There is no bold declaration on the cover of “Justice League International” #12 declaring it to be the final issue of the series. Maybe that’s because it isn’t the final issue of the series. With an Annual hitting the stands in a few weeks, this issue of “Justice League International” is penultimate in the story, but the final issue of the monthly.
The solicitation text for the Annual proclaims that issue “ties into the shocking events of ‘Justice League International’ #12!” I’m not sure what was supposed to be shocking in this issue as the story is rather subdued. With Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan providing artwork one last time, Dan Jurgens gives all of the members of the team a chance to bid their fallen comrade, Rocket Red, farewell.
That quiet moment is interrupted by a foe seeking vengeance, but save for a few pages of action, the majority of this issue is filled with meticulously detailed talking heads. Those talking heads are rife with emotion and passion, but confused as to where their path should pick up. It’s not the most riveting of adventures, but it does showcase Lopresti’s work quite nicely. Lopresti has grown substantially throughout his work on this series, and the final image on the last page is destined to be an iconic representation of what the penciler brought to the book.
“Justice League International” #12 also proves Jurgens can handle a vast range of personalities, even if none of them are truly of star caliber. Guy Gardner and Booster Gold are, arguably, the biggest names on this team, but neither of them has ever had substantial ability to sustain a title. Mixing in O.M.A.C. following the cancellation of his title did little to boost interest, even though he certainly added power and color to the team. It’s clear Jurgens had some ideas he didn’t quite get to use, but this issue makes a for fine compensation in return.
The conclusion leaves storylines open-ended and pointed directly to the Annual, which justifies the omission of the “final issue” announcement, but adds on a higher pricetag and a creative team that isn’t associated with this title at all. I’m not sure where the team is headed after that, but if Dan Jurgens comes back, it certainly will be worth checking out. I just hope he gets to bring some bigger name heroes with him.