REVIEW: ‘Justice League,’ Issue #73

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Justice League #73 - But Why Tho

Justice League #73 is published by DC Comics. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Szymon Kudranski, Emanuela Lupacchino, Wade Von Grawbadger and Scott Hanna, colours by Kudranski and Hi-Fi, and letters by Josh Reed.

The Justice League Dark and the Justice League have been alerted to the fact that Black Adam is missing as Zatanna has a premonition of him turning against them. Instead, Adam has been possessed by Xanadoth, an ancient being with ties to Doctor Fate. In this issue, the Justice League Dark tries to battle the extremely powerful sorcerer using the body of the extremely powerful demigod. Even with the Justice League’s assistance, they may need to ask for more help.

Starting instantly where the last issue ended, the plot has a similar structure to the previous chapter. Black Adam bookends the comment, radiating power has he is now possessed. Bendis opens with a battle featuring Adam and the Justice League Dark. This conflict is immense and tense. The two different worlds of respective Justice League teams are combined well as the rest of the issue leads to the exposition and catching the reader up. This is where the momentum starts to drain from the story as magical lore is flooded into the comic. Much of it is needed to elaborate on the mystical group’s mission and the history of the being they fight is stitched into the fabric of the universe. A second explosion of energy by the end of the issue reignites interest but the explanation was not entirely captivating, so multiple readthroughs may be needed to fully grasp the story. 

Bendis has merged the two teams brilliantly in this issue, knowing when to give each group emphasis. The first battle of the comic is just stragglers from the Justice League Dark, but they are among the most powerful beings within the book. Seeing what happens to them leads to huge speculations as to how the threat can be contained. As mentioned in the previous review, the writer knows when to pull certain members out of the team for story-based reasons. It shows that a cast of this scale can be manageable too.

The dialogue alternates between Bendis’ clever wit and snarkiness and godlike posturing and grandiosity. But perhaps the storytelling element of the conversations could do with more liveliness to prevent boredom. Another aspect that should be commended about the characters is that the writer has been reluctant to use existing or primary Justice League villains. There has been a huge variety in who the team faces, creating unique tales. 

The art in this arc has so much individuality. Lupacchino depicts the first fight between Black Adam and the Justice League. An intense showdown is presented with gorgeous details and a fantastic display of powers. Although largely stationary, when a strike happens, the artist exhibits the catastrophic result every time, highlighting the strength of everyone involved. The majesty of the situation is captured perfectly. Von Grawbadger does the second half of the issue where both teams are joined together. Placing all of the characters inside the panels together so that their sizes look accurate together is no easy feat, and there are some great facial expressions even on the big panels.

Then there are Kudranski’s pages, which are absolutely stunning. They are streaks of light against the dark, crackles of lightning or magic or fire that show off these mystical beings as you’ve never seen before. The style is so different to anything else in superhero comics that it is striking to look at. Containing a single colour on each page, they are either drenched in an achingly beautiful gold or a cool blue that unveil mysterious sights. It often needs squinting to fully make out the details, but when you do you see the page for the masterpiece it is.

The colours on the other part of the comic is also jaw-dropping. Rich with bright and vibrant shades, the different tones are toyed with by Hi-Fi. But to avoid clashing the colourist utilises groups of colours in particular scenes, such as yellow and green in the last part. This makes it far easier to follow and make out what is happening.

The lettering has been crafted to look resplendent, but can sometimes lead to confusion. Nabu’s custom word balloon on the first page has yellow, cursive text on a black background, in a scene covered in black and yellow. It is incredibly awkward to read.

Justice League #73 continues the exciting arc but needs to be careful. Whilst the action and the grandiosity of the comic are accentuated by Bendis with some awe-inspiring standoffs and dialogue, it faces the danger of running out of steam early. The dependence on excessive dialogue and lengthy diatribes can kill the speed. What saves the issue is the superb art on display that can continue to maintain interest when the writing falters.

Justice League #73 is available where comics are sold.


Justice League #73
3.5

TL;DR

Justice League #73 continues the exciting arc but needs to be careful. Whilst the action and the grandiosity of the comic are accentuated by Bendis with some awe-inspiring standoffs and dialogue, it faces the danger of running out of steam early. The dependence on excessive dialogue and lengthy diatribes can kill the speed. What saves the issue is the superb art on display that can continue to maintain interest when the writing falters.