Justice League Adventures #16
DC Comics (March, 2003)
“Hide And Seek”
WRITER: Scott McCloud
PENCILER: John Delaney
INKER: John K. Snyder
COLORIST: John Kalisz
SEPARATIONS: Heroic Age
LETTERER: Bill Oakley
EDITOR: Stephen Wacker
J’onn intercepts a message from the aliens that led to the DCAU version of the Justice League to form. the League was already aware they were planning a new offensive on Earth but according to the message one of them is impersonating one of the heroes. J’onn tries to figure out who did it without alerting the traitor while trying to find an ally. I won’t spoil who it is but when he/she realizes it the memories of that hero causes him/her to turn on his fellow invaders proving to have become as much a hero as the one he/she/it impersonated. (Seriously, does this species even have a gender?)
What they got right: I like the idea of one of the enemies being a spy “corrupted” by being a superhero and realizing they liked being an individual with an actual name. It’s probably the only way to use them again and it works for the story. Bring them back too often and their effect as a villain weakens. (Look at the Borg from the classic Star Trek continuity or Doomsday, and if I never see a Weeping Angel again I’ll consider it a benefit.) Some villains shouldn’t come back again but this makes good use of this one. I like how they came up with a device to block the aliens’ mind reading abilities so they don’t know the League is on to the invasion, and how that stops J’onn from just reading their minds. It’s a good in-universe way to explain why J’onn has to do it the hard way.
What they got wrong: A full episode length story might have given us more time to see J’onn interacting with the others and exploring his friendship with each of them. I’m not sure how our hero made his decision that the red herring was the spy. Also, Oakley’s credit space this issue is confusing. It looks like this:
SCOTT MCCLOUD, writer JOHN DELANEY penciler JOHN K. SNYDER III inker, BILL OAKLEY, letterer JOHN KALISZ colorist HEROIC AGE, separations
Reading that quickly you’d think Snyder was the penciler. I shouldn’t have to pay that close attention to the credits to know who did what. It’s bad enough when I have to translate joke credits.
Recommendation: A good story that could have used a bit more space to explore J’onn a bit more, but still one worth picking up.