“Return of the Lion” ends here, with Vixen and her allies of the JLA squaring off against Intergang and Whisper A’Daire. Of course, with this being the final issue of a five-part limited series and Vixen currently appearing in “Justice League of America,” some assumptions could be made about the outcome of the story. Of course, if you avoid reading great stories solely based upon assumptions, then why bother reading comics at all?
This story does something that seems startlingly rare in today’s comic industry: the same creative team — writer to letters, editor to colorist and back — completed all five issues. Did I mention that there were no shipping/production delays? How about the fact that the story was engaging, entertaining and enjoyable?
Wilson continues to shape Mari Jiwe McCabe’s abilities and her confidence in those abilities through this issue, as Vixen (with some help from a certain Dark Knight and Black Lightning) manages to stop her mind-controlled teammates, thus ending Intergang’s bid to place a foothold in Zambesi. Wilson brings the story back full circle to illustrate Vixen’s growth from the first issue.
Cafu, in tandem with Arcas, lavishly illustrates the adventures of Vixen, confidently rendering a large swath of characters, environments and activities. Mari looks like the Mari we met in issue #1. The garishly clad teammates of hers appear out of place — as they should — when walking the plains of Zambesi. I look forward to Cafu’s next assignment.
This story will undoubtedly read more smoothly in a single sitting afforded by a collected edition, but those collected editions lack the intimacy of a story serialized in monthly installments. To say it would read more smoothly is a bit of a misnomer, however, as this story held up strongly month in, month out. Unfortunately, and through no fault of this title, it had to compete for human memory with other titles fitting into the weeks between issues.
I was a very enthusiastic fan of Vixen’s going into this story (I’m one of the sixteen Americans who actually enjoyed the Detroit era of the “Justice League of America”) and now I feel that enthusiasm has deepened quite a bit. In my opinion, this book could serve as a springboard to larger Vixen adventures, much as “Shadow War of Hawkman” sparked a renaissance for the Winged Warrior back in the 1980s. Mari has some shadows of her own to face, not the least of which is Kwaku Anansi. What do you say, DC? Ready to give the readers more Mari McCabe? I certainly hope so. Subconsciously, at least, DC agrees, as the cover is incorrectly labeled with a “5 of 6” numbering.