Everybody is fighting everybody in the latest issue of Justice League as the universe hangs in the balance. The “Darkseid War” is in full effect and no one is safe from the life altering events at play. Brett already gave a fantastic review of Justice League #44 here. Now, it’s time for a second opinion.
The majority of the issue is non-stop action as the two titans of the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid continue to clash on Earth. In between these massive set pieces, a large amount of story growth and character development occur, which continues to build on the seemingly endless momentum the Darkseid war continues to have. The issue opens with Batman, or Bat-god if you prefer, digging deeper into the mystery of the Anti-Monitor’s past with Green Lantern. These scenes are really the only slow moments in the story and they become a nice reprieve from the non-stop movement of the rest of the issue. It is with this scene, Geoff Johns allows the story to grow for both who Batman is becoming and who the Anti-Monitor was. The rest of the issue progresses at a breakneck pace but, it still allows a lot of intriguing development for the Flash, Wonder Woman, and Superman. This does not even touch on all of Darkseid’s children battling either, as they each work through their own individual narrative. With all of this happening each character is grown in an interesting way, making the most of the short time they appear in the story. The final twist is also extremely noteworthy and the places this will take countless characters involved is very exciting and reinvigorating for many who have been stuck in the same mold for a long time. This is the real strength of this issue. Each character is at an interesting cross roads and waiting to see where they go next makes every subsequent issue that much more exciting.
Although, the large amount of characters does cause many people to be pushed to the side. Shazam, Steve Trevor, and Cyborg are almost completely ignored during the battle and Power Ring’s scene does not really introduce anything new we have not known about her before this point. Also, there is a very forced cameo of the Joker in the beginning that seems very out-of-place and adds nothing to the narrative. With this many characters and limited space, those panels could have been used to grow the actual people involved in the war. The final issue with this comic, is that there is a bit of heavy retreading of past stories in Wonder Woman’s inner monologue that seemed to be describing what the art was showing rather than letting the artwork speak for itself.
That artwork is the normal Justice League, Jim Lee, DC house style that we have seen since the Justice League relaunched with the new 52. It is by no means bad, but it is what we have come to expect. The action does look phenomenal and, with so much going on, and so many characters in certain panels, artist Jason Fabok does a great job keeping it all contained and organized. The layouts work very well to help build the tension and sense of dread as the Justice League continues to fight for the Universe’s survival once again.
Overall, this is not a perfect comic book by any means but, there are so many strong character moments, and such an intriguing ending, that Justice League #44 becomes a must read. If for no other reason then to set yourself up for what comes next.
Story: Geoff Johns Art: Jason Fabok
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy