Justice League of America #3 Review

Justice League of America has been a big hit with The Revolution. Meltzer and Benes are an excellent team and both men are doing a great job on this title. I like the classic JLA feel that Meltzer brings to the title. There is no doubt that I’m going to enjoy Justice League of America #3. Let’s hit the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Penciller: 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 Black Lightning squaring off against Dr. Impossible and Trident. The two villains have frozen Parasite and are here to take him with them. Black Lightning manages to take out Trident.

We then cut to Red Tornado at Boston Brand’s grave. Red Tornado asks why Brand would have done this to him. The Phantom Stranger then appears and tells Red Tornado that it wasn’t Boston Brand who did this to Red Tornado. The Phantom Stranger says that tampering with Red Tornado was tampering with the balance of immortality. Of the Thirteen. The Phantom Strange tells Red Tornado that he can’t tell him who did this. That he can only steer. The Phantom Stranger tells Red Tornado to find his body and there he will find other like him. (Seriously, is there anyone more powerful and yet so totally useless than the Phantom Stranger?)

We then cut right to the “others” like Red Tornado. We see Black Canary, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan flavor) and Arsenal battling Yellow, Blue, Red, Green and Black Tornados. Each color has a different power. Blue does wind. Green does lightning. Yellow does the sun blasts. The Black are super strong. Black Canary says that Red Tornado has a fail-safe in his neck. That these copies don’t have their fail-safe in the neck, so they need to find out where it is. With that, Black Canary takes one of Arsenal’s arrows and proceeds to stab one Yellow Tornado all over his body searching for the fail-safe. She finally finds it in the heel. Hal’s power ring confirms it by detecting the fail safe in the heel of all the robots. Hal then does some “ring slinging” and takes down all of the Tornado robots by blasting out their heels.

We shift to the Batcave, where Batman returns to the table and asks Superman and Wonder Woman if they voted him in or not. Wonder Woman responds that she will say on if Batman tells her how he and Clark voted on her. The three sit in silence and then proceed to vote on the next candidate: Black Lightning.

We then cut to Black Lightning brawling with Dr. Impossible. Dr. Impossible beats down Black Lightning and leaves with the frozen Parasite. Hawkgirl appears on the scene. Hawkgirl notices that Dr. Impossible left behind Trident. Hawkgirl notices something on Trident’s neck and asks Black Lightning if he recognizes it.

We shift to Dr. Impossible back at Dr. Ivo’s lab. Ivo has Dr. Impossible break off one of Parasites’ forearms and then grinds it up and pours it into the Red Tornado body. There is a dark shadowy figure next to Ivo that asks Ivo if the Red Tornado body will fit him. Ivo says thanks to Ralph Dibny’s creation, the Red Tornado armor will expand as necessary. That the Red Tornado body is almost done repairing itself and just a few more memory files need to be deleted. Then the shadowy figure gets what he wants and Ivo gets to die.

We cut to Hub City where we see Vixen crawl out of the wreckage of the blown up building. She is ready to track down her stolen totem.

We shift to the Batcave, where the big three vote on inviting Cyborg to join. Suddenly, Black Lighting and Hawkgirl appear in the Batcave along with Trident. Black Lightning apologizes for using the pass code so soon, but that this is an absolute emergency. Black Lightning shows the big three the back of Trident’s neck where we see a small Starro attached to him. End of issue.

The Good: Justice League of America #3 was another excellent issue. This issue was nicely paced. This issue was well structured and had perfect segues between the various scenes which gave this issue a nice seamless flow. Meltzer delivers a technically well constructed story. Most writers fail to think about how each scene transitions into the next one and the result is a story that is rather jarring in its flow due to the clumsy transitions.

The dialogue is also nicely crafted. Meltzer has such a good feel for the various characters and is able to create a unique voice for each character. Meltzer’s excellent dialogue also leads to some good chemistry between the characters. Yet, the chemistry between the big three is the best. I like how Meltzer has established that these three characters clearly have the mutual respect for each other. And that despite their differences, they do care for each other.

However, Meltzer has balanced the mutual respect and love for each other with a feeling of awkwardness that envelops this meeting where they are trying to pick up the pieces and move past their differences from the events leading up to Infinite Crisis. I’m glad that the big three are no longer feuding, but to think that they could just move as if nothing at all happened is just not realistic. Meltzer astutely realizes this and shows us that all is still not totally peaches and cream between the big three and that it may never be again.

