By Bryan Hitch, Alex Sinclair and Daniel Henriques
Writing Superman has got to be the hardest gig in comics. There is no doubt that he is one of the greatest and most iconic heroes ever created, but he can be difficult to write at times. He’s usually too strong and too good, and finding a tough enough villain for him to fight is always problematic. This run on JLA by Bryan Hitch has given us a formidable foe for Supes to fight in Rao. This issue marks big battle between both characters and a resolution to the Rao situation.
Bryan Hitch has done a pretty good job trying his hand at writing this series. It’s clear that he knows these characters and they all come off well this issue. The first few pages are a brawl between Clark and Rao, and Hitch does what Man of Steel did not: he moved the fight off-world to limit the amount of damage. There is a slight twist with fighting Rao that shows the reader exactly why Clark is the good and moral hero that everyone loves. When Clark won’t make the difficult choices, characters like Aquaman and Wonder Woman will without hesitation. Hitch also comes up with a pretty clever way of handling Rao that has ties back to the first issue of the series. There’s something to be said for good storytelling that keeps continuity and is well written. If there is one gripe with the issue, it’s that there are a couple of instances where we get flashbacks to something done hours earlier. It’s not a major gripe, but it stops the story from flowing as smoothly.
The pencils this issue are handled by Hitch as well with colors by Alex Sinclair and inks by Daniel Henriques. Seeing Hitch’s name attached to the art should put all fans at ease because he’s one of the best in the business. Our first few pages this issue feature nice big panels of all kinds of different locations as Superman and Rao battle all over the world. Hitch draws these extremely well and the detail on every page is outstanding. Panels of Superman and Rao going through snowy mountains that are perfectly drawn from a distance make this book exciting. As the story goes on more Justice Leaguers come into play, and becomes a really violently drawn issue. There is blood everywhere and many characters get stabbed by the pointiest of weapons. The colors by Alex Sinclair are really good here as well. He uses a wide range of colors from his palette this issue, including dark grays for the fight on the moon to very bright red as Superman get nailed by Rao’s laser eyes.
JLA is wrapping up, but when you read this series as a whole it will impress you. Bryan Hitch did a fine job on writing duties and an even better job on the pencils. He gets some good help from Alex Sinclair and Daniel Henriques along the way as well. JLA may not be a series that stands out to many readers, but it is a series worth reading.