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

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!


Gave up on his JL run with issue #67. Worst run of Justice League EVER!


Joe Kelly, much like Ben Affleck in Phantoms, was “the bomb”.

He’s my third-favorite writer on JLA after Morrison and Waid.

To those who’ve said Bendis would be a good fit on a Green Arrow book, I absolutely agree.

TBH, I’d be a-okay with him helming a new volume of Green Arrow/Black Canary, as those two were among the Leaguers he wrote the best through his entire JL run.


Huh, it’s funny… but yeah, I feel like they were two of his best characters, even if maybe I never came to that conclusion as a complete thought. Given how impressed I’ve been with other recent DC writers, and given how I have liked Bendis’ DC ideas more than his execution in several cases (and my worry that a smaller cast might lead back to the weird dialogue stuff that he liked to do), I’d probably also consider a few other writers for that book, but… I mean, I feel surprisingly ok with this idea. :thinking: Maybe even intrigued to see where it would go. Which is saying something, since I’m pretty protective of Dinah, one of my favorites.

And yeah, as far as Joe Kelly… I mean, on one hand, the Giffen/DeMatteis era will always have a high spot on my list, and but Waid, despite being one of my favorite comic writers in general (his Flash helped make me the comic reader I am today, his first Legion version may still be my favorite, etc), I preferred a story arc or 2 of his JLA run over his overall run, so Kelly might have the better run in general for me…? Loved that stuff!


Speaking of Waid, are you digging World’s Finest?


First issue was a lot of fun. Before I read it and realized it’s a “period piece” book, I was a little concerned with where he’d go with the Doom Patrol… I love some of the newer series with those characters… (and the show!! Holy crap, the show…! Oops, getting sidetracked, sorry… where was I…?)

… oh right, but “sometime in the recent past” is kind of the perfect book for Waid to return to DC on. No need to worry about whether the JL is dying, or who is wearing the S or the cowl at any given moment… let Waid write some classic DC stuff. The first issue was great! Clark and Bruce in their prime. Villains* (*reductive?) in their classic form. And weird twists like the red k cocktail and the Doom Patrol. All with terrific characterization.

Also, it’s about freakin time someone called the Superman/Batman Batman/Superman book by its classic title again. Was that so hard? :joy:


One of the reasons I’m excited for the current World’s Finest book, is because in my years of DC fandom (which began in 1989, when I was 6), there’s never been a World’s Finest-branded ongoing on the shelves in that time, so this new series is kind of a historic first for fans of a certain age.

If you want to further discuss the current World’s Finest series in more detail (#2 is out in just two weeks! :partying_face: ), feel free to check out this thread. :superman_hv_4:


Ha! I was a regular Super Friends watcher and had a ton of Super Powers action figures, but only a handful of actual comics (aside from the tiny ones that came with the toys)… a Flash or 2, a couple satellite era JLofA… but really started collecting and reading around Panic in the Sky/Waid’s Flash/Jurgens JLA, and began collecting forwards and backwards (since I was wondering who the not-brown-haired GLs were, what the story was with Blue Beetle, how Supergirl could shape-shift, etc.) so I’m quite familiar with that era and that World’s Finest. :grin:


If you have those, and don’t want them anymore, I know someone who would happily take them off your hands.

They’re just toys, so they’re not worth much of anything…

“Oh, really? Well, I’ll just look on eBay.”

Noooo! :joy:

Oh well, I tried. :wink:

Super Powers is the coolest DC toy line of all time. :+1:t2:


I DO still have them, though a few have seen better days. What can I say, you give a kid an Aquaman figure (and a cartoon where the whole team regularly joined him underwater), and you think the whole team isn’t going to end up in the pool from time to time? :0_aquaman: That said, most of them have held up rather well. The capes made out of material probably took it the worst… :grimacing: