Mild Mannered Reviews - Justice League Adventures

Justice League Adventures #4

Justice League Adventures #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 13, 2002

Cover date: April 2002

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Min S. Ku
Inker: Rob Leigh

"World War of the Sexes"

Reviewed by: George O'Connor (

On the island Themyscira, the Amazons watch with pride as one of their own, Wonder Woman, combats sinister foes alongside the ranks of the Justice League. However, Queen Hippolyta, Diana's mother, warns of the evils of man's world, pointing to the derogatory fashion in which women are treated. Spurred by this introduction, the goddess Athena spontaneously appears, encouraging the women warriors to fight against man's tyranny whilst gazing determinately into each Amazon's eye...

Later, in the Watchtower, the Justice League watches the monitor screens as the Amazons begin to destroy man's armies, conquering the Mediterranean and converting every local female to their cause. Diana explains that through the combination of conquered land's earth and the Amazon's own sweat and tears, a magical transformation would occur, lending the loyalty of every woman born on that soil. Upon hearing this, Green Lantern decides that this is a job for the men. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl reveal their mutual distaste of such a plan, especially upon overhearing one of Flash's sexist comments. Superman and Martian Manhunter calm the growing conflict within the Watchtower by suggesting that Green Lantern, the Flash, Batman, and Superman attempt to hold off the Amazon army while Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter attempt to reason with Queen Hippolyta at Themyscira. Wonder Woman points out that J'onn won't be welcome on the island because of his gender, and Superman responds with a suggestion that the Martian Manhunter conceal his male identity.

Shapeshifting into the physical likeness of Superman's cousin Supergirl, J'onn joins Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl to the island Themyscira where the pleasantries die off quickly. The goddess Athena appears and traps Wonder Woman in a giant, red crystal. Shocked by the turn of events, J'onn loses his concentration and his disguise falters. He attempts to become intangible, but can still not pass through the crystal that secures Wonder Woman. Queen Hippolyta, recognizing the shape of a man in their midst, orders her Amazon sisters to attack Hawkgirl and J'onn. With gifts from the gods, a wave is summoned to beat down Hawkgirl while a fiery hand throttles the helpless Martian Manhunter. Meanwhile, in the Quraci Desert, the rest of the Justice League makes quick work out of an invading Amazon army. Batman's knowledge of Amazonian weaknesses helps the Flash, Green Lantern, and Superman end the threat even faster. The battle concluded, Superman is assaulted by a psychic flash from J'onn, and before the other members can decide on a plan, the Flash is half way to Themyscira.

Arriving at the island, the Scarlet Speedster falls behind the lightning fast pace of an Amazon woman with the sandals of Hermes. The woman runs circles around the Flash, pummeling him faster than he can move. A moment later, Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern arrive to the island to see the other half of their group in danger of destruction. Superman's heat-vision has no effect on Hippolyta's magic staff, which is then used to bludgeon the Man of Steel in the face. As Superman drops back, Green Lantern rushes ahead despite Batman's warning. An Amazon with a solar energy blasting shield almost incinerates John Stewart. At the last minute he constructs a shield for himself with his ring but watches as cracks appear along the edges. Batman crawls out of the ocean, where he has been dropped by Green Lantern, and readies a batarang upon stepping onto the island of Themyscira. Planning to bond an Amazon's bracelets together with his special chemically treated projectiles, he watches in surprise as an arrow knocks the weapons from his hands and then the belt from off of his waist. The Amazon's magic bow makes her aim flawless and Batman assesses the situation carefully before drawing a hidden batarang from his glove. The archer Amazon fires again and connects with the batarang, but this time the projectile does not float harmlessly away, but instead smacks the solar shield wielding Amazon in the shoulder. As she reels from the impact, her solar energy blast hits Superman instead of Green Lantern's crumbling protective shield, infusing the Man of Steel with an extra boost of solar energy. Amazed at the domino effect she has unwittingly caused, the Amazon archer does not hear Batman sneak up from behind and drop her into unconsciousness with an application of pressure on a nerve cluster near her neck. The Flash, who is too busy getting kicked around, doesn't even notice Green Lantern swoop in and send his speedy attacker flying with a well-aimed ring blast. Thanking his partner, the Flash runs to Hawkgirl, speeding around her so fast that the tidal wave smothering her into the sandy beach is redirected to the flaming magical hand that has captured J'onn and the Amazon warrior who controls it. The fire is put out and the Amazon warrior is washed away as Superman continues to battle against Queen Hippolyta, whose powers have been magnified by the wings she wears. Batman distracts the queen by sending an arrow whizzing past her head and then destroys the magical urns that have given the Amazons the loyalty of the Earth women.

