Brian Michael Bendis and His Run on Justice League: Hit, Miss or Both?

As the current volume of Justice League wraps up later this month with #75 being the final issue of the series that features Death of the Justice League, by writer Joshua Williamson, I’m curious what folks thought of Bendis’ run on the series, which ran from issues 59 through 74 and also includes Justice League Annual 2022.

I’m a bit behind on the series ATM (just started the Leagues of Chaos arc in #72), but everything I’ve read so far has been quite fun. There are some bumps here and there, but the good far, far outweighs the bad.

What do you think of Bendis’ run on the Infinite Frontier era of Justice League?



The Not So Good:

  • I felt like as it progressed, Bendis was kind of rushing through it.
  • The Checkmate stuff was just ok. In fact I feel like all the Leviathan & Checkmate content has been a big swing by Bendis that hasn’t really left its mark on DC all that much, outside of his own books.
  • Still a bit confused about the fake Deathstrokes. They were hired by the Royal Flush gang… why?
  • The villain in the final arc came out of left field. No buildup to Xanadoth; she just kinda appeared.
  • No Martian Manhunter or Green Lantern. No Wonder Woman, but that was expected given what the character was dealing with.

The Good (to end on positive notes)

  • Interaction between League members was great. In particular I liked any banter involving Green Arrow, especially when fawning a bit over Supes :slightly_smiling_face:.
  • Nice throwbacks to old stuff, like Super Friends. I think I laughed out loud when Zan turned into a bucket of ocean water to to “hit” Aquaman with. Silly, I know, but I love it:
  • Art was strong throughout.
  • I enjoyed the final arc. Was nice to see the JL and JL Dark come together as a team.
  • Loved Hippolyta filling in for Diana. Was a nice touch to put her in her daughter’s shoes for a stretch of time.
  • Black Adam being brought in by Clark of all people. I thought it was very well executed. I liked seeing Clark act on instinct like that, seeing something more in the anti-hero than the rest of the League. Wonder if this will stick (I would like it to) and what it means for Shazam.
  • Finally, Naomi was also a great addition. Was nice to see a new member with power levels that are apparently through the roof get mentored by and work with the classic JL heroes.
  • [Edit] Forgot to mention the action scenes. Very will done, especially team action. I always wonder how much a writer has to do with those, vs. the artists.

Overall not a home run for Bendis (for me that was his Superman book with Ivan Reis), but a single or a double. A mostly fun read, that doesn’t feel like an essential one, imo.

[Edit] I mentioned a lot more good than I did bad, huh? Feels like if Bendis had more time, he could have maybe smoothed things out and built up some underdeveloped ideas more. Anywho… forward march to the JL dying!



Just wanted to say thank you for starting these threads for current reads. Current books make up 90% of my reading, so it’s nice to have these threads to discuss ‘em. Good effort :+1:.


You’re welcome. As Stan Lee said in Mallrats, “You keep reading 'em, I’ll keep writing 'em.”


SN: I hope you’re eager to talk about Flashpoint Beyond in 11 days…:superman_hv_3:


Aaaaaah… honestly thinking of skipping it… but it’s Geoff Johns… but… we’ll see :joy:


I can’t in good conscience skip anything by Geoff Johns, as he’s my #1 fav modern writer.

Anyhow, you’ll see a thread for Flashpoint Beyond some time soon…if the Thomas Wayne Batman doesn’t muck things up, that is. :smirk: :full_moon_with_face:


I don’t think it’ll be remembered among Bendis’ best runs. There’s some good stuff in there, primarily the banter with which he always excels. But it’s an aimless run, stuffs in plots like the Checkmate tie-in that goes nowhere, and the attempt to elevate Naomi is incredibly unsubtle.


I think I agree with you on the Checkmate stuff. Elevating Naomi on the other hand, however unsubtle it was, worked for me. I enjoyed seeing a new hero as part of the overall team fabric, as opposed to operating in a vacuum. I had also (at the time) not read her solo series yet, but had no problems following along, which I thought was a job well done by Bendis.


Massive miss for me. Just a long useless drag from open to end. This is my introduction to Bendis and god it sucked. Truly atrociously paced, managing to be too slow and too fast at the same time. There were a couple of fun lines but largely the dialogue was meandering and too much, with no regard given whatsoever to the specific voices of any characters.


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 :pray: :pleading_face:).

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.


Agree, word for every word.

Snyder’s run had its high points of course, but there were other parts that felt like the ambition exceeded the execution.

