With the series regular artist, Doug Mahnke, pushing pencils for “Justice League” #25 this week, “Justice League of America” #10 brings in Tom Derenick and Eddy Barrows to handle the visuals for Matt Kindt’s story. Tying in to the developments in the pages of “Forever Evil,” this comic book follows Stargirl in her adventures following her escape from the mysterious prison.
Kindt’s plot is pretty straightforward: Stargirl is in the fight of her life physically and mentally as a disembodied Martian Manhunter tries to guide her to safety. Kindt’s dialog, however, gets clunky and trips over itself more than once as the capacity of the word balloons from Rob Leigh is seriously tested. The end result is that “Justice League of America” #10 is a drawn out issue that takes too long to get to its destination. Along the way, however, Kindt provides some background on Stargirl, teasing just enough about Courtney Whitmore to raise more questions and incite readers to seek clarity on the particulars and details discussed between Courtney and her stepdad, Pat, even if it is odd reading a Stargirl that is not written by Geoff Johns. As for the prison break plot, Kindt simply connects the dots many readers may have already connected after reading “Forever Evil” #3.
Journeyman artwork from Eddy Barrows and Tom Derenick conveys the desperation of the story without being overwhelming or extravagant. As a matter of fact, the most visually impressive panels of “Justice League of America” #10 are the two depicting Stargirl in silhouette. Collaborating with Hi-Fi on colors, Barrows manages to communicate the emotion and activity of that scene and completely resists the urge to transform Stargirl into a truck mudflap girl, instead making her a moody wisp, drawing the reader in to share in her loneliness and confusion.
The fight sequences between Stargirl and Secret Society members Copperhead, Blockbuster, Shadow Thief, Giganta and Deathstroke are filled with vitality and adrenaline, but get a little choppy on the storytelling as the rainy conditions (which seem to be rather a specialty of Barrows’) muddy up some of the paths of action and attack. Featuring a fraction of the Justice League team usually found in this title, Kindt delivers an odd buddy story that isn’t really much of a buddy story at all. Once upon a time the teaming of Stargirl and Martian Manhunter would have flown under the banner of “The Brave and the Bold,” but nowadays the Justice League brand brings cache, so if ever any Leaguer is present, there the League is. The story itself is a quaint investigation of Stargirl’s history, but it really could have been just as effective in a more condensed deliverable.