Matt Kindt’s piecemeal buddy team-up of Stargirl and Martian Manhunter continues in “Justice League of America” #11 as the two heroes bravely and boldly navigate their way through the Crime Syndicate-controlled United States, trying to locate Firestorm while attempting to reunite Courtney with her family.
With bizarrely shaped and frequently unnecessarily angled panels, “Justice League of America” #11 is filled with wacky, crazy art, and not always in a good way. The patchwork art team of Tom Derenick, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Ruy Jose and Allen Martinez (with colors throughout provided by Hi-Fi and letters from Rob Leigh) is full of chaos and energy, but it doesn’t need to be. The chaos and energy swallows up the storytelling, going for a dynamic reveal instead of an interesting, detailed narration through the scene. The double-page spread of Martian Manhunter and Clayface is decorated with floating puzzle pieces that detract from the overall composition rather than contribute to the story being told and the emotions present in the skirmish.
Sadly, the fight with Clayface (or Crap-Man as Stargirl calls him) is the highlight of the issue. Following that Kindt delivers a stream of consciousness flowing underneath the story. Both Manhunter and Stargirl attempt to untangle their brains from one another while another threat lurks in the shadows, tailing the duo, but along the way the story goes from a straight-forward, entertaining, super-powered slugfest to a bizarre, incomplete psychological upheaval that presents no hook for the reader whatsoever. There’s bits and pieces of memories, but neither Stargirl nor Manhunter are familiar enough at this point — nor are they made any moreso throughout the story in “Justice League of America” #11 — to warrant concern from readers.
The team-up between Stargirl and Martian Manhunter is entertaining and provides some fun, but is too short and appears to be an aside instead of a story. What would have been the crux of an issue of “Brave and the Bold” once upon a time is simply a plot device and fails to deliver any character development. This title certainly feels as though it has been shuffling its feet through the darkness of “Forever Evil,” afraid of stepping on something or stubbing its toe, but more noticeably, it simply isn’t getting anywhere with any speed. Instead of delivering stories worthy of the “Justice League of America” brand, this comic book is simply holding a spot on the shelves warm until something else shows up. I just hope whatever that “something else” is it brings more heart and character.