Justice League #7
“State of Fear,” Part 2
Writer – Bryan Hitch
Pencils – Jesus Merino
Inks – Andy Owens
Colors – Adriano Lucas
Letters – Richard Starking & Comicraft
Cover – Tony S. Daniel & Sandu Florea
Variant – Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn
Assist Editors – Amedeo Turturro & Diego Lopez
Editor – Brian Cunningham
WARNING: Potential Spoilers Ahead!
“What happens when the people with the power to change worlds are governed by their fears?”
This is the central question posed by Bryan Hitch and company in Justice League #7.
And, what an appropriate question for our troubled times. “State of Fear” could be interpreted as social commentary, particularly when viewed through the lenses of the ultra-divisive political season. Much of the political climate and conversation in the U.S. seems fear-driven, and it’s coming from both sides of the aisle. These fears being preyed upon are real, or at least perceived (which makes them real in the minds of those perceiving). The candidates and their parties are simply giving them voice.
In Justice League #7, Jessica Cruz makes a similar observation, “That thing didn’t make us feel these things, they were all there already. It just made us see them.” Fear is ugly. It reveals the innermost parts of ourselves – the parts we bury deep within. Conversely, facing one’s fears can illuminate one’s deepest desires. The heroes of the Justice League are made aware of their fears – and the results are not pretty. However, this plot device gives readers initial insights into the character development of the League.
Batman fears being controlled by guilt. Superman fears others (Batman, in particular) controlling his son. Cyborg is afraid of being seen as grotesque. Simon is afraid of isolation. Jessica is afraid of being known. Flash is afraid of not reaching his full potential. Perhaps most troubling, Aquaman is afraid to trust other world leaders and Wonder Woman is afraid of what is necessary to accomplish her mission of peace. They join together and, essentially, threaten the world with war.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment:
Jessica, again, comes to the League’s rescue and overcomes her fear and pushes back whatever monster brought it to bear. However, the damage is done. The heroes’ deepest, darkest fears have been revealed – to themselves and their colleagues. It all becomes too much for one member of the Justice League. While the “State of Fear” storyline might have come to a close, my hunch is the ramifications will continue to be felt long into Hitch’s run on Justice League.
The art in Justice League #7 felt heavier than previous issues. Tony Daniel’s signature style is gone in favor of darker, heavier lines and inks. The tone of the issue certainly necessitated a darker feel, but I found myself missing the thinner lines of previous issues – particularly on the faces of the characters. Still, the story moves well visually within the panels. The main villain in the story appears only as a shadow. Its voice is captured well visually through the black and red contrasts within the lettering.
And, isn’t fear a lot like a shadow? Always lurking, but out-of-sight; casting a dark abstraction of reality that grows as time ticks by.
Justice League #7 is not as emotionally-charged as the previous issue (and, in hindsight, I would give Justice League #6 higher marks!). Here, the characters realize they are being manipulated by fear rather quickly, but must still face the consequences of their actions. This storyline seems to end rapidly – leaving me to wonder if these surfaced fears will show up in future issues. Justice League #7 raises some interesting questions, explores intriguing character insights, and provides much fodder for future stories.
So, what happens when the people with the power to change worlds are governed by their fears?
We may yet find out.