Justice League #10 review

At the Arctic Circle, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Firestorm are bringing a new meaning to ‘message in a bottle’, as they try to track down the Graveyard of the Gods following the murder of Poseidon’s human form by the Legion of Doom.

Off Indonesia, Superman, the Flash and Adam Strange have encountered old Challengers of the Unknown villain Volcano Man while trying to find the Legion’s secret base.

And in outer space, Hawkgirl, Green Lantern and J’onn J’onnz are heading for Thanagar in a bid to unravel the Winged Wonder’s connection to mysterious energy maguffin, the Totality.

Back on Earth, the injured Batman has been probing onetime Starman Will Payton for clues to the Totality.

It’s safe to say this issue of Justice League doesn’t lack in scope. And that’s before we meet the three beings who spark the upcoming JL/Aquaman/Titans crossover Drowned Earth, who have a connection to ancient Atlantean wizard Arion.

Arion. Adam Strange. Firestorm. Starman. God bless writer Scott Snyder, he’s totally pushing my joy buttons by including some of my favourite characters, heroes who aren’t seen nearly enough. Firestorm, at the very least, should have a permanent berth on the core League team, due to his massively useful powers, sparky personality and colourful costume. And Adam Strange should be around whenever there’s a link to outer space, preferably in his classic duds. Will Payton will hopefully recover from his Luthor-caused coma and rejoin the ranks of heroes, while there’s hope some time travelling will drop a hero or two on Arion’s doorstep.

As for the main members, everyone with a speaking role is on good form, though Snyder seems to have gotten the same memo as Brian Bendis over in Superman, the one that says to write Barry Allen like his excitable movie self; like Firestorm, basically. So there’s another reason to get the Nuclear Man on the team full-time – take the Young Guy slot and leave Barry to be Barry.

Oh, and five thousand million points to Snyder for Jarro.

Illustrating the book in full colour is DC veteran Francis Manapul, and my word, but his work gets ever better. From Diana and Arthur’s winter warmer costumes to the villains’ climactic act, via Volcano Man and phantom ships, this is visually thrilling fare. Manapul finds the sweet spot between superhero action and heroic fantasy with images that work as standalones while blending into one heck of a story.

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And Manapul gets his five thousand million points for including a denizen of the planet Hykraius, homeworld of 31st-century superbeing Tellus – hey, we starving Legion of Super-Heroes fans are pathetically grateful for any crumb we’re offered. If I’m not mistaken, the LSH was Manapul’s first regular DC work and I’d love to see the writer-artist revive them.

I especially like Manapul’s Firestorm, the red in his costume darker… now, could we have the classic puffy sleeves, pretty please?

Kudos, too, to Tom Napolitano, for some elegant fontwork and perfect display lettering on the opening spread.

Manapul also provides the cover, and it is gorgeous, the orange Aqua-accents setting off Arthur’s teammates nicely – well, except for Cyborg and Green Lantern, I don’t know what happened there!

The variant cover from the team of penciller Jim Lee, inker Scott Williams and colourist Alex Sinclair is nothing to sneeze at, either… I’m not a fan of beardy Aquaman, but he really does look splendid.

One of the best issues since Snyder kicked off the new Justice League, let’s hope it’s a sign of the crossover’s quality to come.

11 thoughts on “Justice League #10 review

  1. Is this past Arion or present-day Arion? As I recall he went mad and became a villain over in Blue Beetle. I’ve just finished No Justice and haven’t caught up to this series yet.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have got to stop hate reading this. Then I wouldn’t be so annoyed that they included Tellus (Or his ancestor, Jellus) in the background when he isn’t an aquatic character. His people are methane breathers. He’d be as unable to breathe underwater as he is in the Earth’s atmosphere…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s probably why he’s wearing a helmet, then. It makes as much sense for one of Tellus’ ancestors to live in an underwater environment with a helmet As it does for Tellus to live on land with a helmet.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Man, I have *got* to stop reading Scott Snyder interviews. He lives to spoil his own stories. That “Jarro” gag would’ve landed so hard for me, had I not read about it on CBR and Newsarama first. So, lesson learned on that.

    And the Walmart reprints of New 52 Flash comics had gotten me lamenting that I hadn’t seen Paul Manapul’s work in a while, so his art was a very welcome sight!

    As for Arion, I’m glad to see him referred to as a hero again. Most of his present day appearances have been in antagonist (and sometimes downright villainous) roles, so it’s good that Aquaman remembers his roots.

    As for the Hykraians, I was thrilled to see them too. And there’s plenty of evidence within the story that not all of the seas of space are water — there’s no reason why their planet can’t still be a methane sea. (Hykraius had a liquid methane environment, not a gaseous one.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I’d read an interview mentioning Jarro, I’d forgotten it, happily… honestly, why come up with a great gag and spoil it?

      I’m with you, I want to forget the whole thing about Arion being bad, much as I enjoyed the recent Blue Beetle series.

      Like

  4. Great review.

    Tellus always talked about Hykraius and its ‘mother ocean’, so maybe these aquatic gods aren’t based on H20, but instead on liquid environments? Regardless, it is a Legion Easter Egg! Many points indeed.

    I find the pace of this book refreshing even if it means I have to roll with things. The ship model as tracker device came out of the blue but Snyder writes it as if we already knew about it. I suppose in this decompressed age, speed should always be lauded.

    Also, I thought Manta had the Key to the Graveyard of the Gods already? Or was Lex setting up this encounter so Manta could get it?

    I love the book for its scope and pace. So no complaints. Enjoying the roller coaster.

    Liked by 1 person

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