On the cover of Justice League: Infinity, we have the Justice League opposite their Justice Alliance counterparts. Batman opposite Batman, Superman opposite Superman, and Wonder Woman opposite Wonder Woman, each in different costumes.

Justice League: Infinity! Comic Book Reviews 9/8

There are no new #1’s this week. This week, everything I’m reading is well-trodden territory. To make it worth it, each of them is at the top of their game save one. Some are releasing some of the best issues to jump into the series with, and others are just ramping up. For a quick rundown: Justice League: Infinity continues the magic of the DCAU, Daredevil continues to be one of the best series on the shelf, Excalibur this week is a good jumping-on point for the series, and Infinite Frontier just ended making it the perfect time to get all the issues and binge read them.

I didn’t get to review as many books this week as I usually do on account of the only stinker being so long, but I think the rest of the books make up for it. I have a lot of recommendations, and one genuine skip in Suicide Squad: Get Joker! #2. Such squandered potential that one is.

Justice League: Infinity #3

In Justice League: Infinity, DCAU Superman meets Superman of Earth-D, and they stop fighting at the sight of each other.

Written by: JM Dematteis, James Tucker

Art by: Ethan Beavers

Coloring by: Nick Filardi

Lettering by: Tom Napolitano

The Justice League Animated Series is my second favorite show of all time. I would argue it’s the best comic adaptation ever made, and this comic is an awesome continuation of that. Justice League: Infinity isn’t exactly the same, but its small differences work better for a comic. There’s a sense of trust in this comic, especially around Superman. There was always a purposeful heavy-handedness to the most ridiculous of subjects in the show. The show wasn’t poorly paced by any means, but being that it was made with kids also mind, the plot never hinged on what was unspoken. Specifically, there never would have been a moment like the one shared between the DCAU Superman and Superman-D here.

Seeing two Supermen stop fighting just from an unknowing sense of familiarity was touching. This isn’t to say that Justice League: Infinity can’t be serious. Where the first two issues were lighthearted setup, this issue ramps up the dramatic tension. Batman’s response to Wonder Woman being swapped with a multiverse counterpart would have been the emotional peak of an episode. 

There’s something else that’s worth mentioning about Justice League: Infinity, without spoiling the last page. Justice League: Infinity should be complimented for how well it keeps continuity with the show. I’m sure Watchtower Database could tell you everything that didn’t do right, but I’d have to go searching to find problems. Since Batman: The Adventures Continues really suffers from this problem, it’s good that Justice League: Infinity doesn’t.

My only gripe is that anyone sick of the multiverse after Infinite Frontier, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and the Flash film, is still going to be sick of it here. It’s cool to see new characters in DCAU style, but Justice League: Infinity is nothing new for the multiverse. That’s the one thing I have to say isn’t that great. It’s not necessarily a strike against Justice League: Infinity, but it’s not a plus.

Suicide Squad: Get Joker! #2

Joker gets up close and personal with Jason Todd, who see from the back of the head.

Written by: Brian Azzarello

Art by: Alex Maleev

Coloring by: Matt Hollingsworth

Lettering by: Jared K. Fletcher

While I liked the first issue and its novel idea of putting the Red Hood on the Suicide Squad, I’m over it. It feels like this issue doesn’t have a plot.

In fact, this issue seems to think that everyone walking around, thinking about the Joker is a plot. Nothing happens for a long time in the first few pages. There’s just a bunch of unclear, miscellaneous actions. Sure, I could see the thematic ideas behind the Joker having some kind of hypnotic episode, then the Suicide Squad having the same one. It could represent how they’re feeling as they wait for him to kill them with the trigger he stole from Waller. As long as he holds that, they’re at his mercy. But I would be hardpressed to say that these kinds of thematic ideas come through well. I feel like I’m reaching with even my surface-level analysis, and I shouldn’t be.

Maybe I’m just an idiot without the brain cells to comprehend the genius of the opening pages. At least I don’t have to be a genius to say that Jason and Harley’s supposed friendship is unearned. Avoiding spoilers, let’s just say that Harley Quinn puts herself in a needlessly degrading position, supposedly for Jason. Not only is it never clearly shown how this act was about Jason, but it also makes no sense for Harley to care about him. There’s an implication that they know each other as they’re both costumed freaks from Gotham, but that’s it. There’s no real history or event they’ve experienced that’s been shown or properly alluded to. Does Harley even know that Joker killed Jason? If so, how much does she even know?

Where the first issue sets up an interesting idea, this issue looks to squander it. If the ending is anything to go by, it’s not even about getting the Joker anymore. Honestly, I’m kind of over Azzarello writing the Joker. This issue tells me that he did not need to be the villain for this premise.

Daredevil #34

Daredevil in his prison get-up is in the foreground, with stain-glass church windows in the background.

