears.

Inside the totem she finds herself before Anansi, the trickster god, who controls all of the stories. She demands to know why he kidnapped her and Anansi bemoans the fact that no one has the patience to let the story unfold anymore. He requires Buddy Baker as well and soon Buddy is trussed up alongside Mari. Anansi reveals that the aliens that gave Buddy his powers were actually him in disguise. He confuses the two heroes with double speak and shows them different realities of their fellow heroes coming to rescue them. Finally Vixen escapes, which seems to please Anansi, who is depending on Mari to prove him wrong because if he is right all hope is lost and the stories are no longer his.

4Story - 4: Before I get into the review I wanted to make a retraction.

It was Firestorm and not Vixen who pointed out Buddy's chicken eating behavior last issue. I made a boo-boo in my synopsis and many of you called me out for it. So here is me saying sorry, my bad.

On with the review.

I liked this issue a lot better than I thought I was going to.

I really did. I wasn't quite sure how this was going to work out because the Vixen sub-plot was not doing a whole lot for me. I have nothing against the character. I rather like Mari. It's just that the endless tie-ins that this book has been a part of have really thrown off the flow, so a story that seems (and note that I used the word seems) like it should be in the teens is now the big anniversary issue.

Despite this I dug the heck out of this issue. My fears that this wouldn't feel like an anniversary issue were laid to rest rather quickly because McDuffie managed to weave the whole, "this is an anniversary issue, so we need to get some feeling of why this team is important" vibe with an interesting plot that really grabbed me. This is not an easy feat. Such things are easily screwed up but McDuffie kept the story flowing at a good clip and avoided some of the pot holes that can be found in stories such as this. Too much of how important the character or team is and you are beating the reader over the head with it. Too little and the reader can be left wondering what the point is. This sort of story has to be Baby Bear; just right.

I found Anansi to be an interesting antagonist. I knew virtually next to nothing about Vixen and normally I don't have much truck with writers taking concepts and characters and linking them, but again it worked in this case. I sort of felt bad for Buddy Baker. All along he thought it was aliens that gave him his abilities but it turned out to be a trickster god instead. That has to be a let down, though it does kind of jibe with what was done with the character in 52.

More than the Animal Man thing and more than the relationship between Anansi and Vixen I liked the fact that McDuffie brought the multiple Earths into the story as well as the alternate realities and scenarios the trickster god spun. Not only did it get into what makes the characters tick, but it presented some interesting "what-ifs" for the reader. The deaths of Black Canary, Red Arrow and Firestorm were well handled and kind of cool really because you know they're not dead but they are. It's one of the few times I like such writing tricks. Then there was Batman as Paladin. That was cool. Bruce Wayne goes to another film and becomes another type of hero. Superman and Wonder Woman marry. Barry Allen doesn't become the Flash. Superman dies and without Batman being Batman or Superman being there the cavalry that came to rescue Animal Man and Vixen disappears.

That was neat.

As far as the sub-plots go I enjoyed seeing more of Red Tornado even if it was to have him leave the book for a spell. At least he looked like he was leaving the book for a spell. The relationship between him and Kathy felt genuine and I loved how he, Batman and Zatanna all worked to take down Ivo. What was even better is the fact that this sub-plot felt just as important to the story as the main plot and that's sort of how it should be with a cast as large as JUSTICE LEAGUE has. One group is over here, another group is over there, they're both doing their own thing and then, at the end, they come together to fight the good fight.

Again, that was neat.

This book is back on track. McDuffie managed to make me care about a story I had very little interest in, which may not be all that important but it meant something to me. I am actually looking forward to seeing how all of this wraps up.

One more time; neat.

4Art - 4: Hey, another jam issue art wise.

While the styles of the particular artists are different there was a nice flow to the artistic end of this issue. The characters looked good. The storytelling was strong, especially with the new origin of Bruce Wayne and the action was handled well. My only minor quibble came from the coloring of Batman's costume during the take down of Professor Ivo. Way to much blue in that body suit for my taste.

But maybe that's just me.

4Cover Art - 4: You know, I liked this cover and all, but at the same time we have been seeing a variation on this theme for several issues now. It has the anniversary cover feel, but the repetition makes it less special than it should be.

Still, good cover, even with the Zatanna cheesecake pose.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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