Thursday, September 4, 2014

Not Really Off-Topic: Extended Review of JUSTICE LEAGUE #33 *Spoiler Alert*

The fight for the Criminal Syndicate's "Power Ring" concludes as Lex Luthor gets his wish and joins the League. There was a lot to like about this issue in terms of character development. Luthor's unbridled ego is on full display here even as he tries to maintain enough self-control to continue to play the part of the hero. It is clear that this is a role for Luthor, a new way to live out his own self-aggrandizing fantasies, but it is a role Luthor is truly trying to embrace. The Justice League's clash with the Doom Patrol was visually stunning if a little all over the place. There was a very entertaining exchange where Batman didn't know Elastigirl's secret identity because he doesn't watch movies. On the pure comic book level, I didn't like the way Shazam seems to be pushed to the side this issue, and I really didn't like the fact that we didn't get more Captain Cold. I'm all about Captain Cold right now.

Some comic books kind of haunt me after I put them down, they make me think, and that is one of several ways a comic book can get on the NOT REALLY OFF TOPIC list. This book was one of those. There is this exchange between Batman and the woman the Power Ring has parasitically attached to. She has given into her fear, a fear exacerbated by guilt caused from her hiding after her friends were attacked. She didn't help them (though she really couldn't) and she never went to the police. It was this cowardice that attracted the ring.

She fears Batman at first, but Batman calms her by saying only criminals need fear him, and she is no criminal. He tells her that if she can embrace her inner darkness, if she can learn to come to terms with it, she need no longer fear. The ring claims it is the 'light' she needs, and the power she needs to stay safe. She rejects that light and embraces the Dark Knight instead. The Power Ring thus stands defeated.

I struggled with the message that was being sent here. But I came to a place where I made sense of what it means TO ME. There is in the devil a kind of false light. The devil on has power because his pretense to divinity is believable. The devil's offer is one of safety and security in the world. It is a life without risk, and without even a soul to risk. This kind of comfort is certainly a type of light in the darkness. But it is not the light of Christ, which is found only through suffering and the Cross. There is no way to Jesus Christ outside of risk and venture. Only by walking through the Darkness can we find the True light. We cannot find peace and safety outside the storm. That way only the devil walks. Jesus offer safety and security within the storm, He offers an ultimate security, found by knowing one acts in communion with the Universe, and by knowing one will find a permanent home within God.

I think that what is missing in this issue, and what finds its home elsewhere in the DC Universe (the Green Lantern, for instance), is that this walk through darkness leads to a greater, more permanent and truer type of light. But besides that, the message was compelling, and powerful.

Storyline: 4 Stars
Dialogue: 4.5 Stars
Pacing: 3.5 Stars
Art: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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