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Justice League of America #23

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2008
By: Erik Norris

Dwayne McDuffie
Ed Benes, Pete Pantazis (colors)
Marvel Comics
The struggle between Amazo and the Justice League continues in Justice League of America #23. I almost feel bad for the Red Tornado. He has been put through the wringer over the course of this series' relaunch. However, he has become a better, well-rounded character for it. I absolutely loved what Brad Meltzer did in his initial storyline with Reddy, and I'm glad McDuffie is picking up the pieces of Reddy's psyche here with this story after all the editorial mandated tie-ins (Tangent Universe, seriously!?). However, unlike Meltzer's personal story, McDuffie goes the route of "let's solve all problems with punching furiously."

That is my main problem with issue #23 of JLofA, it's all fighting. About two weeks ago I reviewed Mighty Avengers #16 and had the exact same complaint. Issues dedicated towards one giant brawl are not entertaining. They take no time at all to read through, making them hardly worth the three dollars. And quite frankly, they bring nothing to the table in regards to brain stimulation. They simple are. Truthfully, I consider my three bullet rating pretty high for this type of issue, and that's simply because I like DC's characters more than Marvels.

However, there is a shining point to this issue, warranting it a higher score than simply containing my favorite fictional characters. That would be Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes' handling of Flash. I love Wally West. He is one of my all-time favorite characters. So in this single issue we get a well written and drawn version of Wally which is awesome for a fan like me.

Let me start with the writing. Back in issue #20 of JLofA, McDuffie did a spotlight issue on the Flash teaming up with Wonder Woman to take down the Killer Bee. While the plot disappointed, the Flash's voice in that comic was spot on. He was funny and entertaining, all the while getting the job done. Well, that streak continues here in issue #23 with McDuffie providing some great monologue narrations for the Flash as he deals with the Amazo threat. He shows that while the Flash can be the joker of the league (though his kids have toned him down in recent years), he still uses his brain to assess situations and deal with them accordingly when it's time to buckle down and be serious.

Then there is Ed Benes' handling of the Flash in his art. His Flash looks awesome. It's really that simple. While Benes loves to draw muscles pulsating out from under spandex, he handles the Flash's streak lines excellently. Throughout this issue the Flash is in constant motion, searching for a solution to the intruder, and it's cool to see Benes effectively draw that, making every panel the Flash appears covered in gold and red streaks.

So there you have it. Justice League of America #23 is exactly what the cover depicts: a big fight. I know a lot of comic readers look for this for their weekly fix, so JLofA might be a 5 Bullet comic to them. However--and I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here--it was just boring to me. Let's hope that McDuffie delivers a more emotional, grounded chapter to this story next month for people looking for some substance to their Justice League.

Oh, one last thing, kudos to McDuffie for making a jab at the "Brand New Day" of Amazing Spider-Man with Zatanna's line about "magic." Whether that was intended or not, I got a good laugh out of it.



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