Batman joins the newly reformed Justice League of America in issue number 41 of the JLA written by James Robinson, penciled by Mark Bagley and ably inked by Hunter, Alquiza, and Wong.
First and foremost, what is the most striking detail about this issue? The continuity problem! Not only does this issue take place after Blackest Night is over it also spoils the ending to “Justice League: Cry for Justice”. So anyone who wants an advanced look at how that series ends, help yourselves! (Not that “Cry” has exactly set the world on fire. Also written by Robinson, it is now running late.)
Batman does not take a central role in this book as it is, of course, a team up affair. The story starts out with a disconsolate Donna Troy ready to walk away from it all. Burnt out and “beaten down” Troy happens across a crime scene where children are being held hostage in a hospital and she is forced to act. After securing the children and stuffing the bad guys, she openly questions herself, lashes out at Wonder Woman and proclaims, “I am done.”
After a short lecture from Wonder Woman and a brief interlude through America’s colonial period (with a sidebar trip to the Smithsonian, which serves as a future JLA storyline) Troy relents and starts the recruitment process. Starfire and Cyborg quickly sign up and Troy takes off to Gotham City. Here we catch up with the Caped Crusaders in the middle of a beat down of some poor Killer Moth wannabe’s. The new Batman and Robin are at their acrobatic best and seem to be following the Judd Winick model. Lighter in attitude and much less grimmer in tone. The action stops as Troy appears on the scene and says not bad to "Batman". Batman, in quotes, as she knows it is Dick Grayson beneath the cowl. She compliments the duo and refers to Damian as a kid. Cue comedic retort from the new Damian Robin, “Kid?” he says, “How dare you Harlot.” Funny and not too far off as Donna Troy is sporting a skin tight cat suit that might be more appropriate to the bedroom than a back alley.
The two exchange some small talk and catch up quickly. Batman tells Donna that he just put down “Yellow Wasp” and is on the trail of a bigger evil doer called” The Broker” who has been setting up hideouts and putting together groups for what may be a larger storyline in the future. He correctly deduces Donna hasn’t arrived for chit-chat and asks her if her visit means she wants him to join the Justice League. She is amazed at his deductive prowess (he cheated) and the seal the deal with a groan inducing “fist bump”. Again, from the Winick model? Of course if she had asked me to join the League I would have told she had me at revealing, skin tight jump suit that barely covers her ample, um, attributes. Just sayin’. (Oh yes, Damian says he's in too.)
The story continues as Donna goes off to recruit the new Dr. Light, Mon-El as the Superman sub, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow. The final panel is a full pager and is a nice portrait of the Hal Jordan Green Lantern and Batman.
The artwork seems a bit rushed but the inking was fine. Like I said, the last panel is pretty cool and Mon El gets a nice action splash page. The story? Well, it is a reboot of the JLA series, so Robinson had to fit in a lot threads just to pull each character in. Hopefully future plots will be tighter. I’m curious how large a role the Dick Grayson Batman will play in this series and if he will continue the lighter tone discussed earlier. I’m actually hoping he’ll keep the cape and cowl and stay on as Batman in the JLA even after Bruce Wayne returns. There is more than one Green Lantern after all. Anyone think DC has the guts to allow that angle?
Yeah, I didn’t think so either.
Justice League of America #41:
Reviewed by Dark Knight Dave