Sunday, June 21, 2015

Justice League #35

The Amazo Virus Prologue: The Outbreak

Geoff Johns Writer
Doug Mahnke & Ivan Reis Pencillers
Keith Champagne, Mark Irwin, Christian Alamy, Ray McCarthy & Joe Prado Inkers
Brad Anderson Colorist
Carlos M. Mangual Letterer
Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis Cover
Amedeo Turturro Asst. Editor
Brian Cunningham Group Editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family

Hey, look at that! We have a Justice League cover that actually features the Flash! True, nothing like this happens in this issue, but it is still a pretty neat image — the moon is an especially nice touch. And, lucky us, we Ivan Reis actually drew a few of the inside pages this time. However, he wasn't the only penciller, and we had five inkers to make the art quite inconsistent.

Our story begins with Lex Luthor's 8 a.m. press conference, which he begins by mentioning three separate disasters the Justice League recently responded to, presumably that very morning. Cyborg, Shazam and Wonder Woman saved a bunch of girls from some lunatics in Bialya; Luthor, Aquaman and Batman rescued a capsized boat in Indonesia; and Superman, Flash and Power Ring responded to an earthquake in the South Pacific. Jessica thought it was odd of Flash to bring ice cream to the children, but he points out they could use something nice and happy right now, and he even gets some ice cream for Jessica. Naturally, her favorite flavor is pistachio.

In short, Luthor says the Justice League has taught him the value of unity, which is why he's pleased to announce Lexcorp's partnership with Wayne Enterprises to make the world a better place. The rest of the Justice League members are incognito in the crowd, and Diana asks Clark Kent how long he thinks this partnership will last. Clark says it'll last long enough for Bruce to learn all of Lex's secrets, and Clark's confident that nobody can hide anything from Batman.

Not to be outdone by Lex, Bruce gives a passionate speech himself about his parents, and even sheds a tear or two to win over the crowd. With the press conference over, Lex invites Bruce inside his building, while Bruce quietly makes sure the Justice League is in position. Shazam is hanging out with the hoodied Cyborg and wanting a hot dog, while Barry Allen is joking with Jessica Cruz about how he could have pantsed Captain Cold on the stage. But Jessica is worried about being surrounded by such a large crowd, and even Aquaman, stationed on a rooftop, agrees that it's too soon to bring her out in the field.

Lex sends everybody away and takes Bruce deep into his most secret, secure facilities. Bruce asks to see where he made the clone of Superman, and Lex gladly takes him to the tank where he's growing a new Bizarro. He says he misses the Bizarro that was killed by the Crime Syndicate and wants to have another sidekick, just like Batman has all his Robins. Bruce then asks to see Lex's private lab. Lex wonders how he knew about it, and Bruce says he guessed. So Lex takes Bruce into an even more secret and secure lab, where they're met by Lex's paralyzed sister, Lena.

Lex proudly shows off his work studying the various forms of kryptonite and the weapons he developed to take down an army of Kryptonians should the Phantom Zone ever be breached again. Bruce asks how he can trust someone who abandoned his own sister, saying he knows how Lex tried to heal Lena but failed. Lex says he'll be able to cure her this time, and that he'll be there when Bruce fails someone he loves.

Meanwhile, Aquaman spots someone else wearing armor on another nearby rooftop. The man suddenly jumps off the building and is engulfed in flames. Superman tries to catch him, but he's thrown back by a large explosion that works its way clear down to Lex's private lab. An unseen voice calls the man Neutron, and says he'll have his life back once he kills Lex Luthor. Cyborg and Flash start evacuating the building, and Lex tells Bruce to help his unconscious sister while he puts his power suit on.

Aquaman dives down into the lab and battles Neutron directly, who tells his boss that killing Aquaman will cost extra. Neutron creates another fiery blast, and this time it shatters Storage Unit X, which horrifies Lex. Bruce asks what's in that container, and the computer answers, saying "Exposure to the Amazo Virus imminent. Infection begins now."

The Good:

Well, there's not really anything that stands out to me in this issue. It's purely a setup for the next multipart trade collection, and nothing particularly interesting happens here. The issue is mostly comprised of long-winded and repetitive speeches by Lex and Bruce. And ultimately, I really have to question Batman's logic here. Did he really think he'd acquire enough evidence to arrest Luthor on his first visit to Lexcorp?

The Bad:

Again, I really don't have much to say here. This was just a very lukewarm issue. Flash's joke about pulling down Captain Cold's pants bordered on the stupid, uncharacteristic humor Johns often gives Barry, but I'll excuse it in this case, as I believe Barry was just trying to help Jessica feel at ease. The art was inconsistent, but not terribly so. Everything was just sort of ... meh. Wait until next issue for something to actually happen.

Final score: 5 out of 10

Next: America quarantined!

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