DC Comics
Justice League of America # 33
By Koppy McFad
May 31, 2009 - 02:14

DC Comics
Writer(s): Dwayne McDuffie
Penciller(s): Rags Morales
Inker(s): John Dell
Colourist(s): Pete Pantazis
Letterer(s): Rob Leigh
$2.99 US 32 pages


Starbreaker, the cosmic vampire, invades the headquarters of the Shadow Cabinet and now the Justice League, backed by Milestone Comics hero, Hardware, must come to the rescue.

For all the chases, explosions and danger in this comic book, this story deals more with characters than with action. Most of the panel space is devoted to the dialogue and inner thoughts of Dr. Light, Hardware and the other heroes than the threat of Starbreaker. The Shadow Cabinet gets taken down by the bad guy but this all takes place off-panel and even the big fight between Starbreaker and Dharma-- which we see on the cover-- never actually happens in the comic book itself.

This focus on the characters rather than the action helps make the book engrossing to longtime readers and die-hard fans but it will turn off casual readers and less devoted fans. The scenes of Hardware going up against an armed gang are actually a bit dull because so much space is devoted to the character just musing about the experience instead of struggling against an enemy.

The writer also assumes the reader knows all about the characters in his wide-ranging story. But not everybody was a big fan of Milestone comics and a lot of people have no idea who "Dharma" is. They probably think she's Greg's hippie girlfriend. Even the better known Milestone characters, like Icon and Hardware, are not that famous. The creators should have introduced them gradually instead of just adding them to an already-complex story involving the Shadow Cabinet, the JLA, two major bad guys-- and now a West African god and a cowboy version of Batman. Too many people will read this comic and go "huh?".

The art reflects this rushed style of writing with too many elements jammed into the story. There are many panels with barely any background and many panels with too many characters crammed into too little space. Rags Morales, the artist of this issue, may be doing a fill-in job so he couldn't spend too much time on backgrounds and detail but it doesn't make an already complicated comic book easier to read.

Rating: 5/10

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