Written by: Chip Zdarsky

Art by: Stefano Landini

Coloring by: Marcio Menyz

Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

As Daredevil ramps up for a wedding between the Kingpin and Typhoid Mary, the series also prepares for the end of Chip Zdarsky’s run. As the issues count down towards the end, I can’t help but get a bit nervous. This is the series and the writer that got me into Daredevil and Elektra. I was a casual fan before, where I watched the show and enjoyed his cameos. This was the series that made me a Daredevil and Elektra fan. 

Now as each issue comes, I’m reminded of just how consistent in quality this series is. I don’t remember ever reading a bad issue in this Daredevil series. Whether it’s focusing on Cole coming to terms with just how corrupt police work is, Kingpin pretending to be a good mayor, or Daredevil basically denouncing his own identity, it’s never boring. There’s always one page, one line, or one panel that sticks out to me in each Daredevil issue.

This one is when Elektra finds herself alone in the middle of Manhattan, with her face on all the screens. She’s alone, cornered even. She accepts the likelihood of death but isn’t desolate over her fate. Elektra is more defiant as Daredevil than Matt. Sure, she was always brave and headstrong, but there’s so little doubt in her mind about her place and her chances. Matt is called the Man Without Fear, but his constant doubts make that title questionable. 

I believe that Elektra is truly the one without fear. If you’re not reading Daredevil, even now, you need to catch up and fix that.

Excalibur #23

Doom leads Excalibur, forward, which includes Betsy Braddock, Jubilee, Richter, Meggan Braddock, and Gambit.

Written by: Tini Howard

Art by: Marcus To

Coloring by: Erick Arciniega

Lettering by: VC’s Ariana Maher

Excalibur and Dr. Doom go on a road trip where everyone in Otherworld tests how much they can make Doom mad. It’s funny, beautifully drawn, and makes for a fun little one-off story. Excalibur is truly about mutants playing through a land of magic and sorcery in this issue. While Betsy has to deal with Dr. Doom being… well, Dr. Doom, the rest of Excalibur gets to play cards, go to taverns, and hang around magical monsters.

There isn’t much to this issue in terms of plot and progression. One would think that when you have arguably Marvel’s best villain in the story, more would happen, but no. I also think that’s okay.

There’s something nice about an issue in a long-running series that’s just fun. This also makes for a good jumping on point to Excalibur.

Anyone who wanted to see some fan-favorite mutants basically live out dungeons and dragons can expect that. While it doesn’t take up much of the issue, the creative team does set up the next arc. 

This might be one of the best issues to jump in on since X of Swords ended, or since the series began. Wow, that was two years ago now.

Infinite Frontier #6

President Superman goes toe-to-toe with a shirtless Darkseid. Yes, you needed to know he's shirtless.

Written by: Joshua Williamson

Art by: Xermanico

Coloring by: Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Lettering by: Tom Napolitano

Last week I predicted that Infinite Frontier #5 would prove a weaker issue that would build up to an excellent finale. I believe I was right.

The culmination of this DC mini-series has me excited for a DC Crisi like I haven’t been in a long time. A bunch of DC events in the last few years have built off new concepts in an attempt to avoid continuity. Examples like Dark Knights: Metal, Heroes in Crisis, Endless Winter, and Event Leviathan exemplify the problem. What they do wrong is create new concepts in such a convoluted way that Infinite Crisis seems simple by comparison. 

And even when events like Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis are at their most confusing, they were entertaining to long-time fans. Infinite Frontier feels like more of that. The issue builds a real sense of danger, and it’s not just because of Darkseid. As someone who loves the cosmic and multiversal side of DC, specifically Lucifer, the idea of the Great Darkness is amazing… assuming it’s what I think it is. 

My prediction of what follows in the wake of this issue is a build-up to the Great Evil Beast. This is the second most powerful being in the DC Universe, second only to the Presence. That would be cool because there’s no way the story ends with a Superman punching it in the face. There could only ever be a mental victory against a being like that.

Or maybe it’s something else and my prediction is wrong, but it’ll still have Darkseid, so that will be cool too.

Justice League: Infinity and Infinite Frontier Both Crack Open the Multiverse

While the exploration of the multiverse is getting a bit old, even for me, I can still enjoy books about it. Justice League: Infinity and Infinite Frontier are both great books with great multiverse content. The DCAU throwback is more of a classic adventure which is always nice when it’s up to snuff; Infinite Frontier is an ode to grand multiverse stories that came before it, building up for an event worth being excited about again.

But if the multiverse doesn’t fit your fancy, Marvel has you covered. Daredevil continues to be excellent, and it’s shocking to me that it still isn’t one of the top sellers at Marvel. Excalibur also has crafted another great jumping-on point. Again, I repeat, this is the time to give it a chance.

It’s weird, this week felt both exciting to me and slow. Maybe it’s because I didn’t pick up anything new, but I got a lot to love.

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