Justice League of America #20 Review

Justice League of America has lost much of its luster as DC has reduced it mainly as a platform to shill for storylines to be delivered in other titles. It appears that Justice League of America #20 is going to be a pure filler issue as we get a one and done story featuring Flash and Wonder Woman. I don’t really expect much from this issue. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with the Flash streaking onto the scene of a huge fire. Flash pulls everyone from the scene of the fire. Wonder Woman then arrives on the scene to lend a helping hand. Flash then quickly employs a technique that was explained to him by Barry Allen in order to put out the fire.

Wonder Woman then asks the Flash if they could go somewhere to talk in private. Wonder Woman tells Flash that she was sent by the rest of the JLA’ers because they are concerned about his level of commitment to the JLA. That the Flash has ignored the past few emergency calls and has been pawning off all of his monitor duties to other JLA members. Flash tries to explain that he now has a wife and kids, but then agrees with Wonder Woman that he has been shirking his duties to the JLA.

Black Lightning then radios Wonder Woman to tell her that he has busted a cell of HIVE members and has learned of an attack on a STAR Labs facility in Tulsa Oklahoma. The Flash says that he can be there in a second.

We cut to Wonder Woman and Flash arriving outside of the STAR Labs facility. Wonder Woman mentions that Queen Bee is probably looking to steal the Matter Transmitter in order to provide transportation to Earth for her extraterrestrial army. Flash takes a lightning fast recon in a second and fills Wonder Woman in on the number of HIVE soldiers and where they are positioned.

Wonder Woman tells Flash to clear out the lab of all the STAR Lab employees while Wonder Woman takes care of the transports trying to ship the Matter Transmitter apparatus out of there in several tractor trailer trucks.

Flash quickly clears all of the lab workers out of the facility. We see Wonder Woman brawling with the HIVE soldiers loading up the trucks. Flash and Wonder Woman work their way through the HIVE soldiers and finally come face-to-face with Queen Bee.

Queen Bee uses her soldiers to delay Flash and Wonder Woman while Queen Bee uses the Matter Transmitter to teleport away from the scene.

The Flash checks the Matter Transmitter to see where Queen Bee was teleported to. The location was in Beverly Hills, California. Flash races off and arrives at the exact location in Beverly Hills just after Queen Bee teleported to the location. Flash disarms Queen Bee before she even knew he was there. The Flash then drops the Queen Bee off at prison and then races back to the Star Labs to help Wonder Woman clean up scene of the attack.

Wonder Woman and Flash then continue their conversation that they were having before Black Lightning interrupted them. Wonder Woman tells Flash that she isn’t here to lecture him. That she is here to deliver an entreaty. Wonder Woman says that the JLA needs the Flash and for him to please make some time for him.

The Flash promises to make time for the JLA. Flash then races home and tucks his kids into bed. Then thinks that tonight he will go to the Hall of Justice for monitor duty. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Justice League of America #20 was pure filler. However, I can still easily satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity thanks to Ethan Van Sciver’s excellent artwork. I am a huge fan of Van Sciver’s art and I found this issue to be wonderfully drawn. Van Sciver always delivers a pretty comic book. Obviously, Van Sciver’s Wonder Woman is pretty, but my favorite part of his art in this issue was how he drew the Flash. Van Sciver knows exactly how the Scarlet Speedster should be drawn.

The Bad: Justice League of America #20 was a lot like a really hot bimbo. Very pretty to look at, but completely vacuous and shallow inside. McDuffie totally phones it in with this issue by giving us such a generic super hero story. Justice League of America had a paint-by-numbers feel to it. This issue read like an episode of the old Super Friends cartoon.

Justice League of America #20 was pure fluff. This was a complete and total waste of an issue. McDuffie delivers a rather flat and shallow story. The plotline was unoriginal and the villainess and her “dastardly plan” were completely uninteresting. The dialogue was average. The character work was about on the same level as what you would get with a Saturday morning cartoon.

Now, I don’t mind if a team title decides to run a spotlight issue on one or two characters. That is perfectly fine with me. But, here is a little suggestion for McDuffie. If you are going to run a spotlight issue then use a character or two who don’t already have their own monthly titles. Try using Black Lightning or Red Tornado next time.

Overall: This just might be one of my shortest reviews ever. The fact is that I don’t have much to say because Justice League of America #20 is such an anemic read that there really isn’t much to comment on. After I finished reading this issue I felt like DC had just robbed me of $2.99.

It is incredible how far this title has fallen. The Justice League of America should be DC’s premier super team and one of their flagship titles. However, this title is nothing more than your typical unoriginal super hero themed comic book. DC needs to address this problem immediately. McDuffie is a solid journeyman writer, but he isn’t the guy to lead a flagship title. DC needs to make a move at the writer position and do something in order to get Justice League of America back on track.

I certainly would not recommend Justice League of America #20 to anyone other than the most die-hard JLA, Flash or Wonder Woman fans. Outside of those three groups of fans, I don’t see this issue really appealing to anyone else. There are so many other well crafted titles on the market much more deserving of your hard earned cash than the Justice League of America.

7 Comments

  1. wow…yours is the only negative review of this issue I read. I thought McDuffie did a great job on the Scarlet Speedser, in fact this is a better Flash story than the one over on his own title.

  2. I don’t think this was a great Flash solo story, but a great JLA story. It deals with what happens when one person does not pull there weight. We didn’t need to actually see Batman or Superman in this issue to know what there personalities are like and what they think of wally. Sending Wonder Woman was a great way to show the way the JLA works and they dynamics of the group. Diana has always been the diplomatic one. It was a great issue, a simple issue that dealt with the value of belonging to a team, and how a character such as the Flash is an intergal member. Again, a great JLA story which explores the group dynamics.

  3. There is something distinctly unwholesome about the cover. The longer I look at it, the more vulgar it seems. Then again, it could just be me.

  4. Hmm. As a reader of JLA Classified, which has just been given the chop (pity – I kinda liked it), I was thinking of moving over to Justice League of America, but frankly I may just give it a miss. I generally agree with your comments so I’ll take your word on this one! Any other titles you feel would fill the hole?

  5. While I was reading it, I thought it was the best issue of “The Flash” since Wally’s return. Then I flipped to the cover and realized I was reading “Justice League of America”. While I had some issues with Meltzer’s run, he at least produced “big” stories. Even his spotlight issue on Red Arrow & Vixen worked – Rokk’s right – if you are going to do a spotlight issue, use characters that don’t have their own monthlies.

  6. So there’s a STAR Lab facility in Tulsa? Please tell me they didn’t draw farmers and tumbleweed around it. The yokels in “THOR” were only a little embarrassing, but I can’t take much more….

  7. Wow, I normally agree with your reviews, but sadly I can’t say that’s the case with this one. I thought it was a great fun little story with a lot of character depth. It doesn’t have to be a “nothing will ever be the same” kinda story to be a good entertaining one, imo. The villian didn’t matter, it was about Wally and Diana and their place in the JLA. Different strokes, I guess.

    Love your blog, anyway.

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