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Justice League Of America #8 Review: The Lotus Eaters

Justice League of America finally returns, but without it’s main team! It is within this issue that we begin to understand and see what exactly happened to the big superheroes of the DC Universe after their first confrontation with the Crime Syndicate.

This is something that will carry over into Justice League, Justice League Dark, and Forever Evil: ARGUS, but JLA #8 gets the ball rolling. And boy, does it do an astounding job of it. For a mystery that has plagued the last month from issue to issue – the first answers we get within these pages were certainly carrying their weight. Out of all of the possible ways to get the various Leagues out of the picture the scenario that Matt Kindt is allowed to cook up is one of the finest. The entirety of Forever Evil, as it exists so far, has pulled none of its punches and JLA refreshingly follows suit.

The fates of the League are not dissimilar to the age old trap of tapping into a character’s own worst nightmare – in fact, the Crime Syndicate have gone for broke in imprisoning their enemies. Be it whether a character is trapped in their greatest fantasy, their biggest fear, or inner turmoil of the heart – they have all been made compliant and unable to fight back. It’s an incredibly impactful and deeply unsettling montage of pacification. It really sells not only the brutality of the Crime Syndicate – but their cruelty as well, as they have quite literally created a living hell.

One of the biggest highlights of this issue, outside of the character moments and insight we get from the cast of characters that are given some panel time, is that we get to focus on some of the characters that haven’t been pushed by media hype. So far this consists of Martian Manhunter and Stargirl, both of whom take center stage for these next few issues. It’s an odd duo but Kindt shows that it’s one that could have some definite strength to it early on, and it’s no doubt something that is going to be worked on as the story goes on.

Though the issue was a great start to the story arc, and ends with things kicking in with full force, but that was not all it had to offer. After months and months of having his art just done a complete disservice in almost every issue – Doug Mahnke’s art finally returns to it’s full splendor. The in-panel composition is deliciously tight and everything appeals to the eyes while remaining detailed. There’s hardly anything to note that is wrong with it – other than the old joke about his faces – but those remain delightfully expressive. Mahnke leaves no surprise as to what the character is going through at any particular moment and he really does contribute a lot to the story though those aspects.

The inking is pleasing to the eye but I think could have had some more edge to it – something a bit more biting – but that’s a nitpick at best. Like The Phantom Stranger #12, JLA #8 fulfills it’s role of being a tie-in, but unlike Phantom Stranger it serves to explore the events going around the main story being told. It has a focus and it hits it almost out the ballpark. “Almost” due to the story being ongoing, but hopefully Kindt will land on his feet.



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