Review by Ian Keogh
Robert Venditti’s stint writing DC’s premier super team followed Scott Snyder’s five volume epic. He wisely chooses not to pick up from Snyder’s enigmatic ending to Justice/Doom War and instead supplies a pair of four chapter stories and one shorter outing. ‘Invasion of the Supermen’ has Superman’s old foe the Eradicator leading a force of invincible aliens to Earth, the title story pits the Justice League against mythical creatures loosed from the Greek version of Hell, and the third is a form of locked room mystery.
All have serviceable plots, interesting ideas, are unpredictable and are very well drawn. However all also have moments where Venditti’s unable to capture the personalities of individual Justice League members. Sometimes the way they behave services the plot rather than remaining true to themselves, such as Batman’s conflict with Madame Xanadu, or they’ll explain matters to each other in dialogue actually intended for readers. Venditti also sets in motion circumstances affecting the entire planet, and while concentrating on the Justice League, the planet wide problems have to be represented by a few individuals clashing, then resolving their problems.
As for the art, as noted, it’s all good, with the extra effort Xermanico puts into the design of his pages making him stand out, although that extra effort means he’s the only artist not to complete two chapters. The clash of his art with the lesser effort of Robson Rocha is noticeable. However, why couldn’t schedules have been arranged so that at least one of the four chapter stories was drawn entirely by a single artist? For all that, the various styles mesh, so there are little differences between Doug Mahnke and Aaron Lopresti’s Leaguers and between those of Xermanico and Eddy Barrows. By virtue of also drawing the single chapter there are more pages by Lopresti than anyone else, his sample art being from the opening story, and his career is founded on solid, clear and dynamic pages.
The two longer stories both have the feeling of being padded beyond their natural lifespan, which makes the final outing the most satisfying, although it’s not entirely exempt. Superhero comics rarely do mysteries any more beyond the idea of concealing a villain for a few pages, so this has the feel of a 1960s story, or perhaps a Mark Waid-style update of one. Venditti’s underlines why the Justice League is a team while they try to figure out how their headquarters is malfunctioning and threatening them.
After Snyder’s epic, some downtime was on the agenda for the Justice League, but as an individual collection this has a few moments, especially a neat trick in the opening story, yet it never really supplies that major thrill.