What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Justice League Annual #2! When it comes to annuals, I’m always on the fence about the decision to invest in what it might offer. These things tend to be hit or miss depending on the kind of story the creative team is willing to write. In the case of Justice League Annual #2? They had me sold on this being a locked-room murder mystery in the Hall of Justice.
These days when it comes to the Justice League, too much time tends to be spent trying to create that next big storyline, or giving this team something big enough to hit. And to do that tends to ignore many of the things which makes this team unique. You have a team with an investigative journalist, the World’s Greatest Detective, a CSI technician, a mystical detective for the Justice League Dark, and an intergalactic police officer. That is a team full of people who should be able to offer an excellent story if there was a problem which genuinely required thinking. The sheer fact that it takes an annual issue to get this kind of story is quite disappointing, but I will give credit where it is due that the story is here now. That said, I also enjoyed the fact that these details about the heroes as individuals is emphasized from the start. Especially the updated resume of Wonder Woman. Working for a team like the JLD does give you some experience points in this line of work.
The mystery itself was a good one too. Here I thought they would play by the book when it came to this being a murder mystery. You know, everyone being in the same place, someone randomly dies, and then someone around them might be guilty. Though that might complicate things when these are heroes we’re dealing with. It might be pushing it if any of them were to actually be found guilty of murder in the Hall of Justice. So having said that, the situation was definitely a unique one. Mainly because all there was to go off of was a corpse with no visible evidence of anything which happened to the person. It didn’t even take long to see that there was much more going on here than just a murder mystery. There was definitely a mystery, but it only began with a murder which brought them all to one place.
From there, that is where things got crazy. I loved the fact that this all happened in the Hall of Justice for the fact that it is not everyday that you will get the opportunity to truly see how this place runs under these circumstances. Any villain would rue the day that they ever attempted to launch an attack on this place, but could you say the same for heroes trapped in said same place where he culprit has access to things they shouldn’t? The thrill of this story at the end of the day was seeing how each of these strengths to the Justice League played a role in them surviving this culprit, and surviving everything that is shockingly deadly about the Hall of Justice.
The interior work from this art team was impressive. A dealbreaker for these annual issues tends to also be the quality of the artwork, because sometimes that says a lot before words do, as to to whether the books is going to be one with effort put into it. So I was definitely excited when flipping open to that first page and seeing some solid work put into setting up this murder mystery. That said, the drawing of the characters was solid, as well as the penciler’s ability to keep many of them within the same scene without cutting corners. Though what might stand out more is the way that the Hall of Justice comes to life. It takes some attention to detail in order to create all of these defensive measures which actually makes these heroes look vulnerable. Their reactions and emotional response to make of these attacks said more than enough. It also helped to have a colorist whose colors were bold enough to capture the intensity of this situation. Not to mention the explosiveness of these heroes having to tear through many of their own defenses.
So, is Justice League Annual #2 worth the read? It surely is! This turned out to be so much more than what it seems on the surface, and didn’t forget that this was a superhero story either. At the end of the day it was action-packed, but also wholesome storytelling.