Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Justice League of America #3 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Hitch isn't exactly covering new ground with this first arc, but it doesn't mean that he isn't telling an interesting story.

In a way, it's a familiar Superman story.  After all, Rao is really just an extreme version of Superman.  He stokes all the same fears in the establishment that Superman did when he first appeared on the scene.  In fact, the story that Hitch is telling here isn't dissimilar from the one that Straczynski is telling in his Earth One volumes.  After Rao topples the corrupt dictators of Africa, other countries at the United Nations worry what he'll do when he decides that their human-rights records are unacceptable.  Rao appears and basically validates their fears by saying that more force may be necessary.

Meanwhile, Batman is...skeptical.  In a way, he postulates the problem through the prism of Newton's Third Law of Motion:  every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  If Rao is terraforming the desert in Africa and healing the sick around the world, then some cost must be paid.  Superman essentially believes that Rao is above such a law, but Batman remains unconvinced.  He invites Superman to follow with him one of Rao's first acolytes, an allegedly "reformed" convict, to see who's right.  Elsewhere, we learn that the Speed Force interacting with the wormhole sent Green Lantern into Krypton's past; some soldiers escort him to meet Rao at the end of the issue.  Also, Diana is trapped in Olympus by some mystical force that appeared after the Greek gods fled.

Again, it's a familiar story, but still an intriguing one.  Hitch has managed to play his cards close to his chest.  Rao becomes slightly more aggressive, if you will, in this issue, but we still can't point to him doing anything evil, per se.  Unless DC comics is going to close up shop and declare its universe happy with Rao, I'm guessing that Batman is going to find something.  But, Hitch keeps us guessing about what that something will be.  All in all, it's good stuff.

*** (three of five stars)

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