Justice League of America #27 Review
Justice League of America #27 review by Hugo Bravo
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Ed Benes
In 1993, Milestone Comics were founded by a coalition of African-American comic book writers and artists who believed minorities had been underrepresented in American comic books. Today, Milestone Media is primarily a licensing company, but many of its comic book heroes are faint memories of the Nineties. Earlier this year, DC Comics executive editor Dan Didio announced that the characters of Milestone would be brought back and merged into DC continuity and current writer of Justice League of America (and one of Milestone Comics' founders) Dwayne McDuffie is re-introducing these characters to a new generation of readers. As a writer for the animated series Justice League Unlimited, McDuffie gave little known superheroes of DC wide exposure, showing that characters like Vigilante and Shining Knight could be as integral to DC as Batman or Superman. He now is using his talents to bring back the superheroes of his old company, and making them go against DC's premiere team in a new crossover.
His latest storyline begins with a focus on another lesser known former member of the Justice League, Dr. Light, aka Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi. Though always a bitter, somewhat unpleasant person to even her Justice League colleagues, she now has more reason to be angry, due to the loss of her light manipulation powers at the hands of a dead villain, coincidentally also known as Dr. Light. Her powers are not as reliable as they used to be, which as she states, are a death sentence in her old line of work. She is now a member of Metropolis' S.T.A.R. Labs, thanks to her famous connections, but is finding it harder and harder to return to a normal life, working a regular job and raising her two children. She arrives home to find an unknown group of costumed superheroes waiting for her in her living room. We learn that these superheroes, known as the Shadow Cabinet, are looking for the other Dr. Light, whose remains have been stored, ironically, in a wax candle. Meanwhile, Black Canary discovers that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have been meeting in secret to discuss the status of the League, keeping the supposed elected chairwoman of the Justice League completely out of the loop.
It's not exactly clear when this story takes place. The villain Dr. Light is dead, so we must assume this takes place after Final Crisis? No matter, McDuffie once again succeeds in creating some wonderful chemistry between the heroes he writes. Even if you never read a previous Milestone Comic, you'll enjoy characters like sarcastic Blitzen or kleptomaniac Iota. And as should be no surprise to anyone following McDuffie's work, the dialogue remains witty and original. Take for example the scene where Wonder Woman and Superman argue on who's the fastest between the two (without the slightest mention of a Flash.)
Ed Benes is in top form, as he has been ever since Brad Meltzer was the book's main writer. It must be said, few comic book artists draw the female form as well as him. His Hawkgirl and Black Canary in this issue are all the proof you need.
Apart from Static Shock, who is rumored to soon find a place among the Teen Titans, many readers may not be familiar with the history and heroes of Milestone Comics. Hopefully in the future, McDuffie will write a one-shot to give these characters a true introduction. In the mean time, the members of the Shadow Cabinet will serve as good foils for the JLA in the pages of their own book.