Review: Justice League #35 by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke, and Ivan Reis

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Review: Justice League #35

“The Amazo Virus Prologue: The Outbreak”
Published by DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencilled by Doug Mahnke and Ivan Reis
Coloured by Brad Anderson

The Plot

Lex is talking about how his views have changed while we see the Justice League in action doing some rescue work. Afterwards, Bruce and Lex are announcing the new partnership with their companies while the rest of the League is outside hoping to find something illegal. Bruce and Lex trade barbs as they go through laboratories, etc. and then he sees someone of great importance to Lex. Bruce also sees just how much planning ahead Lex is doing in case of potential threats. Meanwhile Aquaman spots someone on a rooftop and just as Superman goes to assist the stranger, it is revealed to be an attack. There is a lot of damage as Aquaman battles the assailant who ends up being Neutron. Just as Lex is going to retrieve his power suit he is horrified to learn that the containment area for the Amazo Virus has been breached.

The Breakdown

This was a pretty damn fun issue this month, especially considering it’s a prologue. The highlight of the issue is the back and forth between Bruce and Lex as they both got their digs in. Lex commented about the amount of Robin’s he’s had and how expendable they are while Bruce made some harsh comments about one of his relationships. I went into this issue thinking Lex had the angles ready on everything. However, even Bruce recognized the risks of employing someone like Captain Cold. Also, the part with Bruce faking out Lex to reveal his secret laboratory was amusing. I like how they are both playing parts to the media in order to get closer to one another. I like how Power Ring is paired up with the Flash. This is something that would’ve happened even with the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Flash because he’s just the ideal person to get through to Jessica. Even though she’s more in control, the ring is still trying to get into her head and that makes her more interesting. If she gives in there’s a chance she’ll come back again, which removes a bit of the predictability that comes with the heel turn. The friendship between Shazam and Cyborg continues to be entertaining. Seeing Lex so vulnerable at the end was also good. He was concerned about the health of a loved one and was also horrified when he saw the possibility of the Amazo Virus getting out. Speaking of which, so far it looks like the Amazo Virus comes from Lex (that may not actually be the case when all is said and done) and that puts an interesting spin on things. I enjoy how badass Cold is looking right now. He’s got major ambitions and he’s flying under the radar of someone that is really tough to fool. I’m wondering who arranged for the attack on Lexcorp and hopefully I’ll find out next issue. The first couple pages I thought that Mahnke was really rocking Reis’ style until I figured out that it was actually Ivan Reis. Even though his pages were brief I really liked how his Wonder Woman and Batman looked. I really liked Mahnke’s facial expressions. Lex had a good range of looks in this issue and Mahnke isn’t afraid to use gums (in mouths) in his work. It’s a detail that he’s really worked out well and it adds a lot to his facial renditions. This is a detail I’ve seen attempted before and sometimes it just looks hideous if not done right. Anderson’s colours were well done and I really liked his work with the faces in this issue.  This was a good read this month.

BUT…

Lex is pretty thorough, he wouldn’t cover his bases before letting Batman go into his building. The whole plan by the Justice League to catch him on something just seemed really lame. It just came across like a really second-rate plan on their part. This is Mahnke’s final issue of Justice League and I’m disappointed. However, Fabok is coming onboard and I enjoyed his work over in Detective Comics (before I dropped it prior to the release of the issue that should have been “900″…I’m sure we could’ve had an actual Issue 900 during the 52 thing). I hope that Mahnke winds up on another good book.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It. Not a lot happened in this issue and that was perfectly fine. The intercourse between Bruce and Lex was fun and it didn’t feel like a waste of space leading into the next arc. The “prologue” part of the story just seemed to happen on the last page and I definitely liked that. I like the show Gotham, but I wonder how much longer the ads are going to run in these books. The upcoming arc is going to bring us a Bat-hazmat suit, which actually has me looking forward to it as it sounds old schoolish. I enjoy these issues that slow things down a bit between arcs. Definitely a good read and a solid book every month.

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