Artist Jason Fabok’s work is the anchor to “Justice League” #39, the final chapter of “The Amazo Virus” as written by Geoff Johns. Joining an artistic pantheon that once included George Perez, Ivan Reis and Howard Porter, Fabok closes his first arc as a League artist in dynamic fashion with lots of spectacular panels featuring Wonder Woman, Superman and even Lex Luthor.
Fabok’s drawings are dynamic and dazzling, emotionally powerful and jam-packed with detail. Like Perez, he can deliver jaw-dropping splash-pages, but the real amazing work comes when he packs more into smaller panels, like speed shadows from the Flash hitting Lex Luthor no fewer than half a dozen times in one panel or the motion blur imagery of Wonder Woman leaping into action. When it comes to expressions, Fabok demonstrates a noteworthy difference between Captain Cold delivering a backhanded compliment and Wonder Woman receiving it, as smirks curl on both of their mouths in a different, completely individual manner.
The story is a dark, brooding adventure as the Amazo Virus has the League — and potentially the world — on the ropes. Fabok carves appropriately deep shadows into the characters’ faces and settings and even tells a few panels in silhouette, underscoring his capable command of storytelling. All of Fabok’s work is brilliantly colored by Brad Anderson. The colorist balances the bold, vibrant uniforms of the League with the subtle, sickly tones of the infected and anchors it all in the same cityscape. He brings energetic effects to Cold’s weapon, which makes a world of visual difference in the crackling lightning that surrounds Flash and Shazam. Mangual’s letters join in, step-for-step, offering heroism, fearfulness and dark mystery. He uses a wide array of balloon styles, giving Patient Zero, Neutron and Luthor’s transmitted voices different tones and frequencies. This trio makes a strong showing in “Justice League” #39, giving readers a lot to enjoy and even more to look forward to.
The story itself finds its natural conclusion, given all of the pieces Geoff Johns has brought to the adventure. “The Amazo Virus” has run long enough that it hasn’t dragged out but is significant in duration, giving Johns plenty of time to shove Luthor and Cold into the spotlight as the apparently reformed pair seeks to earn their stripes alongside Earth’s greatest heroes. Johns keeps a pretty tight spotlight on Luthor especially, giving the egomaniacal archenemy of Superman ample opportunity to espouse his vast knowledge and superior intellect. Johns also gives readers a powerful, commanding Wonder Woman who holds her own in battle without ever questioning her abilities, despite the lottery-level odds stacked against her.
“Justice League” #39 leaves the DC Universe and the League different than it was when “The Amazo Virus” outbreak occurred. Johns, Fabok, Anderson and Mangual have returned the scope of Justice League adventures to a grand scale and, with this issue, they bring the story to a strong finish reminiscent of classic Justice League tales.