Robert Venditti took over Justice League after Scott Snyder’s memorable run and has not missed a beat. Venditti’s work on Justice League just further proves how he is one of the best writers DC Comics has right now. What’s worked especially well with his run thus far is the big event level feel Venditti has continued to bring to this series that Snyder established. First it was with the war with Eradicator and his new Daximites. Now things look to be getting even more intense as the Justice League go up against Spectre. What does Spectre’s sudden appearance mean for the DC Universe? Let’s find out with Justice League #45.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Eber Ferreira
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Sometime ago the Amazons close and hide the gate after a certain someone volunteered to be banished to Tartarus. One of the Amazons wonders why that person would volunteer to be locked in Tartarus. Queen Hippolyta admits she is not 100% sure but he did take his punishment for stepping on Thermyscira without complaint.
In the present the Justice League fight each other as Spectre watches on. First Batman and Superman go back and forth with the anger over Clark Kent revealing his secret fueling their fight. When Batman hits Superman with punch with a powerful electric charge Superman suddenly regains control of what he is doing. Spectre sees this and gets control of the Man of Steel’s emotions again.
Nearby Green Lantern and Flash are going back-and-forth about each other’s attitudes. When Green Lantern is able to cause Flash to lose balance Barry Allen wonders why he is angry. Spectre once again has Flash’s emotions control him again.
Nearby Aquaman and Wonder Woman are fighting with Aquaman complaining about how everyone keeps questioning him and he is tired of it. Wonder Woman reminds Aquaman of all the problems he has with commitment as she smashes him with her shield. Aquaman also regains control but quickly loses it back to Spectre and continues to fight with Wonder Woman.
As that happens Green Lantern begins to fight Batman and Superman clashes with Flash. The clash between Aquaman and Wonder Woman ends up causes an tidal wave and lightning to strike the ground.
The Justice League all regain control of themselves. Superman tries to apologize to Batman. Batman just walks past Superman and straight to Spectre, demanding to know where Jim Corrigan. When Spectre does not answer Batman fills in the rest of the Justice League about Jim Corrigan relationship with Spectre. Batman states that Spectre seems to be unfocused, something he has never seen.
The Justice League suddenly start feeling intense anger coming to the surface of each of their emotions. Thinking quickly, Wonder Woman has her teammates each grab her Lasso of Truth and then ties it around Spectre to figure out the truth of what is going on.
This causes Spectre to release a large amount of energy to show the Justice League what is really going on.
Sometime ago Jim Corrigan confronts the Voice that made him into Spectre and tells them he is done being their Spectre. He then tells them if they want to hand out their divine justice to do it themselves. The spirits are not happy and promise to show Corrigan what happens when he defies them.
In the present Spectre shows the Justice League visions of the world being destroyed as bombs are dropped on cities and the Earth being turned into a planet of lava. After showing the Justice League that vision Spectre leaves them to decide to do whatever they want with what he showed them
The Justice League are wondering if what they saw was a prophecy. Batman says it looks like what is going to happen is a consequence of Corrigan trying to quit being the God of Vengeance. Realizing that earlier they were all acting as a conduit Spectre was using to relieve pressure they all believe Earth will not be able to handle it when the God of Vengeance full power is released.
Wonder Woman takes the Justice League to Thermyscira as she believes they can find answers to the problem they are facing there. As they walk through Thermyscira Wonder Woman warns her teammates they must be quick as the Amazons will kill them all if spotted.
As soon as Wonder Woman makes that warning the Justice League are surrounded by the Amazons. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #45 is a no-nonsense comic book. There is little time wasted in this issue. Even when the Justice League fight each other there is a purpose to it that both advances the plot of this story and adds depth to their character relationships beyond this series.
The pacing is really key to Justice League #45’s story. Robert Venditti keeps the story moving even when we see the Justice League start fighting each other in what could be said as dream match-ups. As much fun as it is to see how each member of the Justice League would do against each other Venditti makes sure that is not the purpose of the fight. Everything that is done in this fight is fuel towards putting over how dangerous of a threat an unhinged Spectre is to the DC Universe. This builds on Justice League #44 showing that with the use of Greek mythological creatures.
The thing that differentiated this showing of Spectre’s unhinged powers was how personal things got. Venditti does an excellent job it is getting the reader to understand that these are all real emotions that Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman held inside them. Not having any control of their emotions meant that these buried problems rose to the top. In the process Venditti is able to use the current status quo of each character to give an added layer of depth. It also further establishes how Justice League is one of the connective tissues between these characters.
Not spending more than two pages on each fight helped keep the momentum moving forward. You understood were each character was coming from without getting too much time to think about it. We quickly went from all the fighting to the truth of what is going on with Spectre without missing a beat. Using the Lasso of Truth to get to the heart of what this “Cold War” storyline is about was a good way to get the story back on track with its connection to Tartarus.
Seeing how Jim Corrigan is completely done with being Spectre and what the Voice did to show that his time as the God of Vengeance is far from over was great character development. You understand how Corrigan would be done with doing someone else’s bidding as the God of Vengeance. He has clearly started losing sight of what justice means to him and wants to stop being Spectre so he does not lose himself completely. The Voice not putting up with that was also a great way to establish this version of Spectre we are seeing in the present as a villain. The power that Spectre showed made the sense of urgency for the Justice League to stop him to be incredibly high.
It’ll be interesting to see how Venditti has the Amazon’s play into this story with Spectre. There is a direct tie made between the Amazons and Tartarus that works well with how Greek Mythology has been established in the DC Universe. Creating the question about if the Amazons are even going to help given their own sense of duty to protect the gate to Tartarus will be interesting to see play out. Especially with the sub-plot of a mysterious person being imprisoned in Tartarus a long time ago, as shown in Justice League #45’s opening page.
Eddy Barrows delivered the high-level artwork that you expect to see in this series with his work on Justice League #45. Barrows was able to show off each Justice League member’s power and what makes them each tough individuals. At the same time, Barrows was able to also establish how each Justice League member were not fighting each other at their full power since Spectre only had a certain level of control of each of them. That all led in well with how Barrows showed off Spectre’s powers to portray him as a big event-level antagonist.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Justice League #45 does a great job building the intrigue around this “Cold War” storyline. The fighting between the Justice League members worked in well with how this issue spotlighted the problem around Spectre’s sudden appearance. With this and how the issue ended, Justice League #45 did its job building hype for how things will turn out moving forward.
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