"Crisis of Conscience Part Four"
Writers: Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg
Artists: Chris Batista (p), Mark Farmer (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Aquaman gives the Martian Manhunter a hand with Despero as the Justice League decides whether or not to remove the information regarding their private lives from the Secret Society of Super Villains' minds. The League votes, but Zatanna refuses to help them. Meanwhile, Batman and Catwoman find themselves under attack in the Batcave.
Commentary: Well, Aquaman steps up to the plate and gets treated with a little respect. This had to be my favorite part of the issue. As much as I liked the ongoing debate and rift within the League, seeing Aquaman going toe-to-toe with Despero was just great. Sure it didn't end well, but it is the principle of the matter. Johns and Heinberg have given the readers an indication that maybe the guy that controls sea life and has at time ruled over three quarters of the planet is a powerful character.
The debate was a very well written scene, and it went down as it should have. It was a foregone conclusion that Hawkman was going to vote as he did, though I did like the little "joke" about him killing the villains. Green Lantern and Dinah also voted like I thought they would. It was interesting to see both Green Arrow and Flash change their minds regarding whether or not to remove the information regarding their private lives from the Secret Society of Super Villains' minds. Green Arrow was one of the staunch opponents of what happened to Dr. Light, and Wally seemed to be horrified over what happened. But given what is happening over in Green Arrow's book and the fact that Wally and Linda have just gotten over what happened to them, it makes sense that they would re-think their options. Ollie seemed to be splitting hairs over removing a few names versus making someone a bumbling idiot, but he is not far off and that justifies his thinking.
Then there was Superman. This small scene proved that both Johns and Heinberg have a firm grasp on who Superman is as a character. A lot of people might think his reasoning makes Superman weak, but I think it goes to the heart of the character. With all that has happened to him and with all of the mistakes he has made over the past year or so, Superman would not make the same mistake twice. Superman, like Batman, is all about finding a way so he would reject the simple and easy choice of altering their minds.
Zatana's choice wasn't much of a shock either, and I thought the justification she gave was spot on. I also enjoyed the scene with Wonder Woman. This issue really shows the cracks within the League and the relationships between the three main heroes especially. I still hold to the theory that one of the big moments of Infinite Crisis will be when Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman look at each other and decide to put everything behind them so they can inspire the others to pull together. (That's just a theory though. If it goes down like that, I am sure of the fact that one of the reasons they get together is that Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman will point out that everything could have been avoided if they had been honest with each other and worked harder to keep things in line.)
The art was, again, great. Batista and Farmer continue to pull off an extremely emotional story while giving some great hero moments. Aquaman's appearance was fantastic, but the best piece of art in the issue was the double page spread of the Justice League coming apart.
In The End: This issue went better than I could have hoped for. By the ending of the previous issue, I was a little nervous that the vote would be anti-climactic, but Johns and Heinberg did a fine job. You can't ask for a better art team for this story. All of the heroes and villains look great and the emotional context really comes through.
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