September 29, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: Justice League #54 (October, 2020)

Nightwing's team picks up some new allies as it continues its efforts to rescue the Legion of Doom.

Dark Nights: Death Metal has, so far, been a better read for me than the previous Dark Nights: Metal was.  Despite a much more warped setting, it actually feels more like something where heroes can actually win against overwhelming odds and not just have all of the heroes keep fleeing because they keep getting their heads handed to them by all these alternate reality versions of Batman.

This Justice League tie-in continues that concept.

Issue:  Justice League #54, October 2020

Writer:  Joshua Williamson

Artist:  Xermanico

The Plot:  As the Martian Manhunter struggles on the physical and mental plane, Nightwing and his team pick up more allies as they work to rescue the Legion of Doom.

Commentary:  Essentially, this is an issue divided into two sections.  The first, shorter one shows J’onn J’onzz’s struggle against another evil Dark Multiverse version of Batman.  This one goes by the name Mindhunter, and he’s a Batman that injected himself with Martian DNA, making himself a human/Martian hybrid with all of J’onn’s powers and Batman’s tactical mind.  That’s more or less par for the course with these dark Batmen.  However, Williamson and Xermanico give him a somewhat suave and debonair feel in his human form on the mental plane, all with the idea that the Martian Manhunter can’t hold out against the guy forever.

And all this to rescue some supervillains.  Yes, it’s for the betterment of reality, but the point stands.

However, the rest of the issue focuses on Nightwing’s team, picking up Cyborg and Starfire along the way.  Naturally, this is the world of Death Metal, so no sooner did the pair touch down on Earth when their own looks were remade to look more appropriate for this world.  That actually came from the last issue of Justice League Odyssey too, and I read that first, but giving Dick Grayson more allies and a chance to catch up was a nice character moment in the issue.  This is a Nightwing who got shot in the head by the KGBeast, and while Starfire was more than willing to find and deal with the guy, she’s satisfied that someone else took care of that already.

This all comes after Nightwing’s team rejected Lex Luthor’s offer to guide them through some unnamed terrors and landscapes safely.  He’s still Lex Luthor, and he’s still not trustworthy, but maybe this time they should have listened because the path forward takes them through a large plain covered in what looks like sleeping Starros.   Giant psychic starfish as far as the eye can see is never a good sign.  Plus, they might not be asleep.

I really dug this issue for what it was.  Did it advance the story much?  Not really, but it is a tie-in.  What it does, and it does this well, is give a greater look into the twisted world that is Death Metal, all while letting some familiar characters who haven’t been together in a while catch up.  The whole concept of an entire plain full of Starros just waiting for someone to be stupid enough to wander in there by itself is a great bit of weird fun.  So, still a tie-in, but one that actually offers more of a look into this alternate world.  I can get behind that.

Grade:  B+

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