Saturday, March 24, 2012


Written by Geoff Johns
Guest Artwork by Gene Ha and Art Lyon

Has enough time passed that I can say I'm disappointed in Justice League. What could have been an intimate and worthwhile re-introduction to the greatest superhero team ever has been sorely lacking. The narrative style makes the reader feel like an outside observer instead of being connected to the drama and action unfolding. It's unfortunate that a writer as talented as Geoff Johns has lowered his standards to be more visually appealing and cater to the lowest common denominator. Obviously, everyone knows what the Justice League is, but the whole point of the 'New 52' was to reset everything and start from (near) scratch to build something better and more cohesive. Justice League relies too heavily on readers being invested in each characters' individual titles for character development and emotional connection. If you don't read The Flash, you'd honestly have no idea what kind of person Barry Allen is from the pages of Justice League. And if you've never read a Green Lantern book before, Hal Jordan comes off as the biggest douchebag in the universe. All this being said, this month's issue was hit a bit closer to the target, but still misses the mark on a few key points.

Now that the League is an established entity, it seems like some time has passed since their fight with Darkseid and they now have some semi-partnership with the United Nations. In a clever and insightful one-off, Johns explains that the UN provides the League with food and living necessities as part of their working agreement. This might seem like a small detail, but it's one that was never really talked about before. Much like Tony Stark and the Avengers over at Marvel, many assumed Bruce Wayne's coiffeurs were paying the JL bills. But in this modern age, it became increasingly unlikely that the Wayne fortune could sustain the basic needs of the League, let alone a giant, orbiting space watchtower.

Steve Trevor takes center stage this issue as the UN liaison to the Justice League and a possible romantic interest for Wonder Woman. A bulk of the issue proper deals with Trevor's relationship with the League. After the requisite fight this issue - against some rando infected by some spore-based leech monster - Johns turns the focus to the real-world issues that would plague an organization like the Justice League. At Trevor's press conference, reporters begin to suggest that the League should take over governmental operations, that the American people trust Superman and Batman far more than their elected officials. It's another clever moment for Johns as he comments on the current state of the government-population relationship.

Unfortunately, we still get almost no team time or deeper understanding of the characters outside of Steve Trevor who isn't a League member anyway. The first six issues did little to give these six individuals reason to come together (really, Darkseid's appearance was way too convenient), and this issue gives nothing more by way of meaning. Again, the 'New 52' was supposed to be about bringing in new readers. Without giving context, Johns is stripping away the Justice League of everything that makes them awesome. The Avengers - at least in the comics these days - are getting super lame because Marvel keeps adding new spinoff teams (and ongoing series'), switching members and not providing emotional connections. Johns needs to step up the quality on Justice League before readers begin losing interest.


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