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Justice League #32

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By Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke, Keith Champagne & Andrew Dalhouse

The Doom Patrol finally takes center stage, something that Geoff Johns has been teasing for several issues. The beginning of the comic serves as an introduction to the team and what their next mission is – retrieve the power ring from Jessica Cruz. Inevitably, the League and the misfit team clash, with Power Ring at the center of it all. Other subplots such as Captain Cold’s partnership with Lex Luthor and Superwoman ‘s unborn child are touched on.

Once again, Johns incorporates a group into DC’s flagship title and makes them mainstream, just as he did with the Metal Men. By digging deep into the character roster, he is able to keep the story lines fresh by pitting the Justice League against unlikely foes; ones that aren’t just the cliche physical equivalents to them. Geoff reveals the origin of the power ring and those who are fans of his run on Green Lantern will just drop their jaw and go, “That’s genius!” As usual, he knows where to place action beats to make the reader try to not guess the cliffhanger at the end. Due to this, the final-page shot, makes one pumped for the follow-up.

The collaboration of Doug Mahnke, Keith Champagne, and Andrew Dalhouse makes for a relatively dark issue. The Doom Patrol has a certain eerie vibe about them and this art team really captures that tone artistically. There are a lot of shadows used during their introduction. What stands out are each members’ colors: Robot Man is bronze; Negative Man is white with a black sheen; and Elasti-girl is red and white. These are all strong contrasts to the shady backgrounds in the panels that bring focus to the Doom Patrol. Even the double full-page shot of the team facing off against Jessica Cruz is a neat play on the normal Justice League fight depictions. Of course, when the League shows up, they are carrying people…showing the difference between the two groups. Creating such subtext in the visuals definitely elevates the story.

Justice League continues to earn its place as one of DC’s major titles. Mahnke and Johns have worked together for some time now and their work shows the seamless understanding of what they want to show their readers. There are very few books out that I will sit down and read immediately after buying and with a Justice League film on the horizon, now’s as good a time as any to start reading some of the source material.

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