The Justice League has moved from one crisis to another as Jim Corrigan has rejected his role as Spectre. Through that rejection, Jim Corrigan has allowed the spirits that gave him the Spectre powers to run wild in the DC Universe. That is a major problem for the Justice League as Spectre is one of the most powerful characters in the DCU and not having someone to control those powers is not a good thing. With this crisis Wonder Woman has led the Justice League to Themyscira. Though while Wonder Woman still calls Themyscira home that does not mean the Justice League is welcomed. What will happen when the Amazons find that the entire Justice League team is on their home island? Let’s find out with Justice League #46.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artists: Xermanico and Robson Rocha
Inker: Xermanico, Daniel Herniques, and Robson Rocha
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On Themyscira Wonder Woman tries to convince her sisters to let her and the Justice League entrance to Tartarus. The Amazons deny the request and mention another male trying to gain entrance to Tartarus recently. Batman says they are aware it was Jim Corrigan, who was the human host for Spectre, but now that Corrigan is absent Spectre is running wild on the world unchecked.
Queen Hippolyta shows up and says Wonder Woman broke their most sacred law. The Justice League continue trying to convince Queen Hippolyta and the Amazons to let them enter Tartarus.
Suddenly, green smoke appears nearby. The next thing the Justice League knows all of the Amazons, including Queen Hippolyta, have been taken over by Spectre’s spirit of vengeance. While under Spectre’s influence Queen Hippolyta orders the Justice League to be killed.
Green Lantern John Stewart quickly creates shields around his teammates to give them an opportunity for them to stand with their backs to each other. They then work together to open up some space so that they can properly use their powers to fight against the Amazons.
Once an opening is created Wonder Woman leads the Justice League to Tartarus entrance while fighting off any Amazon that tries to stop them.
When they are finally able to get to an area where they are alone the Justice League notice that the Amazons have suddenly gathered at a certain spot. They then notice that the Amazons are turning on each other, including Queen Hippolyta.
Green Lantern tells his teammates to head to Tartarus. Wonder Woman doesn’t want to leave her sisters behind to kill each other. Green Lantern assures Wonder Woman and the others he has a plan to stop the Amazons.
Green Lantern goes back to where the Amazons are. He then uses his ring to create the Green Lantern Corps.
Inside the cavern in Mount Tartarus Wonder Woman is shocked when they find her sisters who were charged with watching over the gate have killed each other due to Spectre’s influence. Using her anger Wonder Woman alone is able to lift and throw the large boulder blocking the entrance to Tartarus.
As they walk in Wonder Woman reveals her knowledge of Tartarus ends with the gate and that they should not leave it open for too long. Wonder Woman then tells Flash to scout ahead. Flash runs off and runs back to let the team know he found someone.
That someone turns out to Jim Corrigan. Jim Corrigan reveals to him he has been in Tartarus for twenty years even though Batman just saw him the other day. Wonder Woman tells Jim Corrigan he can explain everything else after they leave Tartarus. Jim Corrigan says that everything was a mistake he did not realize before.
Suddenly Tartarus, the first God of Hell, appears and proclaims that he will finally be free to leave now that the gate has been open. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #46 did what it needed to do to progress the “Cold War” storyline. There was very little time wasted as the focus was on how urgent the current situation with the rampaging Spectre is. Though keeping the focus on the Justice League does limit the reach of the crisis that the team is dealing with.
Much like previous issues in his run, Robert Venditti shows he knows how to write every member of the Justice League as individuals and teammates. Venditti understands the chemistry between each character. That chemistry comes with years of working together. You see that with how all the members of the Justice League are all business while on Themyscira. They don’t talk over each other and trust the decisions they each make.
That trust is shown throughout Justice League #46. John Stewart staying behind to deal with the Spectre controlled Amazons is a great example of that. There was no arguing from any of the Justice League members even though Wonder Woman could’ve said she would help try to calm her sisters. All of the Justice League members trusted John to be able to use his Green Lantern powers to at least buy them the time they need and keep Queen Hippolyta and the Amazons from killing each other.
We also see that with how Wonder Woman takes charge as the leader in this mission as well. The Justice League knows that when it comes to mythology and Themyscira that Wonder Woman is the expert in the group. Even Batman, who Venditti has not hesitated to show has a hard time trusting others on the team, follows Wonder Woman’s lead. There is little time for a divide made the sense of urgency as Wonder Woman led the Justice League into Tartarus come off the page.
At the same time, Venditti does a good job spotlighting the Amazons in this issue. Venditti reminds the readers how Themyscira stays out of the rest of the world and does everything in their power to keep things in house. That motivation plays in well with how Spectre is able to use its powers to tap into the rage people have. And Wonder Woman bringing the Justice League to Themyscira without permission was good fuel for Spectre to use in order to turn the Amazons against the Justice League. It also made the visual of the dead Amazons who were protecting the Tartarus gate even more powerful as Spectre tapped into the pride of these characters as warriors.
Venditti also quickly got over the significance of Tartarus with Jim Corrigan’s appearance inside it. Jim believing twenty years had passed since being separated from Spectre added weight to his decision. You could see how he had become broken from living such a long time stuck in Tartarus while in the real world only days passed. It put into context how much power was in Tartarus and added to how things are only going to get worse as the first God of Hell is ready to be released.
If it wasn’t for reading the credits on the second read-through I would have not known two artists worked on Justice League #46. Xermanico and Robson Rocha each did a good job making sure the issue had a consistent look. They both shined when it came to drawing the different splash pages in this issue. I was particularly impressed with the double-page spread of John Stewart creating the entire Green Lantern Corps with his ring. That was just an amazing visual that got over John’s power.
The Bad: The major thing that keeps Justice League #46 and the “Cold War” storyline back is the fact that we don’t see how far-reaching Spectre not having a host is. All we get is Spectre tagging along with the Justice League to make sure to attack them wherever they are. This story would be much better if we saw how a Spectre without a host is a crisis for the entire DC Universe. The character’s power not having a host to keep it in check could make this a big event level story. Unfortunately, it is kept small because all we see is Spectre following the Justice League around.
Overall: Justice League #46 did what it needed to do to progress “Cold War” to the second half of its story. Robert Venditti kept the sense of urgency high as the Justice League continued to be haunted by a Spectre without a host as it turned the Amazons against them. Though the focus is kept 100% on the Justice League limits the scope of this story as we don’t get a sense of how dangerous Spectre lacking a host is to the DC Universe. Hopefully, with the developments in Justice League #46, we get into how this is a major crisis within the DCU.
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