My favorite run on this series was Robert Venditti’s. It was small, but a lot of fun, with issues 40-43 being not only a highlight of his work on the title, but also the title as a whole when all of its writers are factored in.


It’s funny, I referenced how I think Bendis is a great “idea guy” and this also applies to Snyder, but in different ways. I feel like every issue of his JL run was just page after page of crazy, interesting, trippy, fun, and sometimes mind-blowing ideas… but by the time my brain had begun to process any single one of the ideas, Snyder had moved on to the next :exploding_head: concept… sometimes in the same panel! I think maybe if he had a co-writer to flesh out some of those ideas, or… like, a team of writers to do spin-off mini series to explain them…? That could have helped.

I remember him saying “the next arc is a little more down to earth, before things get really cosmic!” and the arc he was referencing was when Mxytlptlk was attacking the Hall while most of the team ran off to meet the ascended, future version of themselves.

I feel like Morrison’s run had the high concept trippy stuff, but between those arcs, the JLA met the Ultramarine Corps, or had a JSA team-up, or fought a normal guy in a high-tech battle suit. It grounded things a little more.

I was surprised how much I liked that run, but it was pretty great! And, honestly, in a way it was kind of what I was talking about above! Snyder had this crazy, high-concept story going with Death Metal… and this JL arc was one of many spin-offs that helped expand on the ideas that Snyder was burning through at a mile a minute!


Like others have said, it was hit or miss for me.

I liked seeing Queen Hippolyta in the book, and how she related to the other heroes. Really enjoyed seeing Naomi and the Wonder Twins take part. I’m really intrigues by Naomi, and she needs to be used more.

As for Zan & Jayna, as much as I like them, I don’t think they are up to League standards yet. However, I do want to see more of them, so I hope they don’t end up in limbo. Given the have an HBO Max movie coming up, I’m hoping that’s enough to keep a small spotlight on them, somewhere.


Agreed about the Wonder Twins. I liked that Bendis built off the idea from the Wonder Comics Wonder Twins series, and Bendis’ Young Justice series… that they were interns for the Hall of Justice, (and later, friends/allies of Young Justice), not League members. So, not usually going on missions, but in a pinch… if they have powers, why not use em?

I’d like to see continuations or new books under the Wonder Comics heading, but it seems like that’s run its course…?


With all the praise he gets, I’ve come to accept that I’m just not a Venditti guy, and that’s ok. I read his JL run, Superman ‘78, Superman: Man of Tomorrow, and the first 12 issues of Hawkman. I found most of it serviceable, but nothing moved me to the point of saying I really liked it. I feel like his stories lack a certain sense of urgency or excitement. I have a lot of respect for him of course; just a matter of taste I guess.

Snyder’s run was very good; marred by one main thing for me: 40+ issues of the JL losing time after time, leading up to Death Metal was too much. I remember #25 when Supes breaks out of his Sixth Dimension prison (my favorite of the run)… I thought to myself “Do more of this, Snyder, instead of always kicking them when their down.” As grand as the scales were, it was depressing to read at certain points. It needed more hope, and that only came at the end of Death Metal.


I thought it started off promising but like most of his stuff (aside from ultimate Spider-Man and Jessica Jone and Daredevil) he goes off track. That’s what happen here, I honestly think he would be a great fit for Green arrow. Also I was disappointed that a green lantern (Hal Jordan) wasn’t on the team. But I honestly believe they were saving him up for dark crisis and D.C wants as much exposure to John Stewart right now since he’s their main lantern.


Middle of the pack Joe Kelly/ Brad Meltzer ish.


Welcome back to the community!

I’m partial to John Stewart so I’m always happy to see him included :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I was all onboard with the new team. I thought the JL had been treading water for a couple of years, so I was excited for a shake-up. I really liked Hippolyta taking Diana’s slot as she has a whole different vibe. It started off pretty strong, but I felt it kind of dissolved into general confusion and became haphazard and kind of listless. I couldn’t tell if he just lacked the passion for it, or maybe it was editorial interference. Regardless, it fell flat fast. I really disliked the addition of Damon Rose…secret brother to Lois Lane…ugh…Naomi, though, was a strong addition…her “internship” experiences should have been explored more (kind of like when Kitty Pryde joined the X-Men…yes, I just aged myself). Overall, like Leviathan, a GREAT idea that ended up being poorly executed.


:astonished: Joe Kelly was middle of the pack? Haha, I guess everyone has their own taste, but man I loved that run!