I just dig Meltzer’s style. He is able to effortlessly pull the reader into the story from the very start. Meltzer is also able to deliver a textured story that is emotionally charged. Meltzer gets the reader to feel the different emotions of the various characters. The characters themselves are so well developed that the reader finds all of them engaging in their own way.

I am surprised that I actually like all the characters that Meltzer has chosen to use in this new JLA. I knew that I’d like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Red Tornado and Hal Jordan. However, I wasn’t so sure about Black Canary, Black Lightning, Vixen or Arsenal.

First, Black Canary is a character that I have just never been able to get into. But, my opinion has quickly changed. I like how Meltzer is writing her character. Her decisive action to attack the Yellow Tornado with an arrow and then the brutal fashion that she conducts her search for the fail-safe was great. I think it is important that Black Canary be shown to be more than a hottie in fish-nets who can scream real loud.

Black Lightning is a character that I just have never had much exposure to. I know I read a couple of his comics from back in the 1970’s when I was a little kid. That is about it. Plus, I have a hard time getting into a character with a name as stupid as “Black Lightning.” But, I have to say that I absolutely love this character. Meltzer is delivering a great Black Lighting. I dig his demeanor and personality. He is a smart and cool customer. And his powers are pretty wicked. I thought him using his lightning to create a shield to disintegrate Dr. Impossible throwing disc was creative. I’m officially a big fan of Black Lightning. Now, if he would only get a better codename.

Vixen is a character that I have always viewed as seriously lame. I hated the Detroit League, so Vixen is a character that I wasn’t really thrilled to see appear in this new JLA. But, I have to admit that Meltzer is getting me to like this character. Vixen’s attitude and personality is rather intriguing. Plus, Benes draws a smoking hot Vixen, so I don’t mind her on this title.

Last is Arsenal. To me, he has always been a poor man’s Green Arrow. At first, I wanted Meltzer to just use Ollie instead of Arsenal. However, I know see why Meltzer chose Arsenal over Green Arrow. Arsenal is the lens that Meltzer can use to show how the second and third tier heroes view these icons like the big three and Hal Jordan. Arsenal gives us a totally fresh viewpoint to these established A-list heroes.

I’m glad that Meltzer wrapped up the voting on members with this issue. I like that Meltzer took his time with the selection of the new JLA since it is clearly a monumental occasion for the big three to decide that the JLA needed to live once again. Having said, it was certainly time to move on and get the voting done with. I also dig the unconventional approach of not revealing the line-up of the team in the first or second issue. Here it is the end of the third issue, and we still aren’t sure of the final line-up.

Meltzer also continues to crank up the mystery concerning Red Tornado’s body. Just who is the large shadowy figure who is to inhabit the Red Tornado body? I liked the touch of using Ralph Dibny’s elastic creation to allow the Red Tornado body to expand to fit the mysterious character.

The fight scene with all of the various Tornados was well done. It was great to see Hal Jordan doing some serious “ring slinging” and taking out all of the androids.

But, the absolute best part of this issue was the ending! Talk about dropping a massive bomb on the reader! What better villain for the re-start of the JLA than THE most classic JLA villain of all time: Starro! I totally geeked out when I saw Starro at the end. I cannot wait for the next issue. Meltzer definitely has my attention and it should be a blast seeing where he goes from here.

Ed Benes artwork is flat out gorgeous. I love his style and he draws a wonderfully attractive and dynamic comic book. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he flat out draws some of the hottest super heroines that you will ever see.

The Bad: No complaints at all.

Overall: Justice League of America #3 is a great read. I love the team of Meltzer and Benes. They are both doing a wonderful job on this title. Meltzer has created a solid foundation for what should be a very exciting story arc. This title is definitely worth your hard earned money.


  1. I personally loved the part where Batman asked if he was voted in. Thats my BAtman, always in the know about everything. It was nice that wonderwoman caught on too. I like my heros smart.

    On another note. Red Torando, black lightening, green arrow, black canneray, green latern and blue beteal, I know coimics should have a rainbow of diversity, but come on…..

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