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Subj: Justice League #18 - Loyalty Among Friends.
Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 at 07:38:52 am EDT (Viewed 232 times)
Usually positive about the direction of Bryan Hitch's Justice League this latest storyline concerning yet another cosmic threat to earth from 'out there' has failed to capture my interest in the same way as previous such stories have managed.
Granted pressures from work hours and the lack of free time have contributed to this loss of the necessary attention given to the title, and yet as I arrive at this latest issue the fundamental problems within the plot become apparent as for all the world this is now evidence a story that is recycling Hitch's previous plots on the series and showing up a growing lack of originality in every new story that develops thereafter...
For new threat Tempus and his hordes we can see symmetry going back to Rao and his Church. For Superman's struggle against overpowering odds so too can we see a familiar path leading back to Rao and his church arriving on earth. For Batman being the man with the plan so too do we see a very near identical set of contrivances that lead back to the Rao storyline of which Bryan Hitch came unto the League. And in truth there is nothing wrong with reusing familiar storylines, that is the nature of fiction writing itself. But the end results of latest Justice League story 'Timeless" are still nontheless rather a flat and unengaging affair that read as writing by rote' rather than writing with passion.
Nevertheless there are things within to at least comment upon, some even deserve praise, as with the sharp lines and detailing of Fernando Pasarin as he emulates Bryan Hitch' own artstyle and attempts to give an air of reality to what is being scripted as unreality. He doesn't succeed. It is one of the problems with the story Hitch has constructed that it is a chain of events where normal everyday things are largely absent from the page and in their place is alien unfamiliarity and little or nothing for the reader to actually fix their attention upon as page turns to the next page and onwards. 'Timeless' is a direct challenge to the existence of the Super-Human, alien entity Tempus and his forces see earths heroes as an existential threat to both earth and the history of the universe and believe all ills stem from their existence. Therefore the Super-human must be erased from the timeline and all will presumably be well.
It makes for a novel threat certainly, the sort of thing that evokes Warren Ellis' work on The Authority or Planetary, and there seems no reason t should not work here in the Justice League. The reality though is that the threat (Tempus) is never made anything more than a one-dimensional creation, and the real threat by issues end is revealed as being from something altogether different and yet, confusingly, sharing the exact same ambitions as the strangely disappearing Tempus...
By this point rather than be intrigued at developments it really is hard to care. Despite this some brief moments of character work on the beleaguered Superman and the preparing Batman do succeed. Superman is reassuringly formidable in his resolve and sheer might thanks to Hitch's clear love of the character, while in a surprising demonstration from him the Batman's resolve to go to his friends aid is a quietly astonishing. Not so long ago such a gesture of emotional vulnerability might have been seen as being out of the Batman's character, but within his own parameters Bryan Hitch has been carefully cultivating this softening of the Dark knight's relationship with fellows for much of this series life. At this point the admission from Batman that he has both a responsibility and a bond with the mysterious Superman who appeared from nowhere is an entirely natural progression - this Superman has finally earned both his faith and his trust. And that is as much a credit to Bruce Wayne's strength of character as it is to Bryan Hitch's careful development of this facet of it.
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