Thursday, July 29, 2021

RWBY/Justice League #4 Review


Written By: Marguerite Bennett
Art by: Aneke
Colors By: Hi-Fi
Letters By: Gabriela Downie
Cover By: Mirka Andolfo
Cover Price: $3,99
Release Date: July 27, 2021

Reviewed By: Michael G

We have officially crossed the mid-way point of this miniseries, and things are starting to pick up. As our full Justice League roster is formed and gathered together, certain mysteries get explored and the plot picks up steam. But will the answers we get be worth our time? Let’s find out!

The first chapter of the issue takes us to our final splintered group consisting of Yang, Blake, and Clark as they investigate their own lead at Vale Harbor in the case of the disappearing individuals with powerful semblances. It’s there that they encounter Arthur, a shark Faunus who attacks them believing they are the ones responsible for the disappearances. The misunderstanding is quickly clarified when they are all attacked by brainwashed sea monsters, and team up to fight them off. After the fight, Clark reveals that he recognizes Arthur as the one who led an escape at the Dust Mine where Clark was being held and used for slave labor. Unfortunately, Arthur was unable to save Clark in the escape, but Clark doesn’t blame Arthur, choosing instead to ask for his help in the current crisis. The banter in this issue is much improved from the previous one, due in no small part to the fact that Bennett has Yang’s voice and wit nailed perfectly. There’s also some playful teasing towards the burgeoning romance between Yang and Blake, something that’s always a crowd-pleaser for RWBY fans.

Although it’s yet another chapter devoted to presenting a RWBY-ized Leaguer, Arthur gets a much splashier design and introduction than either Barry or Victor did the last issue, and he’s got plenty of charisma and swagger. He looks just enough like his original comics look, while also having a distinct flair to him to make him feel original and organic to the RWBY world. It also helps that he is directly tied to a mystery that has been teased at throughout the series so far, that being the unknown origins of Clark. Bennett introduces this connection in kind of a clunky way though, with Clark just calling out Arthur by name and stating his powers out of nowhere, without delving too deeply into their shared history. Arthur’s empathic semblance is a nice way to explain his ability to communicate with fish, and also has the added benefit of making him acutely aware of how other characters are feeling. I do however feel that Bennett is playing the Faunus card to diminishing returns, as although it is stated that Arthur is a shark Faunus, there really isn’t anything about his anatomy that clearly shows it, and instead just feels like an easy excuse to explain why he lives in the water. 

In the second chapter, the three groups are brought together, and brief introductions are made before the gang is attacked by the brainwashed kidnappees, led by team JNPR. A brawl erupts, wherein our heroes are severely outnumbered but are rescued at the last minute by the arrival of Jessica Cruz. She, with some help from the others, builds a ship construct capable of taking everyone away to safety. Through internal monologues, we also discover that Bruce has made a discovery, deducing that all the kidnappings are connected to water channels, and Jessica reveals to the readers that she is somehow responsible for everything that’s happening, and begins confessing this to the others as the cliff-hanger for next issue. 

As a big Jessica Cruz fan, I was thrilled that she was chosen as the Green Lantern for this incarnation of the Justice League. Though we’ll have to wait for the next issue to really dig into her backstory, I’m liking what we get of her so far both in terms of design and her power set. With seven Leaguers, on top of the core four RWBY teammates, it’s clear that this cast of characters is a little too big to allow for each character to get due attention in every issue, but this chapter did offer up some highlights for Bruce, Clark and the newly introduced Jessica. I wish we could have spent a few more panels with our characters bantering and getting to know each other better instead of jumping straight into the action. Some of the dialogue coming from the characters in the heat of battle feels a little stilted too, and the narration blocks from different characters sometimes make it difficult to tell apart who is talking. Even with these gripes, overall, it’s a fun, fast-paced chapter.

The art baton is passed back to Aneke this time around, who drew the first issue, and is an improvement over the previous issue. The designs for both Arthur and Jessica are really cool and flashy, once again bringing that perfect blend of DC comics and RWBY that make this series’ versions of Bruce and Diana work so well. The action scenes are well-drawn as well, and the color pallets that identify each character’s distinct look make the fights easy to follow. The backgrounds are sometimes a bit too empty and lifeless, but aside from that, the art was definitely on point.

Bits and Pieces

Halfway through this miniseries, and while the character roster still feels a little too big to allow everyone their moment to shine, an emphasis on action and the introduction of our final two Justice League members give this issue enough momentum to remain fun and engaging. With some good art, cute character interactions, and the promise of answers to our questions in the next issue, this is a solid read for those still invested in this charming crossover.


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