Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Pull List, the apartment down the street from the House of Ideas. It’s Thanksgiving week here in America, which means we’re a little bit light on comics — but if you need an escape from cleaning dishes, your racist relative, or another tryptophan-stained game of Monopoly, the Pull List is here for you.
Justice League of America #19
This issue hits basically every story beat perfectly, but it falters on the visuals. I just am not taken with the art in this issue; it feels simultaneously too photorealistic and a little bit off in places, giving the whole thing a weird feel that doesn’t quite click with the writing. Which is a shame, because the writing is superb. The major bones of the narrative are exactly what you’d expect given the events of the first part of surgical strike, but the meat Orlando puts onto them is impressive. Yes, the Justice League is starting to band together under the pressure exerted on them by Prometheus and Afterthought; but the way the issue portrays that unity starting to sprout, the way that both the cracks and the ways they can heal them are laid out, help bring depth to individual characters and their relationships with each other, rather than just being a unilateral team power-up. Orlando is even careful to make sure that there are parts of the team’s flaws that don’t feel surmountable — that there are going to be more hurdles to clear as time goes on, and I don’t just mean the cliffhanger the issue ends on. This book takes the tropes of superheroes to another level, and this issue is no exception.
Power Level: 8/10
This issue is a standard Al Ewing one-two punch: give us a couple stimulating, exciting moments of creative superhero fights to transition into a sequence where he then socks us right in the feels-parts. As usual, Ewing pulls it off with aplomb: the fight between the Inhumans and the Progenitors is visually striking and narratively interesting, providing a character beat for Swain while also helping to elevate her power level via her own clever thinking; the emotional moment at the story’s end is tense, touching, and striking, launching off of hints and suggestions from as far back as Issue #1 while still leaving unanswered whether or not this scenario is the one the flash forwards and dramatic irony are referring to. And yet, it rings just a tiny bit hollow here. Part of it is the art — the color in this issue feels really bland, just shy of monochromatic, and it dampers the emotion a tad. It’s also the reuse of the same narrative crutch as Ewing pulled out during the Snarkwar story, though at least that came with consequences that we can worry about happening to another character. The issue handles the final scene pretty well, but I can’t help but think that with a more varied palette and a tiny bit more room to breathe, it could have been even more amazing.
Power Level: 7/10
Quote of the Week:
And now, I am off to prepare some yams and my speech for the One Minute Pilgrim Hate. Have a great weekend, and keep loving comics!