Review: Justice League #40 Kicks Off New Direction

Things have settled down a bit for the Justice League. After a long cosmic fight transversing through space and time against a foe who threatened pretty much everything, it’s time to shift the focus back on Earth. The threat may have been scaled back, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to have an easy time when a strange visitor crashes in the midwest.

Our heroes are joined by the new creative team of Robert Venditti and Doug Mahnke as we discover who or what is just around the corner, ready to attack.

Justice League #40 cover art by Bryan Hitch.

The story begins when somebody smashes into a field in rural Minnesota. We get our first look at the League’s roster consisting of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and John Stewart. Venditti immediately establishes the roles and personalities of the different characters.

One of the amazing things about the Justice League is the fact the team is comprised of DC’s biggest heroes. Regardless whether or not readers are staying up to date with the characters’ various solo books, they’re likely fully aware the different members are dealing with other problems as well. Venditti makes this clear with subtle clarity. Batman almost feels more serious than usual. The Flash is unquestionably dealing with something concerning the Speed Force. There’s even mention of Superman’s decision to reveal his secret identity to the world.

And fans of a certain DC Comics character will be happy to discover the identity of the visitor who crashed on Earth.

Unfortunately, this visitor brings word that the Eradicator is headed to Earth with an amped up invading army. Superman offers some suggestions how they can prepare for the coming battle. This means the League will need to seek outside help. It’s John Stewart who immediately starts delegating orders to the other members concerning who should go where and what they should focus on.

With such powerhouses and natural leaders on the team, it might not be completely clear who exactly is leading the League. Venditti makes it feel like a natural meshing of the strong personalities. Ego doesn’t get in the way when a well seasoned hero steps up to get everyone moving. With such a dastardly threat headed their way, time will be of the essence.

Justice League #40 variant cover art by Arthur Adams.

Justice League should be the pinnacle title for DC since it features their biggest characters. That means along with great writing, readers demand stellar visuals. Mahnke’s art is always a joy to see. His interpretation of the characters speaks volumes. Combined with Richard Friend’s inks and David Baron’s colors, it’s going to be a blast to watch this story arc unfold.

There is some action present here, but the main focus is setting everything up. We are taken to various locations, and it’s easy (and fun) to get distracted looking at the backgrounds. Whether it’s graffiti on the walls in a city alley or the sun setting behind clouds in a sky, everything just looks so dang good.

Robert Venditti, Doug Mahnke, and DC Comics are giving Justice League fans the type of story we crave. There is a hardcore threat the League will have to deal with, and they don’t have a lot of time to prepare. There is a fantastic balance between making this threat incredibly dangerous without it feeling too over the top. Venditti is setting up a nice and juicy story, and from the final page, he doesn’t seem to plan on pulling any punches.

If you’ve been enjoying the series so far or are looking for a superb jumping on point, you’ll definitely want to pick up this book. The Justice League roster and the creative team are exactly what this book and readers deserve.

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