Justice League Annual 2 a Much Welcomed Single-Issue Story

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Justice League Annual 2

If you've seen any of my livestream rants on our YouTube channel, you know I regularly decry the loss of the "one and done" comic books, issues that contain a fully realized story--no continuations, no reference to extra-titular events. So, seeing as how Robert Venditti has complied with that in his delivery of "Death Trap," the story contained in JUSTICE LEAGUE ANNUAL #2, it behooves me to not only read it but to review it for others as well.

Venditti's story is the classic locked-room mystery: a corpse is discovered in the most secure facility on the planet: the Justice League's Hall of Justice. Upon discovery, Batman immediately calls in Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern (John Stewart, specifically) -- an uncharacteristic (and the only) sign of teamwork from the Darknight Detective. But each of the heroes has a unique skill set -- not necessarily related to their super powers -- that Batman thinks will be useful in analyzing the situation and coming to a conclusion.

However, during the investigation, things take a quick turn for the deadly when the Hall of Justice is sealed off, and the building's own defense protocols attack the Justice League, These defenses are designed to prevent villains like Zod, Sinestro, and Reverse-Flash -- villains who conveniently have the same super-abilities as the core League members, effectively neutralizing our heroes and forcing them to rely on their wits and teamwork.

And teamwork is what it's all about, as we discover what's at the root of the Hall's heel-turn. It's a bit "After School Special" in its messaging, and it still gives Batman a bit of a Stark-level technical genius boost that has become common. But since it is a decent mystery, and because Venditti does show that stories can be engaging and compressed (and we hope a copy got passed over to Brian Michael Bendis as a "how to" example), the issue has many things in it to enjoy.

Aaron Lopresti's artwork is servicable throughout the book, but there's something about the coloration and the lack of details (and frequently backgrounds) that gives this issue a "cereal box giveaway" quality level. It's not bad, it's just... unquantifiably "less" somehow.

Overall, we're giving this book a recommend. It's been too long that a comic tells a story all at once, and also be a book that any age reader can pick up and enjoy.

4.0 / 5.0