Justice League Of America #4: Geoff Johns is continuing to build a new world out of bits and pieces of the past several DC continuities, but he’s doing it while at the same time telling some compelling stories and dealing with the capes and tights set as characters, not just walking and talking plot points.
It isn’t teased on the cover, but I’m something like 90% sure this is part of the build up to this summer’s Trinity War crossover, which I am mostly comfortable with in that the books I understand to be essential to the crossover are already ones I read anyway. (And anyway what bugs me the most about crossovers isn’t that they make you purchase comics you otherwise wouldn’t have, but that they drop in and break up whatever story and character development was going on in the series you were going to buy anyway. Whatever faults the Trinity War ends up having, and I’m betting “superheroes spend more time fighting each other than they do fighting actual freaking villains” shows up prominently here, every indication is that it’s going to be part of the ongoing stories in the three Justice League titles, not an interruption of them. So that’s good.)
This issue also shows that you can come up with a good Catwoman-centric comic book. (It’s just too bad that her own series isn’t keen on doing the same.) She’s the headliner in this book, and she pulls off some impressive detective work and some clever repartee. The book continues to explore the rest of the second-string Justice League and the shady machinations of Amanda Waller in putting it all together.
In what’s probably not an auspicious sign, regular penciler David Finch needs a fill-in three issues into the series. Brett Booth doesn’t really try to match Finch’s work at all, although he keeps the character designs intact. Instead, he draws the issue in his own style. Frankly, I’ve always been at most whelmed by Finch, so this isn’t a bad thing — Booth has a much more polished style than Finch that I actually rather like.
So, y’know, you could do worse things than read this story.
X-Men #1: This is widely known as the series where all the leads are female. It handles this roughly in line with how the title doesn’t; they aren’t X-Women or whatever, they’re an X-Men team that happens to be all-female, with no time explaining why this particular group of X-Men is a team. Frankly, there’s enough A-listers here to make it credible, and the idea of multiple X-Men teams is so entrenched at this point that the book doesn’t need a lot of justification on that front either.
It’s all the other things the book doesn’t explain that can make it a bit difficult for people who don’t routinely make theirs Marvel. There’s a character reveal about halfway through that features someone whose non-comic appearances are limited to a very badly reviewed video game and an X-Men anime, so if you weren’t reading Grant Morrison’s X-Men run, roughly half this issue is going to go right over your head, because the comic does not stop to answer any questions about why you should care who this guy is. The comic somehow makes Jubilee’s post-M-Day backstory even more convoluted (seriously, I’ve checked two different wikis and I can’t figure out what the hell Jubilee was supposed to have been doing before this book). And since this is a series set in the ongoing Marvel continuity, I have no idea if this book plans on answering half these questions or if I’m just expected to pick up a dozen or so trades and figure it out for myself. (As distracting as all those little notes from the editor were in classic Marvel comics, this comic could damn well use some.)
Having said that. Oliver Coipel draws a beautiful comic — he does great work with faces and character moments in addition to doing really well with kinetic action sequences, and given the cast of this book it’s great that Marvel found an artist who realizes there’s more than one female body type in the world (there isn’t a lot of diversity here, nobody will be mistaken for Zephyr from Harbinger, but the characters aren’t just copies of each other with different color hair). And it sets up an interesting premise for it’s opening storyline. You should probably pick this up.