Friday, August 19, 2016

Justice League #2, The Extinction Machines Part Two (spoilers)

Review: DC Universe Rebirth: Justice League #2, the Extinction Machines Part Two
Submitted: Joshua Williams, Comic News Writer
5 August 16

How would you write the Justice League without a team?  As the Justice League reunites, they seem to be the only ones standing in the way of certain destruction.  The necessity of teamwork, via the Green Lanterns, Wonder Woman, Batman and the Flash may be enough to stop the threat; however, how can they trust the new, mysterious Superman?  Can teamwork outweigh trust?

“Justice League #2, The Extinction Machine Part Two,” written by Bryan Hitch with art by Tony S. Daniel, begins with a television news anchor giving updates on the movements of the Justice League as they combat the natural disaster in Hong Kong.  In the middle of the news broadcast, the Kindred (The Kindred is a group of humanoid animals first introduced by DC Comics in 1994, however these Kindred do not look like the Kindred of old.  They may be just the same in name only) overtake the anchor.  Meanwhile, the two Lanterns, Flash, and Batman continue their battles.  From the Watchtower (located above Earth, in Earth’s orbit) Cyborg investigates the radical seismic shift that has caused the earthquakes in Hong Kong.  Aquaman investigates the Kindred in Atlantis as the rest of the team reunites at the Watchtower.  Here, the team reluctantly (and silently) agrees to employ the new Superman to their cause. 

The new DC Universe and the Justice League have some definite successes; however, they have some murky and slow developments as well.  Hitch succeeds by bringing the team together within the first few pages, with team inexperience at the forefront of this issue.  Newly acquired Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, is definitely getting on-the-job training as she expresses her unsureness of her newly acquired superpowers. Throughout the issue she frequently refers to the impossible, her capabilities, and her vulnerabilities.  The use of Cyborg as a leader is a wonderful new team dynamic and proves to be useful as he develops a hypothesis to at least subside their current threat.  Hitch not only is able to put Cyborg at the center, but also is able to deliver exposition for the overall story arc.  Aquaman’s inclusion, even though he isn’t with the team, gives another view of the Kindred.  This adds a bit more complexity to the Justice League along with the impending threat they currently face.

Negatively, Justice League #2, poses some problems.  The motivation of the Kindred is playing out very slowly.  Why is the Kindred invading?  What do they want?  With that, you have to wonder: how does Batman view this invasion?  Batman explains he wants A.R.G.U.S and the CDC to analyze the evidence taken, via the Flash.  This doesn’t seem like Batman; why wouldn’t he take some evidence for himself?

The dynamic of the Green Lanterns is a bit distorted or lost.  As Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz is new to the job, yet she seems to be able to pick up using her power ring fairly easily.  Green Lantern Simon Baz must be a magnificent teacher as his apprentice is able to stop a tsunami with a few sentences as a tutorial.  How does the power ring actually work?

THE VERDICT: Hitch and Daniel do a fantastic job presenting the alien invasion, allowing this common trope to be unique and different from all other versions.  The heroes of the Justice League don’t fight crime—they stop disasters and save the world.  Superman, being an outsider to this new group of Justice League superheroes is a huge dynamic.  This issue is a must read: it serves as an anchor for the Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Batman/Superman individual story-arcs.  How will Batman deal with the tension and mistrust?  What about Superman?  Where does Wonder Woman fit into all of this? Stay tuned!

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