This book came highly recommended, and now I can see why!
What has always been a key feature of the Supers, particularly of the DC Comics variety? Maintaining those pesky secret identities, of course! so when the wife of a long-serving Justice Leaguer is found murdered, our heroes go into overdrive wondering whose loved one might be next to be targeted.
Brad Meltzer also writes those wordy things called, em, novels so the scripting could have suffered from being overly wordy, but fortunately for the project he found a collaborator in Rags Morales who takes the underlying emotion and comic iconography and lets it all play out in some wonderfully rendered, even stylized, panels.
Also, despite the fact that most of the book is played as a straight murder mystery, the one epic fight sequence of Justice Leaguers versus Deathstroke was brilliantly executed and thrilling, much better than so many of the biff-boom-pow fights that a lot of artists are dialling in these days.
Thriller writer Brad Meltzer takes on the world of the Justice League in this really, really awesome mystery involving pretty much every character (hero or and villain alike) that you can think of. There's been lots of storylines involving the friends and family of superheroes and how much danger they are in because the superhero in question but this one might just be the mother of them all. Added bonus with this one is the fact that Meltzer is a thriller writer so there's a tension and a reality to this comic that isn't always present in superhero capers.
The Elongated Man has never bothered hiding his identity and for over twenty years it has never been a problem. That is until his wife is murdered in her own home despite it being protected by crazy Batman inventions paired with at least three kinds of alien technology. The superhero community is hit incredibly hard - the funeral sequence being particularly memorable. The Justice League is also huge and not everyone agrees on how best to take action, and not everyone is privy to every aspect of each others' work. As the hunt for Sue's killer goes on there are multiple approaches, suspects, and measures taken by the members to protect their own loved ones.
It was a one sitting read despite it's size (not massive but it's six large chapters plus a brief epilogue. It's a gripping read and who the culprit is a surprise as much as it makes perfect sense. The easiest way, according to Batman, to determine who is responsible is to answer one simple question: who benefits?
If you're into comics and haven't read this, give it a go. You don't even have to be familiar with every single character - there's a bit of explanation but the mystery is more important than everyone individually.
Every hero has a weakness, a kryptonite to their powers, but with either hard work, willpower, or luck they prevail. There is one weakness that they all share though, one which can hurt much deeper. Family and friends. Having a relationship with a hero has its risks, and these only increase if their identity is known. So when Sue Dibny is murdered, every hero takes it as a personal threat. As the group races to find the one responsible, they overflow with very human emotions and reactions; taking drastic measures because of rage and fear, getting worried about other loved ones, and wanting vengeance. All aspects, including the art, are dark and tense. The realism of the style hits us hard as faces melt into anguish and other difficult emotions. Every precisely arranged image only heightens this impact. Just about every hero and villain you can think of makes an appearance in this epic mash-up, and you can't help but see the passion these creators have as fans themselves. Despite having the most intelligent of action scenes, this is just one part of the larger equation. A confounding mystery drives the plot, dark secrets hinder the investigation, and the frailty of morals gets exposed. With such deep, subtle storytelling, and immensely satisfying characters, why doesn't DC get more novelists to write for them?
Someone has killed Sue Dibneym and the superhero community is pulling out all the stops to discover the murderer. The Justice League, the Reserves, the Justice Society and the Teen Titans beat the bushes and the criminals to try and determine what monster would do such a thing. But when a second attack occurs, the realization begins to hit that the heores secrets may not be as safe as they thought.
Ralph and Sue Dibny are the backbone of the Silver Age Justice League. They are the old married couple, used for comic relief and "Aw" moments, so when Brad Meltzer decided to kill off Sue, he had to know he was messing with DC DNA. What we get is a weak, and sometimes implausible, murder mystery to find out who killed Sue.
But that is not the strength of this book. Where this book shines is in the character moments of the later silver age heroes that Meltzer gives us. We see why Sue and Ralph are so in love. We see how the A-listeres (Batman and Superman) are there for the big fight, but are quickly called away to deal with other issues, leaving the clean-up for the B and C-listers like Green Arrow and Zantana. We learn that the clean-up frequently means wiping minds.
It's those character moments that lift this book to three stars. We see the friendships and relationships between the various heroes. I can honestly say that this is what lifts this book out of the two star range into a three star range. Without those, this is just another "women in refrigerator" crisis to sell books that has sadly become old hat at DC.
I loved the art. The story was based on how the lives of the super-hero's interact with those of their loved ones. The deaths and how it affects those they love, they wonder if its worth it to keep fighting. Interesting taking on how they are trying to find themselves in the world they have created and keeping those they love safe from their live styles.
This collection of comics had a significant impact of the the course future DC Comics chracters. This is both good anf bad.
Whenever DC publishes a "Crisis" book characters are going to die and the "status quo will be shattered". This book does all of those things but the heart of the book was about the loved ones of Superheroes. The people on the side lines of the adventures of Heroes who have to wait up night for their special someone to come home.
That's how it started and that certainly is a major theme but unfortunately it gets buried underneath the scandal of what "Heroes" did to a supervillain in the name of pertecting their lovedones. What happened to Dr. Light, rippled throughout DC comic books for allong time.
The fact that heroes did something bad out of fear and love got lost. Please remember that when reading this and try not to get distracted by Rags Morales' awesome art.
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