Can you believe that Bryan Hitch and Tony S. Daniels’ first arc on Justice League comes to its conclusion today? Despite this being the second concluding arc I’ve read from DC this month alone it still feels weird that it’s only been a few months since Justice League relaunched in this post Rebirth world. The quicker release of issues can certainly allow for more arcs over the course of a year than the standard six month/six issue model that readers are currently used to. Either way let’s see how Hitch and Daniel’s wrap up their first arc of Justice League! Warning spoilers are to follow, you have been warned.
Being completely honest here, but this finale of Justice League felt very anti-climatic, throughout this arc most of the Justice League (with the exception of Batman, Cyborg and Superman) were not even in the same scene and to a degree I understand why you want to have the team be apart for special missions or moments that can make the reader become invested in this particular iteration through character interaction, but this issue was centered around one set piece that the League easily cleans up there was no sense of tension to what they were doing. Aquaman and both Green Lanterns felt like an after thought instead of actually feel like they were part of the team.
I’m pretty sure that Aquaman had no idea what was going on until he showed up where the deus ex crystals showed him the location of the final battle and even then he wasn’t sure what was going on. Yes both Aquaman and the Green Lanterns were integral to taking down the Kindred, but it felt extremely contrived in the execution and it would have served the story better if neither of them were in this initial arc. It also doesn’t help that despite this being the conclusion of the arc, readers won’t have a clue exactly the Kindred did and how did the Purge factor into all of this, perhaps Hitch is saving that particular plot point for something better down the road and if so I’ll eat my words but that still doesn’t remove the dissatisfaction I felt after finishing this issue.
In another minor note relating to Jessica Cruz, while I’m overly critical of her personality in her duo book with Simon and I loved her gunho attitude felt a bit out of character. Perhaps it was the adrenaline of the moment that made Jessica actually show confidence in her own abilities. This is only really a problem if you’re reading Green Lanterns and this series, and while showing that Jessica has confidence isn’t bad for her character it’s inconsistent with her other appearances.
My own rhetoric might come off as harsh, but that’s because my own personal expectations are set high. From a technical standpoint this was a good issue. The pacing moved along well enough and the actual big moments for Superman, The Flash felt worthy of being in a Justice League book. This finale is far from terrible or the worst comic that I’ve ever read but rather it shows the skills of a writer who is still trying to figure out the kinks in telling a story of this scale. I admire Hitch’s attempt to bring a weirder threat for the Justice League to combat against, it simply needed some fine tuning.
Tony Daniel delivered another solid performance, and while there weren’t any crazy double page splashes from previous issues the action remained just as dynamic. Having Carlos Pacheo on pencils for the previous issue certainly helped Daniel in some fashion since the art looks more polished than the previous issue he penciled. In a minor nitpick and I’m not sure if it’s the inker or artist to lay blame to. In one scene with Batman, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman looking up at the Kindred and for some reason Batman’s face is covered in shadow but by logic the giant Kindred would be casting a shadow over all three of the mentioned Leaguers and it just struck me as odd. Once again a minor nitpick, but outside of that another solid issue from Daniel.
I want to like what Hitch is doing with this series, but I felt that with his first arc his net was cast a bit wide It was still enjoyable
Justice League #5 earns a 3/5