Archive for Dear Justice League

Letters to the League

Okay, as long as I’ve got some new-ish comics to review, let’s keep the reviews going. Time to take a look at Dear Justice League, written by Michael Northrop and illustrated by Gustavo Duarte.

The premise here is pretty simple — it’s a bunch of kids sending fan mail to the Justice League of America, and how the heroes respond. Does Superman ever make mistakes? Oh mercy, does he ever. Does Green Lantern ever consider getting a more fashionable costume? Does Batman have advice for surviving the first day at a new school? Is Cyborg willing to challenge his fans in video game tournaments?

And while all this is going on, the League slowly becomes aware of a new danger looming over the world. Once the emails have been read and answered, will the JLA be able to defeat this new invasion?

Verdict: I really hate to say it, but I’m thumbing this one down. I had high hopes, ’cause the art really does look fantastic and charming, but it was just frustratingly short of actual storytelling.

This was marked as a middle-grade graphic novel, and I feel like that’s a term that needs a better definition. I’ve seen fairly mature works listed as middle-grade, and I’ve seen less mature works, too. I’d been under the impression that middle-grade meant upper elementary to lower high school — but this felt like it was aimed right at much younger kids — and considering how bad some of the jokes are in this book, most of those younger kids still probably thought it was childish.

There’s a lot of stuff in here that’s fine. I love the entire chapter focusing on Wonder Woman — it makes her cool, responsible, and intelligent — and it still spotlights her fun-loving side with the flashback to her childhood. I love Aquaman’s battle with Black Manta. I love the fact that they used Simon Baz as Green Lantern. I liked the chapter with the Flash — it’s light-hearted with low stakes, but it’s an amusing way to deal with childhood bullies/trolls.

And man, is the art ever fun. I’m sure it appeals to kids, but it certainly appealed to me, too. It’s fun and funny and kinetic, and it does a great job depicting the world’s greatest superheroes.

Nevertheless. It felt like a book that wasted a lot of opportunities, like a book that assumed kids couldn’t handle a smarter story. But it’s the first in a longer series of graphic novels, and I hope the next volumes will be better.

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