Take one of the greatest, most creative writers in comic book history, give him a handful of characters with Justice League experience and see what happens. In this case, not much. Wein does a great job taking what is essentially a fill-in story and makes it feel like it matters. While the “team” in this issue isn’t stellar, it does have some fan favorites — Red Tornado, Vixen, Doctor Kimiyo Light, Plastic Man, Firestorm, and Wonder Woman. The foes they face come in the form of the expanded deck of the Royal Flush Gang. Amos Fortune and Roulette are added in for more DC Universe excitement.
Epilogues in this issue pave the way for the next chapter in the adventures of the “Justice League of America”, but Wein focuses less on the next than on the current. He takes the time to give each of these characters a spotlight moment, making each character truly feel like a Justice Leaguer. Personally, I’d like to see what Wein could do with his choice of characters on the roster, since he made this story rather enjoyable.
Derenick puts in a journeyman’s effort here, under the Joe Prado Van Sciver-esque cover. That journeyman effort gives great detail to the characters, but is light on backgrounds when the action is in high gear. Derenick’s characters play up to the visual cues that distinguish them from their peers — from Plastic Man’s goofiness to Vixen’s more feral tendencies. Derenick would be a good sub for Bagley in the months to come should Bagley need a breather.
Wein and Derenick helped right the Justice League franchise ship that had veered wildly off-course due to crossovers, creative team shake-ups, and scheduling crises. This title may not be the greatest title being published by DC Comics, but Wein and Derenick have at least provided consistency for the past few months. Whatever happens with the next iteration of “Justice League of America” won’t be lauded or cursed due to Wein and Derenick, but these two should be kept in reserve if a change is needed once more. They’ve filled in admirably here and would almost certainly do so again. I just hope they use a villainous foil other than Amos Fortune next time.