This week’s pick: Justice League of America #11, written by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Gene Ha, lettering by Rob Leigh and color by Art Lyon.
So far, the current Justice League of America series has been characterized by huge, epic storylines featuring a lot of different characters, so it was nice to see a stand-alone single issue story. The story is a simple character piece featuring only two characters and one setting across all 22 pages, a welcome change of pace from the previous JLA storylines, which have featured long, convoluted plots and a ridiculous number of guest stars.
The story finds Red Arrow (formerly Arsenal) and Vixen trapped in a collapsed building. The action and conflict in the story are entirely psychological, as the two characters take turns doubting their abilities in the face of what seems like a hopeless situation. We get to see a glimpse into the minds and motivations of both characters, but primarily of Red Arrow, Green Arrow’s former sidekick who has no super powers of his own but nevertheless chooses to fight alongside the more powerful members of the League. Over the course of the story we also discover a point of continuity concerning Vixen’s malfunctioning powers (she can channel the abilities of any animal) which will no doubt lead to a future storyline.
The gritty, painted artwork by guest artist Gene Ha goes with the story perfectly, and his use of narrow horizontal panels really serves to convey the claustrophobic atmosphere.
All in all this issue was a sharp contrast to what the Justice League of America has been so far, but with so many large stories about epic events, it is that much more important to have an occasional small story about something as simple as why a man fights day after day to be a hero, and how being a hero is sometimes just the ability to keep fighting even when the situation seems hopeless.