On the one hand, it’d be neat to have the whole new Justice League team on this DC Icons cover. On the other, this month’s second issue may yet feature a group shot. And on the other other, that’s one gorgeous Blue Beetle image right there by Aaron Lopresti.
Beetle’s the focus of much of this issue, having been captured by Max Lord, who wants … actually, I’m not sure. Probably to learn the secrets of Beetle’s alien armour. But Jaime holds up well, thanks to a lesson once taught him by his dad.
The rest of the heroes, meanwhile, are dealing with the Creature Commandos, but they stop attacking after Max has left the scene of last issue’s battle. This lets Fire, Ice, Rocket Red, Booster Gold and Captain Atom follow the trail of Beetle to Tokyo. But before they can get their search underway, Power Girl, under the mental command of Max, wafts Atom away for a confrontation.
Max Lord is a busy boy this issue, as he reveals to Checkmate’s Black King that he’s been behind the blackening of the organisation’s name so that it would lose its UN affiliation and he could take it over. The King – Taleb Bein Khalid-Isr – doesn’t have time to worry about the ramifications, though, as he’s transformed into another of those tiresome OMAC thingies.
So it’s another rollicking issue, with plenty going on, lots of pluck from our noble heroes and spite from our dastardly villain. Judd Winick’s script powers along nicely, while Joe Bennett, Jack Jadson and Ruy Jose provide eye-catching illustrations. I would, though, ask that they take another look at Beetle’s old solo strips – even allowing for the fact that the opening flashback takes place a few years back, perhaps before the dawn of the goatee, Jaime’s dad is miles off-model.
My only quibble with this series is the fact that apart from one incident last issue – he couldn’t find Wonder Woman – Max is everywhere, always one step ahead of our heroes. He’s only been back from the dead five minutes, how on earth can he be so on top of things? I suppose the get-out is that he laid a few plans before his death, but his recent manipulations are so complicated, so massive, that it’s hard to swallow.
But, I believe a man can fly. I believe Max came back from the dead. So I can buy this line if it means I get to enjoy the most enjoyable sustained Justice League story in years.