The conclusion to “The Dark Things” is a little too quick, a little too easy, and a little too fast. This wasn’t the best installment of this story, but it is the final installment of an event I hope to see more of. JLA/JSA crossovers are a mainstay of comic book history, and for the first time ever, both teams have ongoing series that both contributed to the story in a give-and-take between the two titles. Granted, all five segments had essentially the same creative team, but in delivering a unified tale, that creative assignment worked quite well.
What didn’t work well was the opening page of this issue. I can appreciate that Mark Bagley has poured his soul into this story -- he drew all five parts between the two books spread over three months -- and that he might have wanted to go in an unorthodox direction regarding page layout, but the end result of that first page is just ugly. It’s like a “Brady Bunch” intro segment gone horribly, horribly wrong. From there, the platoon of inkers doesn’t do much to offer stability to this story. Bagley’s work and figure structure shine through all of the inkers’ various styles, but each inker pastes a different flavor frosting on those figures. This adds a general sense of sloppiness to the book, which is completely uncharacteristic of Bagley’s work. I’m hoping Bagley gets a breather following this story and comes back refreshed with one dedicated inker at his side.
For his part, Robinson hurries this story to its end, bringing all of the characters together for a feel good moment to end this issue and crossover. This gives Robinson one more chance to go nuts with the chorus of thought boxes as the collection of costumed do-gooders gathers to reflect on what happened while planning out how to deal with it. With the end of the story, players are chosen and the line-ups of the teams are crystallized. Robinson addresses some concerns from fans before the questions even have a chance to be asked. This story, in retrospect, seems like it was a lot of work, but for readers it was also a lot of fun, with random characters popping up and non-traditional pairings squaring off. I hope Robinson revisits some of those random characters, but I can completely understand if the focus of this title draws in on a tighter group of characters for a little while.
The story ends, but following on the heels of the “Justice League of America” #50 cover reveal over at The Source blog, it appears that an encounter with the Crime Syndicate is on deck. Or maybe it’s a rematch with the Starheart. I guess we’ll have to wait to see where that mirror image of one of the heroines truly takes us.
Not only does the end of the main story pop the top open on a future plot thread, but the Red Tornado-Cyborg buddy tale ends with another menace uncorked and lurking, waiting for the right time to resurface. Now that their guy love session is over, I hope Cyborg and Red Tornado find their way back to active duty in a hurry. Those two characters have a lot to offer the team, and Robinson has put too much work into the rapport between these two to tuck it away forever.
“Justice League of America” is still not in the marquis position it deserves, but it has been entertaining to say the least. Robinson has now put both the “Blackest Night” crossover and “JSA” team-up in his rearview mirror and has a set roster that he hand-picked. From here, it’s on Robinson to decide if “Justice League of America” can be a strong book with a roster full of legacy heroes.