Written by Bryan Hitch
Art by Jesus Merino, Andy Owens, and Tomeu Morey
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: September 7, 2016

The extinction of mankind slows to a crawl with shocking developments aplenty in chapter 4 of the Justice League’s opening arc.

We pick back up with the spread out team each dealing with separate, but connected problems concerning the mysterious enemy known as “The Kindred” and for many plot points being juggled in the air. We’re left with deepening questions, ongoing struggles, and a surprising reveal along the way!

The biggest takeaway from the get go is Tony Daniel taking a break from this issue of the title and it’s now Jesus Merino on art duties. Nothing gets lost in the shuffle with Merino, all the players are shown in top form wherever they happen to be. The two rookie Lanterns, Jessica and Simon continue the type of banter and action you’d expect in their starring series Green Lanterns.

We don’t stick with a specific story for very long because Hitch has the entire League either paired or solo as the story goes on. It’s interesting seeing the pairs and the situations they find themselves in. Cyborg and Batman are dealing with the down and dirty aspects of the invasion with Cyborg feeling the brunt of the effects of their current battle in more ways than one. The art gets dark, muddled, and gritty for their section amplifying the fear and terror of what this global insane means for the team.

This isn’t just another alien invasion. The Kindred have a purpose for Earth and the intrigue of just what exactly they do is seen with the pairing of Wonder Woman and Flash.

It’s something to be said about the art team keeping in line with the art we’re used to already on a big budget title like this. The Wonder Woman and Flash pairing is more chaotic and mystified than the other plot points because they are at the more or less “Ground Zero” for the event disrupting the entire Earth.

Merino remains great at capturing the appropriate faces for the end times. The fear, desperation, and curios faces of characters all hold steady throughout and as an issue that serves as the penultimate chapter for the arc…it’s the fairly loud calm before the insane storm and Bryan Hitch is putting the team through several ringers to say the least!

Even Superman, at his best in the Earth’s core, is struggling against an issue that needs both brain and brawn, meanwhile Aquaman — the most separated out of all of the team — might just be the savior Earth needs. Over the course of the entire issue, each pairing builds on others in twisted ways that deepen the mystery of what exactly the endgame is.

Merino and Owens give each section its own flair and coloring: Superman battles and frets over what to do in brightly colored panels, sweat visible as time runs out. Cyborg and Batman are drenched in a more horror vibe and provide a human level view of the cosmic sized picture. Wonder Woman and Flash are thrown into mysticism and unknown danger with purple hazes and speech bubbles letting us know The Kindred have personality with avatars to boot. Aquaman races into danger as a beacon for his people, and the two Green Lanterns end the issue with a rather large bombshell.

Whether this issue puts things into perspective for the concluding chapter remains to be seen but, a cool down before the finale never hurt anybody and issue #4 of Justice League does just that.

With the art switch up keeping pace with what came before and more of a focus on who, what, and where the Justice League are and facing after three issues of global action…this issue reaffirms the mystery of The Kindred and the overall arc before the conclusion later this month.

The Verdict: 7.0/10



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