The Justice League face off against a world-destroying alien force, but is their biggest challenge to trust one another? Bryan Hitch writes and draws this done in one issue, but is it good?
Justice League #14 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“REGROUP”! Broken, battered and pinned down by a new alien threat, the Justice League is forced to confront long-simmering tensions between teammates before they can save the world. Grievances are aired and secrets are revealed in this special issue written and drawn by Bryan Hitch.
Why does this book matter?
If you dig heroes hashing out their issues via words and not war you’ll probably love this. The hot topics like Superman being from another world and Batman maybe having a way of stopping all of the heroes in his back pocket are discussed. Drama!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s huge. HUGE!
The issues the characters have are brought up in this issue which make for entertaining melodrama. After being temporarily stopped by an alien force the characters spend the majority of this issue in a pocket of earth 12 miles under Canada. They discuss the insecurities of the new Green Lanterns, Superman being from another dimension, and Batman’s (still to be revealed) ability to stop the heroes in their tracks. If you’ve been keeping track of the new Superman’s place amongst the Rebirth and New 52 heroes you’ll want to check in here to see how he makes nice with the heroes and his point of view on the matter.
This issue is aptly titled “Regroup” because that’s exactly what it is with the threat only taking up 5 pages. The alien threat is intriguing though more of an excuse to get these characters talking in an enclosed place. The idea behind this issue is a good one as we focus so much on fighting we don’t get to see the characters hash out their thoughts.
The art by Hitch (with inking help by Daniel Henriques) is good, keeping the mostly static scenes interesting with well placed close ups and medium shots. The dialogue resides mostly in the dialogue, though the alien threat is rendered well to show its scope as it looms over the Earth. It’s another issue where Hitch uses a seemingly unstoppable threat with insurmountable odds against the heroes, and he’s very good at showing size and scope in this one.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Can this dialogue sustain you though? To me, much of the talking is nonstarter material or at best a way to pass some time but not probe the characters very deeply. Nothing is said that hasn’t been said before, though it’s neat to see Hitch bring up Mark Waid’s “Tower of Babel” storyline. The point of the issue is to show the heroes come to the mutual understanding they need to trust each other, but they’re not actually forced to do much more than hatch a plan and enact it. Speaking of plans, the fact that Batman has a plan inspired by Star Wars is somewhat lazy. It’s a fun reference sure, but if he’s pulling plans from movies he’s in trouble. Ultimately Hitch has taken a scene that really only needs two pages to express and stretched it out to an entire issue. It’s not a bad idea, but not pulled off as there’s no resolution or change in the characters. You don’t see them actually trust each other, but instead the status quo continues. If just bringing up trust issues is the goal, it succeeds, though it seems like an obvious issue given the issue’s brought up here.
Much of the issue is focused on the heroes sitting around chatting.
Is It Good?
Hitch focuses an entire story on communication between heroes before the big conflict as they discuss their trust issues and insecurities. The concept of Justice League #14 is sound, but no real change in character is shown rendering its purpose moot. Still, there’s a nice sense of scope and understandable issues are discussed.