01st Dec2020

‘Justice League: Endless Winter #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Andy Lanning, Ron Marz | Art by Howard Porter | Published by Marvel Comics

Normally for the festive season we get a few specials or one-shots, which are generally entertaining enough to see us through to the New Year. This year, though, I think the marketing and sales departments have been on the phone, as DC have this Endless Winter ‘event’ happening. It’s going to spill over into a lot of books coming out in December, so get used to a lot of ice and snow based puns and story titles in the near future. Does the holiday season need a big event? The Summer is traditionally the blockbuster event season, and DC’s Dark Multiverse storyline is still rumbling along with various one-shots, so not entirely sure this is needed, but hey, it’s here and I’m reading it. I will say that writers Andy Lanning and Ron Marz are good choices, as is JLA experienced Howard Porter on pencils and inks. Let’s take a look.

We open on Page 1 with a little tease, as Stagg Industries are shown busily excavating the ruins of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, looking for any left over Kryptonian knick knacks. We’ll be back there soon. Cut scene to a tier two villain getaway, as naughty super-villains on Mathali Island are attacked by the cops. Catman, Icicle, Multiplex, and Rampage of course arrogantly assume they are too strong. Which they are. Bad luck for them, Flash and Green Lantern arrive. Then Superman and Wonder Woman. Then Aquaman. Then, just to make it a very bad day, Batman. The team take down the villains while having a chat about work/ life balance. Now that’s insulting if you’re the villain.

Back in the ice, we see it is Sebastian Stagg overseeing the excavation, bad guy son of semi bad guy industrialist Simon Stagg. He’s up to no good, clearly. As the JLA head back to the U.S, Barry drops in on Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning, still searching for the elusive advice on getting that work/ life balance right. I guess the holiday season gets even superheroes musing over family. Barry, though, has to hold that thought as our storylines start to converge, and Batman sends out an emergency JLA distress call for trouble in the Arctic. The Stagg Industries excavation team is under attack, seemingly from animated ice in the shape of ferocious creatures. The JLA arrive in the nick of time, Batman even sporting some natty new winter Batwear. They fight back the creatures, job done. Or not.

Seems those ice creatures were just the advance wave. The real trouble pulls itself up from the icy depths, a being that calls itself the Frost King. After the required fisticuffs, the Frost King fights the League to a standstill before disappearing, muttering about revenge and not losing this time. Hmm… Superman realises that if the King has absorbed the residual Kryptonian energy in the ice, things could get very bad very quickly. On a worldwide scale. This does indeed start to happen, as heavy snow and storms wreak havoc worldwide. Over in Khandaq, Black Adam knows what’s happening. Back in the 10th Century, he formed some sort of super-team with Hippolyta, Swamp Thing, and Viking Prince to take on the Frost King.

Time to get the team back together? Is it even possible?

The overall impression I got from this book was that it was very uneven. There were some nice scenes and sequences, Porter’s art was very nice, but then other things jarred a little too much. Barry’s dialogue was written as though it was for Wally, far too flippant and dude-ish, and some of Barry’s work/ life balance chatting seemed too forced. I liked the twist at the end, hinting at a sort of 10th century Justice League, but not a whole lot else actually happened. Scene set, establish villain, fight, set up next issue. Pretty textbook stuff, and not really enough to launch a major event. I expected a little more. Fine for what it was, but needs to be more.

Still, I’ll be back with a shovel and some salt next week to see if the Frost King is as bad as he seems. I’ll chill until then. Ahem.

***½  3.5/5


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