Justice League of America #6 Review

The Revolution has enjoyed Meltzer’s Justice League of America. Meltzer and Benes are an excellent team and are delivering one nicely done read. Justice League of America #6 is the conclusion to what has been a pretty wild initial story arc. I’m confident that Meltzer will deliver a solid ending. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Penciler: Ed Benes
Inker: Sandra Hope

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We start with Solomon Grundy hammering away on Red Tornado. Grundy keeps reminding Tornado that he is nothing more than a robot and isn’t allowed to have a family.

We then cut to Vixen flying through the air searching for the totem. Vixen suddenly detects the totem’s location and flies of in that direction.

We then shift to Markovia where we see Geo-Force having no idea why he is wearing his old costume. Geo-Force’s butler says that they can get him his prescription ordered quickly. Geo-Force is shocked, but says that they must get the jet ready and fly to Gotham.

We cut to outside of Kathy Sutton’s house where the Justice Leaguers are brawling with Amazo. Red Arrow narrates the scene and comments on how incredible the JLA’ers are individually, but more importantly as a team. That they move as one as they work in concert to take down Amazo.

We shift back to Grundy and Red Tornado beating the crap out of Red Tornado. Grundy says that they didn’t give Tornado a human body to give him humanity. They did it simply so they could finally kill him.

Red Tornado tries to use his powers to fight back, but his powers fade away on him. Grundy tells Red Tornado that the sound in his ears is a death rattle. That Tornado is dying.

Red Tornado reaches for the glove of one of the Red Tornado robots that were destroyed a couple of issues ago. Reddy puts on the glove and then charges Grundy.

We shift to Amazo breaking free from the JLA’ers and suddenly, Hawkgirl arrives on the scene and smashes Amazo in the head with her mace. Unfortunately, the powers of Elongated Man allow Amazo to shake off the attack. Amazo keeps saying that he is John Smith and that the JLA’ers are his friends.

Batman then orders Red Arrow to hit Vixen’s totem on Amazo’s back. That the totem is how Amazo is processing his powers. Red Arrow hit the totem with an arrow. Amazo screams in agony.

We cut to Vixen also feeling the pain of the totem. Vixen then dives with the speed of a peregrine falcon. She then switches to Triceratops at the last moment and tears a massive hole through Amazo’s chest. Vixen rolls to the ground with the totem in her hands.

Without the totem, Amazo cannot control his powers. Amazo begins to overload. Kathy then rushes over to the portal that leads to Red Tornado and Grundy. Unfortunately, the portal cannot be breached so all Kathy can do is watch helplessly as Grundy pounds away on Red Tornado.

We see Red Tornado use the glove from one of the destroyed robots to blast Grundy with lightning. Tornado thinks how the one problem with Grundy coming back smart is that he is now terrified of dying again. And that is Grundy’s one weak spot. Grundy will do anything to not die again.

Grundy shakes off the lightning blast and charges Red Tornado. Grundy grabs Tornado’s hand that is wearing the glove and rips Tornado’s hand off his arm. (Damn!) Grundy then proceeds to eat Red Tornado’s bloody hand. (Double damn!) Grundy then head butts Red Tornado in the face. During all of this Kathy is crying and begging for Red Tornado’s life.

Red Tornado is overwhelmed by the pain. Red Tornado realizes that he is going to die, but that he isn’t going to die alone. Even though Grundy says that Tornado’s powers are gone, Reddy refuse to believe it. Red Tornado fires up is one good hand. Grundy barrels straight for Tornado.

Red Tornado cranks up the winds to 200 mile per hour and a piece of shrapnel impales Grundy through his chest and to the wall. Grundy laughs and says that he has no heart and then pulls himself free from the wall.

Grundy walks toward Reddy. Red Tornado fires up his powers once more. Red Tornado thinks how he has to fight through the pain and not pass out. That he wasn’t a member of the JLA because he was a robot. He was a member of the JLA because of the man underneath.

Reddy kicks up the winds to 250 mph. Grundy just digs his footing in deeper and keeps coming toward Red Tornado. Tornado kicks the winds up to 315 mph. Grundy responds that he is an immovable object and that Red Tornado cannot move him.

Red Tornado increases to wind to 350 mph which is enough to snap trees in half. We see Ivo screaming that he was the one who was supposed to die. Kathy watches everything with tears streaming down her face. Red Tornado thinks how this is a story about history and destiny. About love, passion and friendship. About a coming-of-age. This is the story of Red Tornado’s life and his death. But this isn’t the story of his defeat.

We then see Red Tornado’s wind literally snap Grundy in half. Superman and Green Lantern finally get the portal open and Kathy steps through and runs to Red Tornado’s side. Reddy is a broken and bloodied mess. Tornado tells Kathy that they have to put him back in his old body. That if they don’t he is going to die.

Tornado then passes out. Reddy thinks how everything they gained is now lost. That the worst part is that he tasted it. He felt it. Even if it was never meant to work, for those few precious days he was truly alive.

We see Zatanna and Phantom Stranger on the scene. They mention that Magnus wants the Amazo chip. Zatanna then transfers Red Tornado back into his original robot body.

We shift to Red Tornado waking up with Kathy by his side. Reddy thinks that now for the rest of his life he will know what he missed. That even though he has synthetic skin that his hands feel gun metal cold. Kathy puts his hand to her face and tells him that there is nothing to be sad about. That Reddy is back where he belongs. End of issue.

