By Jonathan Edwards
Would you believe me if I said that this book suddenly got better? No? Good, because it didn't. Justice League of America #9 is a laughably bad issue, a weak ending to a weak story, and it doesn't even feel like Steve Orlando's even trying anymore. Seriously, all of the conflict kind of just gives up halfway through this shit. I mean, I guess Makson does still try and fight the JLA for a page. But come on, he's not going to win. He's a wild man, and they're the fucking Justice League of America. Honestly, I don't even know how he gets in as many hits as he does. It's like Makson was supposed to have super strength for no reason, and then they forgot to ever mention it. Does it seem like I'm just diving right it? Yes? Good, because I am.
First question, why the fuck does Makson have a conspiracy board in his apartment? Think about this for a moment. Dude is a wild man that was raised by lizards and has only been in normal human civilization for maybe a week. At what point in that premise does it make any sense that he would learn what a conspiracy board is and how to make one? It's not even a weird primal version of one, even if they try and suggest it is by throwing some blood and scratches on it. It still looks exactly the same as any other conspiracy board from any other story. But, how else will the JLA uncover Makson's plan? I don't know, and maybe it would matter if his plan wasn't literally just ripping off his shirt and telling all of his relatives that he's going to kill them. And really, even if they didn't figure that one out, wouldn't all of the screams coming from inside the building that half of the team is stationed at tip them off? Granted, it makes sense that a wild man only just returning to society would make up a fucking stupid plan, and there's a later moment with one of his relatives that seems to be trying to punctuate that. Except, the JLA still act like this was somehow a legitimate plan, so trying to make fun of the fact that it isn't only makes the main characters look like bigger idiots than Makson.
One of the most ridiculous moments of this issue occurs when the JLA break in to stop Makson's "plan." We get a close up panel of Ray, and he says "what is this? I trusted you!" as if him and Makson had some huge and emotional character development that this revelation suddenly betrays. Too bad this is also the only interaction those two characters have had on panel since the JLA first found Makson in the wild at the beginning of the last issue. I guess this is at least consistent with Ray's prior and utterly baffling willingness to trust Makson more than Batman. Later, he even goes on to criticize Bats for making a team based around giving people chances for self-improvement and then giving up on that idea. Motherfucker, were you not paying attention when Makson went back to the wild because he didn't want to deal with humanity? Ray is literally bitching about Batman not giving Makson a second chance when Makson outright doesn't want a second chance.
Sure, the art is fine I guess. But like I've said before, it's hard to care when the writing is so piss poor. One thing that is worth mentioning is how fucking silly the title splash page looks. We've got shirtless Makson hurtling through the air and looking like he's about to belly flop right onto the floor. And then, in the lower left corner, we've got a guy who I can only describe as looking like he got bored in the middle of trying to be afraid. Maybe Felipe Watanabe has given up as well, and he's just trying to emphasize how truly crap this story is.
There's plenty more dumb shit throughout this one. Obvious Batman aggrandizing, suddenly introducing a new character who's apparently supposed to be the actual family member of Makson's that was behind all of the shady dealings (and is in a grand total of seven panels), Ryan Choi talking about how he believed Makson had adapted to human life and trusted him, even though there was literally no justification for either in such a small timespan. And then, there's the ending teaser which comes straight out of fucking nowhere, and I'm sure that's where it'll end up going too. But, who knows? Maybe what we'll get in two weeks is Ray's mom talking some sense into her dumbass son. We won't, but a man can dream.
Justice League of America #9