*ties into the Dark Days: Metal crossover
Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern have been taken by the Nightmare Batmen. Superman and Batman are missing in the Dark Multiverse. The fate of the Justice League now lies upon Cyborg, who has been taken apart and tormented by the Murder Machine and Batman Who Laughs.
The Mother Box within is telling Cyborg to give his humanity over to it so that he may achieve his perfect form. However, another voice calls out to Victor, telling him that he will need his identity to win this fight. Which path will Cyborg take?
Between, Justice League #33, Flash, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, and previous Justice League tie-ins to Metal, JL#33 is by far the most cohesive tale of “Bats Out of Hell.”
It actually has its own beginning, middle, and end. None of the other issues really did that. They were all piggy-backing off of Metal and just meandering around a little. That’s not to say there wasn’t fun to be had in watching the Justice League duke it out with their Nightmare Batmen inversions, but they weren’t exactly stories so much as snippets of various scenes.
Justice League #33 works better than those issues by actually having an arc. There is a beginning, middle, and end. There’s a character conflict. Is the conflict original or anything, but a more condensed version of Cyborg’s fear of no longer being human? No, not really. But it’s something, and it works.
That being said, good lord, he only communicates in football metaphors, and it’s John Maddening.
The ending isn’t especially satisfying. It goes the “I Have No Mouth but I Must Scream” route of making you question whether the Justice League is escaping or just walking further into Barbatos’s trap. That’s not a bad ploy, but it is incongruous with this story of a character realizing their potential and becoming the champion they were always meant to be.
Tyler Kirkham and Mikel Janin split this comic in a fairly creative manner. Kirkham, whose style is less clean and more line-heavy, depicts the world in which the Justice League are trapped. Janin, whose style looks more computerized and 3D-rendered, portrays the world inside Cyborg’s mind. That’s a clever use of each artists’ style, and it definitely adds something to the comic.
Arif Prianto and Jeromy Cox provide the color work for the comic, and it looks really good, too. The outside is darker and redder, whereas the world of Cyborg’s mind is brighter and with more of a bluish hue.
This comic isn’t perfect, but it is still the most cohesive and enjoyable of the “Bats Out of Hell” issues. Cyborg is awesome. Watching him rise to the occasion is engaging, and it has some potential implications for the future of the Justice League. This one earns a recommendation. Give it a read.
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