The Good: Nice. Justice League of America #6 was a fantastic issue. Meltzer turned in one intense and emotional ending to this initial story arc. This was a well paced and plotted issue. Meltzer did a nice job creating plenty of tension and anxiousness in the reader by splicing the fight scene with Amazo on the same pages as the fight scene with Red Tornado and Grundy.

Meltzer delivered some incredible inner narration by Red Tornado. It was powerful, poetic and rather touching. Red Tornado’s realization that despite his robot body, all that every mattered was the man underneath. The reader got an excellent sense of Red Tornado’s desperate desire to be alive. To be human. To be a man.

That in midst of all the pain and anguish of the fight and facing death, Red Tornado realized that he is a man no matter in a human body or a robot body. That he has genuine emotions and feeling of love, friendship and passion. That he has lived a good life and that this final battle is a honorable end to his life.

Meltzer did a wonderful job fleshing out Red Tornado’s character via this narration. The reader got a unique and in depth look into Red Tornado’s soul that we have not gotten before. This initial story arc has been an impressive character study of Red Tornado. I have always liked Reddy, but never thought that any writers ever bothered to really perform much character development with him. He was just that robot character who you could blow apart and kill in numerous ways because he would always reassemble and come back to life.

Meltzer has put his stamp on Red Tornado’s character and has given us a wonderfully developed, complex and intriguing character. I’m glad to see Reddy finally get the spotlight and some quality character development. This story arc is going to have a lasting impact on Red Tornado’s character and how he views himself and the people around him.

Now, if Meltzer had decided to kill off Red Tornado at the very end by not giving us the final two pages where Zatanna transports his soul back into his robot body, then I would have been perfectly content with that. Why? Because this was going out in style. I have commented on what is a good hero’s death with regard to Ralph Dibny’s death and Captain America’s death. I found both of those deaths to be without much point or purpose. And I definitely think Captain America went out like a bitch.

However, if Reddy had died at the very end I would have been impressed with this death. This would have been a ballsy hero’s death. Fighting through intense pain, having lost one hand and supposedly having his powers de-activated and coming to terms with who he is all while taking on a villain of immense power like Grundy. And then snapping Grundy in half killing him. It was emotional and intense. That is how a hero should die. But, I’m thrilled that Meltzer didn’t kill Reddy, because he is a great character and I would have really missed him.

Meltzer also created excellent chemistry between the JLA’ers in their fight with Amazo. I love how Meltzer demonstrated how despite not being together for a long time, that the Leaguers still moved as if with one mind. That there was no need for communication. They knew exactly what to do.

I also dig that Meltzer used the perspective of Red Arrow in order to describe this scene and the JLA’ers incredible team work. This was an effective literary tool to impress upon the reader how amazing the JLA members are and their unique relationship with each other. There is a reason why the JLA is the premier super team in the DC Universe.

I have to say that I actually felt bad for Amazo. Meltzer did a good job transforming Amazo from your typical one-dimensional and insanely powerful monster villain into a sympathetic creature like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster. I liked that Amazo kept question why his JLA friends would attack him. And that he was John Smith. A man. Amazo is a sad product of science engineered by evil men. This Amazo was a bit more complex and interesting.

I absolutely loved Meltzer’s version of Solomon Grundy. I have never really liked Grundy’s character. He has always been nothing more than a boring and one-dimensional Superman level villain. Yeah, he can cause plenty of destruction and take on a bunch of heroes at one time, but he has never really engaged my interest.

Meltzer definitely remedied that by giving us a deliciously evil and multifaceted Grundy. You can just feel the oily evilness of Grundy dripping off of every word he said. This Grundy was such a snake-ish villain. I also liked Grundy’s desperate desire to remain alive.

Meltzer did an excellent job contrasting Grundy’s fear of death as his one weakness with Red Tornado’s acceptance of death as his one strength. Reddy didn’t want to die by he was at peace with himself and was not in fear of death. This resolve to face death with courage allowed Reddy to fire up his powers even when they were supposed to have been gone.

Meltzer also did a good job continuing to set up for next story arc. It appears that the next big story arc is going to involve Geo-Force and some rather bizarre happenings around him. I have always liked Geo-Force’s character so I’m definitely looking forward to this upcoming story arc.

Ed Benes art was as excellent as always. I dig Benes’s style and think he delivers one dynamic and pleasing looking comic book. I liked the different points of view that Benes drew. Having the ending of the comic through Red Tornado’s eyes was perfect. The finale of the fight scene between Tornado and Grundy was powerful.

Now this isn’t a positive or a negative, so much as an observation. What the hell is with the insane amount of gore lately in the DC Universe? You have the blood fest over in the Justice Society of America. You have the gore fest over in 52. Now, here on the Justice League of America, you get to see Grundy rip off Tornado’s hand. But, that isn’t enough. Then Grundy eats the hand!

Is it just me or has DC decided that they really needed to crank up the level of the blood and violence on their titles? And all this after DC said that with the end of Infinite Crisis they wanted to deliver a more positive and brighter DC Universe.

Hey, I don’t mind blood and violence. But, it seems strange that after DC’s statements at the end of Infinite Crisis that they would go in this direction with the blood and guts. Also, at some point, the level of gore can be a bit too much and the reader will become desensitized to all of the violence. And when that happens, the stories begin to lose some of their impact on the reader.

The Bad: No complaints with this issue.

Overall: Justice League of America #6 was another great read. Meltzer and Benes are doing a wonderful job on this title. Justice League of America is certainly one of DC’s more consistent and better reads. Meltzer and Benes have returned the luster to one of DC’s flagship titles. It is great to see the JLA back and better than ever.