COMIC REVIEW: Justice League #46 – Missing In Action | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League #46 – Missing In Action

By Buddy Beaudoin

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artists: Francis Manapul, Rob Leigh

$3.99

DC Comics

As our readers will know, Justice League #45 was the beginning of an epic event in the current Justice League universe: The Darkseid War. Darkseid is dead, his life essence bestowing many members of the League with godlike powers. The tale of each new god was told in a series of one-shot issues, giving a little glimpse into what all of the powers mean and how they may come into play in The Darkseid War and the battle for Darkseid’s most powerful weapon; The Anti-Life Equation. This is where Justice League #46 picks up with act two of The Darkseid War.

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League #46 - Missing In Action

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First and foremost, with Francis Manapul taking the reins on the art, this book looks great. We saw this style in Justice League #45 and I’m so happy it’s back. Manapul does the illustration, inking, and coloring. The style of the lines is reminiscent of the silver age, but the color is a stylized take on a classic feel. The palate is slightly muted and favors the half-toned pattern of shading Manapul has chosen in a lot of panels, rather than deep spot inks or cross hatching. All of those elements lead to the art looking painted or, in some instances, screen printed. It’s the style that Manapul has been using on all off the covers in the Darkseid War series, but that has been seriously lacking in the one-shots.

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Getting into the meat and potatoes of this book, it’s lucky that Johns had Manapul on this one. Johns is an excellent storyteller, but my biggest complaint of his work has always been that he has a tendency to overwork a story very quickly, and that seems to the be problem on Justice League #46. The brass of Darkseid’s army are fighting for The Anti-Life Equation, and that’s mostly what we get in this issue. Much of the story is focused on a lot of secondary characters and all of their individual plot pieces, leaving this issue feeling a little empty of its title’s namesake. With all of these creators spending so much time to develop the one-shot stories for the characters and the New Gods powers, it almost feels like a slight to not have a followup on that. What’s tricky in setting up a series in parts is that all of your storylines have to be considered. The best way to incorporate all of those elements is to give each set of characters their own act so that it creates a, “You Are Here” vibe and the reader can focus on the story being told. I understand that, and I think Johns does an excellent job of that. However, with each of the one-shot issues reading, “to be continued in Justice League #46” at the end of them, to not have any inclusion as to what those stories meant, they don’t feel continued.

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League #46 - Missing In Action

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Yes, the Justice League characters are present, but with the exception of Wonder Woman, who takes on the brunt of the story, they are basically just set pieces. The story goes so far as to rekindle the flame between Diana and Steve Trevor which seems unnecessary in the way that it’s presented, but serves as a way to bring Superman back into the main story, as he interrupts this meeting. However, that’s as far as they include him.

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League #46 - Missing In Action

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The story as a whole is well written and well crafted. The multiple act system works well for The Darkseid War and the events of the war are definitely interesting. It just feels like there’s a lot missing in this particular issue. It’s likely, though, that we’ll see a return to full-on Justice League action in act three of The Darkseid War, coming in Justice League #47.

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League #46 - Missing In Action

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The”Best There Is:” Francis Manapul’s art is really cool and makes the book feel more like an indie series than it does a DC title and I wish we could see more of that. The battle for the Anti-Life Equation, and in essence the driving action behind The Darkseid War, is intricate and draws you right in. Johns’ writing has a way of making you care about all of the characters, whether hero or villain. Considering there are a ton of characters to care about in The Darkseid War series, he’s doing a great job.

The “Not Very Nice:” Though what is in here works really well for establishing the lineage of Darkseid and the backstory of The Darkseid War, I couldn’t help but feel like they dropped the ball by not including the title characters in more active roles. With so many subcutaneous storylines happening in issue 46, it’s easy to get a little sidetracked in the storytelling, and things like the over the top inclusion of the Wonder Woman/Steve Trevor love story in the middle of a book’s rising action come off feeling a little out of place.

FBI Score: 7 out of 10. Justice League #46 goes a long way in displaying the aftermath of the death of Darkseid and is a solid second act to the Darkseid War series. Francis Manapul’s art captures and adds a fair amount of succor in times where the story is faulty. The decision to not actively include the core Justice League members to a greater extent helped to establish the secondary characters that this act focuses on, but came as a surprise after the last month of one-shot issues that promised to be followed up in this very issue.

 

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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