Mixed bag for me. It was probably my favorite thing Bendis has written so far during his stint at DC, but that’s in large part because the bar wasn’t set high. It’s definitely a matter of taste, and I have a lot of respect for Bendis as an ideas guy… (it’s a pity that Wonder Comics isn’t still going strong, and I think Superman wanting to be even more truthful and “coming out” as Clark Kent is a great thought experiment in story form, for example). His dialogue on most of his DC books has driven me crazy, where so many characters have the same stammer, never quite get to the point, and I’m left wondering… wait, did that just mean to be a statement I should understand about some cosmically important thing within the DCU, or was that a joke, or was that just foreshadowing that the writer forgot to come back to? His Young Justice was another that was a total mixed bag for me with parts I loved and parts I was a little perplexed by.
I feel like his dialogue wasn’t nearly so… blurry…? on JL and I loved his team roster (even over my constant question of, “what exactly was he counting as Black Adam’s continuity here? A pretty bad villain/anti-hero? Or did WW3 happen, because that would be tougher to accept…”). I thought most of his stories were fun, interesting, and… after Snyder’s run… a nice chance to remember that the League does do “normal” superhero stuff sometimes, not just trippy, high concept stuff that out-metas itself issue by issue. (In case you can’t tell, I really liked some parts of Snyder’s run too, but also felt like it was a little unmoored in its direction and scope…)
I thought the team interaction was well played, and that Bendis did a good job with almost all of the characterization and group dynamic. I liked that he was doing cosmic level stuff simultaneously with down-to-earth black ops stuff. I liked that the League felt like the hub of earth’s superhero activity, both in terms of stories that touched on other books and events, and in terms of how buzzy the Hall of Justice felt, with other heroes popping in whether it was for lunch or to fend off an attack. And I liked seeing the main team work alongside the Dark team in the final arc (though I’m still wondering where to watch for Ram V’s plot threads to pick back up ).
Was it my favorite JL run ever? Nah. There were definitely a few plot points that didn’t seem to pay off (whether that was because he was leaving the book sooner than he thought or by design), and the idea that Superman and Batman and the rest would invite Naomi to the team, bring her into battle… and not have tested her powers to at least a point where they could be defined to some reasonable level… feels weird. I like the character, but come on, Batman’s going to make sure he has some solid idea what you can do if he’s working with you, especially if you’re a kid. (I have no problem with a writer including their “pet project” characters on a team roster, both to advance the character’s story, and to give the writer someone they can actually affect/change, since Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc., have other writers who have priority over what can or can’t be changed, but she’s “a new mega power” that can fly, do some sort of energy blast stuff, maybe has super strength, and whose powers might do something when they interact with magic…? I’m ready to know more what her powers are, and League membership seems like it would have been a great chance to define them a bit. To say that this feels like “a long game” would be an understatement.)
Also, special shout-out to David Marquez for introducing what may be my favorite Black Canary costume in a long time! I honestly never really thought a large chest symbol would work for her, but I love this costume!
Overall, would I read more of this arc if it continued? Yeah, I’d be eager to see what else he would have done. Did it do everything I would have hoped? Or, seemingly, everything even Bendis might have hoped (if the changing solicitations were any indication)? Not completely.