Not only was Geoff Johns’ Forever Evil inexplicably delayed till next month, but also Justice League, which skipped the entire month of March and is now the only original series from the launch of New 52 that is behind on its monthly schedule, best as I can tell. The entire event has been bombarded with delays of late, and these delays don’t help at all. This event was supposed to be wrapped up last month, but now is going to finish 2 months late. At least the previous issue of this series, Justice League #28, was a fairly good issue that explored the origins of the Metal Men and featured some good story with some good art.
Released today, Justice League #29 continues the tale of the Metal Men as Cyborg leads them into battle against Grid himself, the sentient super-virus that had infested his body since his creation and manifested itself at the end of the Trinity War event to side with the Crime Syndicate. The first half of the issue is all about the Metal Men and the second half is all about Cyborg taking the fight to Grid. Nothing spectacular this time around, but I liked the story well enough and as always Doug Mahnke. did a great job on the artwork.
Unfortunately, despite what the cover shows, the Metal Men don’t assume the forms of the missing members of the Justice League. It is one of the best covers that Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis have turned out during their run on the title, and it got my super excited, but it turns out that the representations on the cover are stylistic and metaphorical only. Its great to see such a… different interpretation of the Metal Men and the Justice League, and I wish that it had been so in the story itself. But no matter. It is one hell of a cover nonetheless. And these connections show up later on in the interiors as well when Cyborg stands up to Grid.
The issue largely relies on the newly-reformed Cyborg convincing Dr. Will Magnus to reactivate the Metal Men following the events from some years back that led to them being “dead”. Cyborg plans on taking the Metal Men with him into a fight against Grid, a match-up that I’ve been looking forward to since the end of Justice League #23 last year in August. The fight between the two of them is fairly good, but it also ends up being a cliche since there isn’t anything “different” about it. It is very predictable is what I’m trying to say.
All the same, the stars of this issue have to be the Metal Men. Geoff Johns gives each of them a unique voice and they all really stand-out from the crowd around them. They are written as a bit too adulating of Will Magnus, which put me off, but for the rest of the issue, each of the Metal Men delivers a great performance. I loved Platinum and Mercury best of all in this issue, and felt like they got the most to do in terms of keeping the bad guys busy.
There are quite a few twists in this issue since Geoff Johns continues to draw on the other Forever Evil titles to mention supervillain reinforcements. This new issue ends up being a tie-in to Forever Evil: ARGUS, which wrapped up last month, and it is very frustrating that characters just drop out of nowhere and do nothing for the rest of teh issue. That’s pretty much what happens to the two good guys from that title who come to Cyborg for help.
The art is by Doug Mahnke in this issue, with Keith Champagne and Christian Alamy sharing ink duties while Rod Reis handles the colours and Deiz Sienty does the letters. Doug Mahnke I haven’t seen a lot of, only Justice League of America #8 and #9 as far as I recall, but what I loved was that his artwork was always on point. He draws the Metal Men extremely well and it is clear in his character-work that Doug loved the characters. The inks and colours, in their own way, were pretty darn good as well, which was another point of gratification.
Overall, I’m satisfied with this title in the art department, but the story department is somewhat off. It seemed as if Geoff Johns was holding back to a certain degree and reluctance shines through.