Justice League: Generation Lost #16
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Fernando Dagnino
There is a lot going on in this issue; from Booster, Beetle, Red, and Atom against the Creature Commandos, to Ice trying to save Fire’s life, and Batman and Power Girl even show up to continue their little sub plot. The gist of the issue is the JLI trying to regroup and get the hell out when the Creature Commandos come after them, but they are going out of their way to not kill the monster soldiers. After all, they’re good guys, and the Creature Commandos are soldiers. Even if they are zombies, frankensteins, vampires, and mummys…..which would make all of them dead, come to think of it. Alright, so there’s the hole in the logic, they don’t want to kill these countless troops who are already dead. Despite that these troops have shoot to kill orders, as can be seen by the fact that Fire is filled with bullets. One thing this book does well, especially in light of the recent solicits for the March issues of it, is building up suspense. Aside from Booster one would have to imagine that this cast is incredibly expendable (and no, that’s not bias, he has an ongoing book with no hint of impending cancellation), which would mean that a shock kill is a distinct possibility as this book enters the final stretch.
My natural reaction to the men of the JLI against the Commandos was that Captain Atom would shine with his military knowledge and give the team a tactical advantage. However, the fact that this comes from Booster is a nice touch, as he is the leader of this team, and he has been growing into the role by leaps and bounds. The fight is nice, very kinetic, very energetic, almost a controlled chaos. Our heroes are on defense the entire time as they do their best to not hurt their assailants, which leads to some humorous moments like Beetle trying to force his armor to give him any sort of non-lethal weapon, only to be repeatedly met with with incredibly lethal sounding weapons. Rocket Red was the disappointment here, as his lovable brand of anti-capitalist humor would have been pure gold against the American monster squad.
Fire and Ice are the best part of this issue, and I say that in the best way. Over the past few issues we’ve seen a lot of nice moments between the two best friends, from them expressing how much they mean to each other, the fight between the two, Tora’s secret origin, this is really the next logical step to take for them. Bea has not been a great person in her life, especially in the last few years with Checkmate and being Waller’s personal assassin. She isn’t proud of herself, there’s a lot of anger and guilt in her, and despite that Tora will never say a harsh word against her, she wants her friend to understand that she feels as if she deserves to die, that she belongs in hell. At the same time, Tora is still relatively fresh back from the dead, and the last thing she wants is to lose the most important person in her world, I mean, you have to remember that Max’s ruining of the JLI members included Guy Gardner getting a memory of Tora attacking him. Tora’s scramble to do anything and everything she can to save Bea is as heart wrenching as it is suspenseful, because at no point do you truly know if she’s going to live or die. Like I said, if your name isn’t Booster, you’re expendable. Keeping that in mind only added to the drama of the situation, and made for a better scene.
Batman and Power Girl show up again, and I trust that more is told in this weeks issue of PeeGee (haven’t read it at the time of this review, so I dunno), but they get a little conference call with Checkmate. Sure, no one in the room seems to know Max Lord, but Checkmate is now aware via some backasswards methods that someone sent Magog out to kill Captain Atom while pretending to be Checkmate. Though the fact that this is Checkmate is enough reason to make the readers, as well as Batman, believe that there is more to meets the eye going on with them. It makes me wonder how much influence Max has over the Black King, Taleb Beni Khalid, because we know Max has been basing out of his old base, the Checkmate headquarters, and that he’s off their radar. Is Khalib his pawn, or just another victim of Max’s mind-fuckery?
Fernando Dagnino, aside from having an awesome sounding name, does yet another great job on this book. Sure, there are a few moments that make me wonder what happened, but he handles the big fight atmosphere amazingly. I also really like the way he draws Batman for some reason, I dunno, after a few pages of his Batman I really wanted him to be a permanent fixture of this team. And then, of course, the scenes with Tora and Bea were just perfect.
Another really, really good issue of Generation Lost makes for a good way to send out the calendar year. The book is building up a ton of steam, and we already know that a lot of shit is going to be hitting the fan soon. One outcome just keeps becoming more and more likely by the issue though, as this issue leaves off on a big cliffhanger ending as things go south for another member of the team. And before I go, let me just remind all of you that this issue has the JLI facing off against soldier versions of mummys, frankensteins, vampires, and other horror movie monsters. And it’s just as awesome as it sounds.
Kudos, Mr. Winick, keep up the great work.
Tags: Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Brightest Day, Judd Winick, Justice League International, Justice League: Generation Lost, Max Lord