The Justice League is stronger when they're united, but as this latest issue shows, they are even more compelling when they're falling apart.
Slight spoilers incoming for Justice League #36, so if you haven't read the issue yet you've been warned.
The Justice League has seen better days, but no one has been kicked around quite as much as Batman these last few issues. The Dark Knight seems to be struggling to keep a handle on the team's priorities, and seeing him so lost and frayed is a bit refreshing, especially when in the presence of Nightwing.
Priest explores the problem with Bruce's mission at times in that same conversation, with Grayson hitting the nail pretty much on the head:
"Never realized it when I was "Robin", your kid sidekick. I want to help people. You want to fix something that can't be fixed."
Justice League's narrative is also tethered to real-world politics, but not in an overtly preachy way. It's a tried and true tale of the human race feeling inferior to these masked heroes, but here it feels more believable since the argument is internal as well as external.
Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and even Superman are all at odds with how to deal with Batman, and that is expressed perfectly by the art of Pete Woods. Several scenes need no dialogue whatsoever to convey the tension between the team, though one scene under the water takes the crown in that regard.
While the expression work is stellar, the action scenes are just as grand. Aquaman charging with whales at his side feels notably epic, as it should, and there's a sense of adventure in between the team dysfunction that keeps the story from getting bogged down.
As a side note, can we all celebrate Jessica Cruz for the following exchange:
"Bruce: Status report.
Jessica Cruz: We suck. End of report."
Well said, Jessica. Well said.
The last few issues of Justice League have been some of the best since Rebirth launched, and while the copycat narrative is interesting on its own, the dynamics and dysfunction between the heroes is what makes this book so hard to put down.
If you've been waiting to give Justice League a go, your wait is over.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.
Justice League #36 is written by Christopher Priest with art by Pete Woods.
“JUSTICE LOST part three! Footage of a major Justice League failure ends up on an extremist website, going viral across social media and prompting a Congressional investigation of the team. As public debate explodes over America’s trust in the Justice League, the team faces a crisis of confidence in Batman and his methods, which ultimately highlights fractures within the team over civil rights and methodology."
Justice League #36 is in stores now.