With its opening storyline concluded, “Justice League United” #5 has Jeff Lemire, Timothy Green II and Joe Silver bridge the gap between it and the next storyline, in a comic that both fully establishes the team and also starts to focus more on new character Miiyahbin. But while it’s nice to see some explanation for Mii’s powers, I wish we had a stronger feel for her personality.
The basic setup for Mii’s an interesting one, taking tribal legends and adapting them into a mixture of characters like Shazam and Snowbird. Lemire’s ideas are good here, both in making Mii one in a line of heroes (her grandmother able to offer advice and exposition), and also in making her powers seasonal as to keep things fresh. Pairing her up with Alanna is also a good move, putting the two newer heroes together. It not only allows us to learn more about Alanna, but it also keeps a seasoned hero from barging in before Mii offers up a solution to the rampaging Whitago that she fought in earlier issues.
It’s a little ironic that after learning how Mii’s powers will change with the seasons (no doubt the justification for her eventual codename of Equinox), we don’t actually see anything even remotely winter-based from her this issue, though. It feels like a bit of a misstep here; we’re being told things rather than shown them, and the lack of an actual example in action is unfortunate. And at its core, that’s still what’s holding “Justice League United” back from being more than just average. There’s still a lot of storytelling via exposition and information dumps. I understand that Lemire’s still setting up the methods and structure of “Justice League United” but this feels a bit rougher than what we had from him on titles like “Green Arrow.” With a new storyline starting at the end of the month in “Justice League United Annual” #1, hopefully that will be when the book starts to run a bit smoother in that respect.
Green and Silver take over the art this month, and it’s a fun look that quickly stakes out its own take on the characters. Everyone here looks very wiry and slim-line, with squiggles of hair jutting out and wafting through the air. While the presence of conditioner in everyone’s hair can be amusing at times, it’s an interesting visual hallmark to the pages that works well; it’s a nice change from the normal shapeless masses on top of people’s heads. I also like that Martian Manhunter and Ultra both look recognizably alien rather than people who accidentally got splashed by paint. Martian Manhunter’s head in particular looks just different enough from ours that there’s no mistaking him for human, not only in its shape but also in his gaze towards others. And when we get to the one scene set in outer space, well, it’s great to see Green and Silver cut loose and go wild. I was worried about the book’s subplot taking time away from the arrival of the Legion of Super-Heroes next issue, but if Green and Silver are drawing lots of crazy looking aliens, that’s a subplot I’ll welcome.
“Justice League United” #5 is the sort of book that has great ideas but just an average execution. The pedigree of this creative team still gives me hope, though; it feels like it’s inching towards that stronger run, especially now that the early building blocks have concluded. For now, it’s trucking along at a steady pace, but I want the book to hit the proverbial accelerator soon.