Thursday, July 30, 2009

Justice League of America #35

I don't know if Len Wein's previous fill-in issue was written in a rush or what, but this held up much better than his Starbreaker origin story.

The issue opens with the Royal Flush Gang seizing a casino full of hostages to set up a fairly complicated scheme. The RFG are as big a group of jobbers (wrestling term for guys set up to lose) as you'll find in comics, so they aren't really much better than generic ninjas, robots, or zombies for the heroes to knock around. This time it is a bit different, since the JLA has essentially disbanded leaving a group of jobber heroes as the only folks answering a JLA distress call. Our team is Vixen, Firestorm, Dr. Light II, Red Tornado, and Plastic Man. Not exactly heavy-hitters. By putting such low-rent heroes up against low-rent villains, I actually thought the fight could go either way. (I'm not saying I don't like those heroes. I especially dig Firestorm and Dr. Light II, but they aren't exactly winners). The conflict ends up being pretty entertaining, if generic. I was happy to see the "surprise" villains revealed at the end. They make sense for a Las Vegas-style heist story, so I'll definitely be picking up the rest of Wein's issues. This is by no means a classic, but it is solid super-hero action featuring a bunch of folks who don't usually get the limelight.

Tom Derenick's professional pencils have never looked as astounding as his pin-up commission work, but he is a solid storyteller. I noticed he mixed up his facial expressions more than usual in this one. I wonder if this was a rush job, since Derenick wasn't solicited as the artist.


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