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JLA #118

Posted: Monday, September 26, 2005
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.



Writers: Geoff Johns, Allan Heinberg
Artists: Chris Batista (p), Mark Farmer (i)

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: Picking up events from last issue, Despero dampens Martian Manhunterís telepathy as they are locked in mortal combat, just when it looks as though he has the upper hand, Aquaman shows up to balance the scales. They team up to use their combined psionics to try and subdue the villain, but will that be enough? Meanwhile in Metropolis, the rest of the League debates the ethical dilemma of whether or not to perform another mind-wipe. Zatanna refuses to do it and quits. Zatanna then seeks Wonder Womanís council in Paradise Island but the latter is still coming to grips with her recent killing of Maxwell Lord. Supergirl tells Zatanna she feels ďstuckĒ there. Back at the Watchtower, the Leagueís deliberations are cut short when they find out Jíohn is missing as is Batmanís discussion with Catwoman when Jíohn and Aquaman, under Desperoís mind control, suddenly attack.

Comments: First the cover. Beautiful! Itís a black background but the simple image of Zatanna casting her spell is both elegant and visually arresting, and it follows up nicely from last issueís cliffhanger. Whatís cool is that itís not a cliffhanger where our heroes are in some great peril where they must devise a clever escape from. Instead itís a moral question which plagues the League and which could have dire ramifications for all their futures and their loved ones.

The artwork in this book is great, boasting of solid pencils and gorgeous full page panels with crisp and engaging colors. Batista is at his best depicting the various expressions of our heroes and this is vital for this story as all their fears and apprehensions about what they are considering doing come across nicely on every panel. As for the moral debate at the heart of this issue, itís interesting to see each characterís reactions and reservations. Superman, as always, speaks as the voice of reason, but it is interesting to see that both Flash and Green Lantern present reasonable justifications for the mind wipe. In the end, a final decision is deferred, at least until the Justice League deals with Desperoís sudden attack. There is also some great dialogue involving Zatanna, Supergirl and Diana in the interlude at Paradise Island. Trust is at the core of each characterís dilemmas. Diana has lost Batman and Supermanís. Supergirl admits that she never had theirs because sheís still a stranger to them. Zatanna knows that if she performs this act, she might not only never recover Batmanís trust, but possibly lose everyone elseís and her own self respect. Itís a nicely penned scene augmented by Batistaís competent drawings and Farmerís inks.

Final Word: The stage has been nicely set for a showdown between the rest of the Justice League and Desperoís mind controlled superhero pawns, but the writers have also cleverly managed to sidestep the thorny issue of the mind wipe, or at least delayed it until later on in the story arc.



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