Sunday, November 22, 2015

Justice League of America #4 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Hitch has shown an impressive amount of restraint in not rushing this story.  Batman could've just solved the "problem" last issue, and he'd be wrapping up the arc here.  But, instead, Hitch gets to realize the potential that comes with waiting, as we see Batman frustrated over his failure to find the flaw in Rao's plan.  It's remarkably fun to watch, since Bruce is seething at this point.

Moreover, when the answer comes, it isn't overly complicated mumbo-jumbo.  Hitch really lays out the science in a clear manner.  First, Bruce has a doctor conduct a series of tests on a "blessed" villain, and they learn that Rao's prophets are rewriting humanity's genetic code to make us happy once we're blessed.  Separately, Clark gives Victor and his father some of his blood to examine, and they discover that Kryptonians have unnatural markers in their genetic code.  What's the point of these markers?  It's Hal that learns the answer, in the past: Rao uses the prophets' lifeforce to prolong his own life.  Presumably, he needed people so dedicated to him that they won't mind sacrificing a part of themselves to support him.  With the pieces falling in place, Hitch delivers the best final panel of an issue that I've seen for a while, with Rao appearing in the Fortress of Solitude and ominously telling Clark that it would've been easier if he had just believed.  Indeed.

Again, it's a solid story.  My only real question is how Victor's father, Silas, knew that the protein markers that Rao inserted into the Kryptonian genetic code in the past weren't natural.  After all, it happened a long time ago, and it's not like Silas had access to pre-marked Kryptonian genetic code for comparison.  But, I can live with that short cut.  After all, eventually, they'd realize that the new markers in humanity's code matched the ones in the Kryptonian code, calling suspicion on them anyway.

I had wondered why DC decided to launch another series about the Justice League.  But, to be honest, I'm digging it.  With the main title again focused on yet another war with Darkseid, it's nice just to read a straight-forward Justice League story.  This series is becoming the "Detective Comics" to the "Justice League's" "Batman," and it's a welcome development, in my book.

*** (three of five stars)

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