The members of Justice League International have split into two teams to check out Checkmate cells reactivated by the murderous Maxwell Lord. The group comprising Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and Skeets has a quiet issue, discovering a cache of new OMAC androids, but Ice, Fire and Rocket Red? It’s fair to say they’re busy.
Busy fending off two separate attacks by the Metal Men, reprogrammed by Lord flunky Professor Ivo (the evil genius JLA enemy who’s neither IQ nor TO Morrow – I always forget which is which). The first attack sees DC’s lovable robots in familiar formations, and the JLI doesn’t do badly, Then the Metal Men, their Responsometer minds fooled by a shared CS Lewis-style fantasy, regroup – literally. They become a giant-sized Metal Man, an apparently unstoppable alloy whose one instinct is to pound their foes.
It’s good fun. Two issues a month means no moans from me when most of a story is devoted to fight scenes. And when the battles are as well-presented as these – hats off to writer Judd Winick and artists Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan – there wouldn’t be any complaints anyway. Alongside the physical conflicts we get plenty of sweet character interaction, with Ice proving her team’s MVP. The issue closes with one member going through a big change, likely a positive one, contrasting with the continuing loss of humanity experienced by Captain Atom.
The Metal Men, while not themselves, receive a great showcase for their abilities here. It’ll be nice if before this series ends, Tin, Lead, Platinum, Gold, Iron, Mercury and missing-from-this-issue Copper team up with the JLI by way of ‘apology’ for their inadvertent actions here.
Winick’s script remains sharp, while Lopresti and Ryan show why they were such a good fit on Wonder Woman, drawing everything from malleable robots to the scariest centaurs you ever did see. And Cliff Chiang’s cover is another winner, the softness of his approach contrasting nicely with the metallic menace attacking the JLI.
Almost halfway through and this entertaining series shows no signs of flagging. I vote DC ‘forgets’ to end it, and surprises us all with a #27 in six months or so.