Robert Venditti has placed the Justice League at Hell’s door with this latest crisis of Spectre’s Spirit of Vengeance running wild across Earth without a host to control him. We saw what a wild Spectre’s effects are as the Justice League almost killed each other and then were forced to fight the Amazons. With things likely to only get worse as Spectre’s powers run wild across Earth there is no telling how much time the Justice League has to stop this crisis. Let’s find that out with Justice League #47.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Eber Ferreira
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: Around the world Spectre’s Spirit of Vengeance is causing families, friends, and strangers to all fight one another. That includes the Amazons on Themyscira, where John Stewart is doing his best to use his Green Lantern powers to stop them from killing each other.
Inside Tartarus, the Justice League work together to stop the first God of Hell from escaping Jim Corrigan continues to freak out over how responsible he feels for what is going on. As they fight the Tartarus, Batman wonders if Tartarus is really a God or place. Wonder Woman that Tartarus is both as it was created to be the living embodiment of Hell itself.
Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Superman attack Tartarus together, giving Flash the chance to try to get Jim Corrigan back through the gate they came into. Tartarus suddenly summons some chains that tie up all of the Justice League members.
We then see more people around the world arguing and fighting as Spectre’s power is felt by everyone in the world.
Meanwhile, John has been able to draw all the Amazons’ attention to him and is struggling to fend them all off. John tells his teammates that he is heading to their location when he can’t get clear contact with them.
Back in Tartarus, Batman admits he does not know how they will get out of this. Superman then admits he should’ve talked to Batman and the others before revealing his identity. Batman says he shouldn’t have let his feelings for Superman’s reveal fester. Wonder Woman tells Batman and Superman to not let the end be the only time they should forgive each other.
Tartarus then prepares to send the Justice League into the black pit of Hell for Eternity. Before he does so Tartarus is hit by a white light.
Jim Corrigan is shown to be absorbing the Spirit of Vengeance back into himself as he accepts everything that comes with being Spectre once again. As Jim Corrigan transforms back into Spectre everyone around the world begins to calm down and go back to their normal selves.
The explosion caused by Jim Corrigan transforming back into Spectre weakens Tartarus. The Amazons and John appear. With the Amazon’s help, the Justice League begin to drive Tartarus back into his confinement.
Batman goes to check on Jim Corrigan. Jim Corrigan tells Batman to not worry as the Justice League showed him how he can move forward while also saving the world. Spectre appears and tells Jim Corrigan that while his actions were misguided it helped his friends (Justice League) to confront their inner truths. Spectre then teleports the Justice League back to the Hall of Justice.
The Justice League are left confused at what just happened. Jim Corrigan says Spectre teleported the Justice League away so they didn’t have to fight the Amazons again for trespassing on Themyscira.
Batman then goes to apologize to John Stewart but John stops him as they all understand that, while they won’t agree on everything, they will always trust each other to be on the same side. Batman and John Stewart shake hands as the Justice League feels stronger than ever as a team. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #47 was a full-speed-ahead ending to the “Cold War” story arc, that also marks the conclusion of Robert Venditti’s run on this series. As a wrap up to his run, Venditti clearly wanted to end on the note of exploring the dynamic between the Justice League post-Superman reveal. To that end, this conclusion to “Cold War” succeeded. But on the other hand, there were a few things that were rushed in the process.
Where Justice League #47 succeeds most is in its rapid pacing. There was no time to rest as the Justice League dealt with Tartarus while Spectre’s Spirit of Vengeance infected everyone on Earth. Venditti picked the right moments to switch between the Justice League fighting Tartarus to quick views of what was going on around Earth and back again. The switches to how the Spirit of Vengeance affected others was effective enough to get over the sense of urgency of the Justice League’s current mission in Tartarus. At the same time, it did not outstay its welcome as we quickly got back to Tartarus after a page or two.
Keeping the focus on what was going on in Tartarus helped elevate what a big threat the First God of Hell was. Helping put over Tartarus was Wonder Woman confirming that Tartarus was both a God and Hell itself. Adding that bit of character backstory in the middle of all the fighting got over how big of a threat Tartarus was, especially if he was able to escape. This all made the fact that the Justice League struggled to take down Tartarus believable. It elevated Tartarus to the level of other major villains as you believed the Justice League, even with Superman and Wonder Woman, were fighting to survive as much as they were to save the world.
Through how the crisis with Spectre and Tartarus was built Venditti was able to further spotlight why Jim Corrigan is such an important character in the DC Universe. There is no one else that can handle or control Spectre as Jim Corrigan can. This brief stint where he gave up being Spectre showed exactly what happens when the Spirit of Vengeance is allowed to roam free without a host. In the process, we truly get an idea of the weight that Jim Corrigan was carrying and understand even more why he thought giving up being Spectre’s host was for the best.
All of the character work for Spectre made Jim Corrigan’s grand speech as he accepted being the Spirit of Vengeance again was even more effective. Through that speech, Jim Corrigan fully accepted all his responsibilities. In accepting them Spectre itself was able to admit to Jim why he is the right person to be his host. It all showed that there is more connection between Jim Corrigan and Spectre goes beyond simply being a host.
Wrapping up Justice League #47 with Batman and Green Lantern John Stewart coming to terms with who they each are in order to bring back the initial internal conflict Venditti introduced in his first issue on this series. The trust between teammates has been a recurring theme in Justice League, especially when it comes to Batman. But as we see with this issue Batman’s current trust issues were more with his own feelings of Superman revealing his identity to the world without consulting him or the Justice League. Confronting that fact and coming to terms that they won’t always agree with each other’s decision was a good way to wrap up this sub-plot.
Eddy Barrows delivered solid artwork throughout Justice League #47 that put over the major stakes with both Tartarus and Spectre running wild. In the scenes where we saw others around the world Barrows showed us how powerful a force the Spirit of Vengeance is. At the same time, Barrows got over how imposing Tartarus is that the Justice League would understandably struggle to fight against.
The Bad: While an enjoyable comic Justice League #47 was far from perfect. Specifically, with how things ended with a nice tight bow there was a rushed feeling. Especially considering how Venditti pointed out that the Justice League is on Themyscira was such a big deal it was odd that it wasn’t tapped into more. This sub-plot was simply resolved by having Spectre teleport the Justice League away without having to deal with the ramifications. This felt like a waste of a sub-plot because we should’ve seen Wonder Woman and the Justice League deal with the ramifications of this in the aftermath of solving the Spectre conflict.
Batman admitting to Superman what he truly felt about his reveal would be stronger if the others jumped in as well. Given how Superman’s reveal affects them all it would’ve been nice to have Flash, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman show support or their own opposition over how Superman handled it. Not having that just highlighted how Flash and Aquaman in particular were nothing more than supporting players in this story.
Overall: Justice League #47 was a solid conclusion to Robert Venditti’s short run on this series. Venditti was able to get over how the battle with Tartarus and Spectre was a major crisis. At the same time, through this conclusion to the “Cold War” arc Venditti was able to wrap up a few sub-plots he introduced in earlier issues. Add in Eddy Barrows always consistently good artwork and you have another enjoyable Justice League story that fans will enjoy.
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