By Maverike Comments
Steppenwolf removes a king with the help of Fury, daughter of Wonder Woman. My main complaint with the issue is excessive dialog starting with the chatty officers waiting to attack Steppenwolf. We learn that the Dherain army has used apokoliptan technology to enhance their army and that king Marov wants a bounty on the head of Steppenwolf. This information is repeated throughout the fight scenes in the rest of the issue. I don’t quite see the benefit of a treaty that hinges on the country not helping Steppenwolf while he is king of that country. At the end Steppenwolf doesn’t seem to enjoy being a king of one country so I’m not sure he’s thought out why he wants to rule the world. Despite complaints with the dialog and logic the art is awesome. Not content using her whip to bowl a soldier into his comrades Fury ups her game by smashing a tank into a flying soldier with a truly crushing blow.
The Stranger is out shopping with his wife when a spell used by Constantine abducts him. After a disagreement concerning who is on which team for the “War of Three” the Stranger returns to his house to find his babysitter dead and family missing. Pandora is at his house to point to the Spectre as a suspect. I dislike the family of the Stranger so their kidnapping is exciting for me since they probably won’t be seen for at least another issue. My main issue with the Stranger and his family here is his age. Is this his first family? The events in the House of Mystery were interesting, but their motivation for fighting seems weird. In JLD #14 the Stranger shows up to get the JLD to join his side in what appears to be the Trinity War. Here, Constantine wants him to join the JLD. It seems to me that their goals are pretty well aligned apart from the abduction. The coin Constantine shows the Stranger confused me more than anything because I was under the impression that losing the coins from betraying the Spectre and Raven was the goal. The significance of a coin already off his necklace is lost on me so far. The art was good, but not my favorite style.
Batman runs around Gotham fighting various Joker gangs waiting for the worst gang of the bunch, the League of Smiles, to attack. Rodney the Torch releases the hostages and cuts off his face before Batman arrives. Rodney became an outcast after an accidental fire killed his family so he turned to crime fascinated by the Joker. The different Joker themed gangs Batman goes after are all pretty funny except for the League of Smiles who seem much more intense. The League is linked together by a former Arkham psychiatrist who may be the Merrymaker. I really hated Rodney cutting off his face. He cut off his face because he doesn’t want to be like the Joker who has his face cut off? I’m really over the cut off face. I really enjoyed the art. My favorite panel was the League crossing the street to kill the people in the youth center. Ogilvy assembles allies of the Penguin announcing his reign as Emperor Penguin. He plans to kill their enemies and place the blame on the Joker. I look forward to the real Penguin looking like a boss as he puts this punk back in his place.
The issue begins with an intimidating shot of the rot army between Swampy and the rot stronghold. Among the rot forces is Superman, the Suicide Squad, and Birds of Prey. Barbara takes Swampy from the batcave to Arkham Asylum where Batman has started to brew the bio-restorative formula. Swampy is able to weaponize the formula just in time to fight off a rot invasion. Swampy gets Bane style with the formula and arms Gotham plus giant robot to attack the rot stronghold. Abigail tries to become avatar of the Rot, but Anton rips her head off. With her rot based powers I don’t see lacking a body being an insurmountable roadblock. I have nothing but praise for the art here. Chemist Swampy was pretty cool getting his branches into all the bottles. The rot monsters didn’t disappoint and shotgun toting Batgirl was a great guide.
Medphyll is a plant-based Green Lantern sent to Earth to fight back the rot, but he was trapped by Blackbriar Thorn. Buddy slices his way through to the sad wizard in the heart of his construct while Beast Boy is totally useless on the outside. They go to get the power battery inside the Daily Planet so that Medphyll can destroy the rotlings attacking Frank. As they approach the rot stronghold the Flash punches the guts out of Constantine as other members of the Justice League begin to ride out to attack. Before rotworld Maxine has a standoff with William Arcane and the two remaining hunters three. Maxine trades herself for her family by becoming the third of the hunters trusting that her dad will come to her rescue. The art of rotworld is mostly good, but I really love before rotworld with Maxine. Her brave face as she trusts that Buddy will make everything okay changing into a hunter to save her family was truly heartbreaking.