Enraged, the goddess Athena orders Hippolyta to destroy Batman. "Watch out! She's unbeatable!" Superman warns. "Really? So am I!" Batman retorts.

The Caped Crusader rushes toward Diana as Hippolyta flies after him, wielding her magical staff and hurling it at him as he ducks behind the giant gem that has captured Wonder Woman. The staff smashes through the gem and imbeds itself in Batman's shoulder as Wonder Woman is freed from her confines. Lassoing the goddess Athena, she demands the instigator reveal its true identity. Her lasso of truth forces the magical spell to break, freeing the Amazons from their mind control and altering Athena's figure into the visage of Ares, the god of war. Realizing he has failed, Ares disappears, and the Amazons realize that they have been forced to play a cruel game. J'onn and Batman are healed from their injuries with magic and Green Lantern destroys the last of the urns. The Amazons and Justice League depart on good terms as Queen Hippolyta recognizes that man's world may one day be free of evil thanks to its incredible heroes.

4Story - 4: So far, the Justice League has been scoring high with some really good, fun reads. This issue was no exception. While the story was essentially one giant battle scene, the combat was clever and calculated and depicted very well by artists Ku and Leigh. Batman's intricate strategies were fun to watch played through and seeing Superman "super-charged" by an extra dose of solar energy wasn't too shabby either. The Flash came through with some great dialogue and it was cool to see J'onn shapeshifting into Supergirl. As well, the story showed a little edge and some daring by bringing up the whole man vs. woman conflict that seems to be growing as a more dominant issue everyday as feminist groups gain power and support. For a "kid's" comic book, the controversial issue was fairly well explored with the Flash's sexist comment and the depiction of women as men's slaves on page 2. In fact, besides a few minor complaints, this issue had pretty much everything going for it. One complaint is that the Amazon women were not as powerful as I thought they were supposed to be. I don't keep up with Wonder Woman much, so this may be my own fault, but I expected the Amazons to have the same physical strength as Diana... but Batman was able to knock one out by hitting a pressure point and the Amazons only seemed to be powerful because of their weaponry. The second complaint was that Wonder Woman uses her "truth lasso," but in the animated series, her lasso is not capable of this power. It has been cited that the lasso is simply indestructible and nothing else. Finally, my last complaint is a fairly important one as it pertains to the animated series. Obviously, this entire fiasco must occur after the television episodes entitled "Paradise Lost" because in the first installment of that show, Wonder Woman has not yet returned to Themyscira since she left to defend the world against the alien threat. However, at the end of those two episodes, Wonder Woman is exiled from the island for having brought men to Themyscira, and yet there is no mention of this ever having happened in this issue. Similarly, Wonder Woman flies away from the island at the end of this issue without suffering any of the consequences or complaints she faced at the end of the Paradise Lost episodes.

4Art - 4: Ku comes through with some gorgeous layouts and pencil work in this issue that are essential for the battle oriented feel of the story. Leigh adds some great shading and ink work, especially at the beginning when the Amazons are speaking with "Athena". My favorite page is probably pg. 15 just because there's a gorgeous two panel picture at the top of the page where Batman is looking at the rest of the League's perils. Ku does a great job adding details in the background and making the art have a very cinematic, fluid flow. Another favorite moment in the issue was the Flash shying away from an enraged Hawkgirl in the background of the frames after his sexist comment.

5Cover Art - 5: Wow! Nicely done, Mr. Ku. Hundreds of Amazon women swarm the Justice League and each face, body, and likeness is different and carefully rendered. The use of color is especially well-done as the brownish sea of Amazon warriors leads the eye straight to the middle of the page with the multicolored brilliance of the Justice League. This cover pops out of the shelves and promises (and delivers) a solid, fun issue.

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January 2002

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