Justice League of America #35

Len Wein jumps in to write the tales of what passes for the Justice League of America in the space between Dwayne McDuffie's last story and James Robinson's first adventure with the League. When the call goes out for the League, Firestorm answers it, only to find that Vixen is the only other Leaguer on duty. Vixen tries to give Firestorm a pep talk, assuring him the Justice League will rebound, citing her own experience, "We survived Detroit, didn't we?"

Wein has a decent enough handle on these characters, playing up the heroic aspect in an adventure that never really feels threatening to Justice League levels. Perhaps that is why the League assembled here is devoid of big guns.

That's not to say the story doesn't have entertaining characters, as both Vixen and Firestorm are given ample opportunity to shine. Plastic Man is also on hand, and Tom Derenick really cuts loose rendering the pliable paladin. Derenick shares art chores with Pow Rodrix, but their styles are more diverse than similar, giving the issue more of a cobbled together feel. Rodrix tends to halo his figures, giving the characters breathing room from the background in a manner that almost looks like energy projection as though from a Green Lantern ring.

This issue is a step beyond fill-in material, as the story clearly picks up from what was left off at the end of McDuffie's run. While this is no more destined to be a classic than the Steve Englehart/Tom Derenick "JLA Classified" tale from 2006, this story does serve a purpose. It bridges the gaps between two writers and what will inevitably be two Leagues. The fact that Len Wein is lucky enough to tell the tale for us is simply a bonus. This isn't the greatest Justice League of America story ever, but it is far from the worst. Having Red Tornado essentially bumble the caper makes this issue a little less palatable to me, as Reddy is the most experienced of the crew assembled here and should be wary of missteps such as the one he makes in this issue.

Wein is on board for a few more issues before Robinson takes the reins. Without doubt, once Robinson inserts his lineup, this title will be virtually unrecognizable from this issue. Whether or not any of the characters make that journey across the bridge from here to there is entirely up to Wein.

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