Justice League 41
Christopher Priest and Philippe Briones continue to present Priest's fresh take on the Justice League, albeit not completely fitting this particular ensemble. While the last issue ended on a cliffhanger with the main League and Justice League of America attempting to save the Watchtower from crashing into Earth, this issue disregards the cliffhanger altogether and displays the Watchtower in ruins, having crashed into Saigon. Relegating the JLA's absence to an off-handed comment from The Flash, this character study on the Justice League falls flat as a whole.
The League find themselves now in Saigon in the middle of a war brewing between the government and the refugees in the nation. The plot feels obviously forced in areas dealing with race, as each issue continually manages to shoehorn more awkward interactions between the League. The Red Lion, a Priest creation from current his Deathstroke run, makes his appearance, claiming ownership over the Watchtower's remains as a “right of salvage.” The use of Red Lion feels slightly like self-gratification for Priest. Somehow managing to gain the upper hand over The Justice League, Red Lion uses his plot armor to take out Cyborg while distracting Superman with a helicopter for an odd amount of time. The remainder of the League is left to deal with the civil war going on in the streets of Saigon. Pages after his ordeal with the helicopter, Superman luckily escapes only to face a barrage of gunfire. The bullets ricochet and one deflects, injuring Wonder Woman in the process, somehow. Too many things just happened in this issue for the sake of the plot without much reason or explanation as to why.
One of the few interesting aspects of the issue, albeit short-lived, is when Batman faces new villain “The Fan.” Sporting an amalgamation of different League members’ costumes and weapons, The Fan still ends up taken down easily but manages to show mental superiority over the likes of even Batman.
Priest’s style of storytelling rarely allows the room for his artists the use of splash pages, typically needing a larger amount of panels per page. Philippe Briones fits this style very well, being able to compact more panels into each page for Priest without losing much detail. Although when Briones is actually able to spread his metaphorical wings he can even make a supposed dead Wonder Woman beautiful to look at. The use of darker scenes to distinguish time zones allowed Jeremy Cox’s colors to imply a juxtaposition between varying countries adding detail to each respective location.
With Justice League: No Surrender right around the corner, this run continues to be unimpressive and spins its wheels as readers are left waiting for the next run to begin in June.