I'm intrigued with the idea of David Graves as a new enemy for the Justice League. He started out as a big supporter and we've seen seeds of the fact that he's explored many areas of the DC Universe. Now that he blames the League for his loss and current condition, he's determined to obliterate them. He's not going to do this with brute strength or force, he's going to use their secrets against them and take them out.
The glimpse we get of some "other gods" that were "cast aside" is fascinating. It's a simple idea like this that opens up the "New 52" world even further. Graves has been exploring every corner of the world he could and the idea that there could be other areas and gods that we've never seen adds a lot of potential. It's an idea that would have to be used carefully but it serves Geoff Johns' purposes in the story nicely.
There are moments where we get to see the team interact. Even though they've worked together for five years now, they still don't know everything about each other. It adds a different feel to the team than what we've seen before Flashpoint. This distrust makes it easier for Graves and makes you wonder how the team fully operates. There is also some mention to elements from some of the characters' solo books. This is an aspect that has been missing. We need to have more moments and references like this to appease those of us that wonder where the continuity is. Continuity can be a messy thing but seeing the effort made is always welcome and shows the writer cares enough to add it in.
I still enjoy seeing Jim Lee's art, even if there isn't a lot of big action scenes here. There are some moments I found myself stopping and just taking in the art in a panel or page.
The shining point in this issue is the backup. I can't help but be curious in seeing where Billy Batson's origin will take him. I've enjoyed the character for years and even though this is a pretty different take on Billy, I find myself glued to the few pages in the back of the issue each month. I love Gary Frank's art and each time we see a tiny new tidbit moving Billy a little bit closer to becoming Shazam, I can't help but get excited. And the last page is definitely worth seeing.
I did like issue #9 and I'm liking Graves as an enemy of the League but does feel weird that they do still know so little about each other. It has been five years. We don't know specifically how many adventures they've actually had in that time. It could be a dozen or it could be thousand. We know they don't trust others and won't let others on the team but Superman and Batman have formed a bond. Hal and Barry had one before. You would think there'd be more of a willingness to try to fully know and trust the teammate at your side. When Cyborg was going through the discoveries Graves had made, he was simply spouting off the Leagues' secrets to the other members that didn't know them.
Where does Wonder Woman keep her sword? It didn't appear she had it but was ready to attack at a moment's notice. Is it mystical and can appear when she wants it?
I shouldn't be more excited about the back-up story than I am about the main one.
We're not sure how many adventures the Justice League has had or how many villains they've faced. They have a new foe that just might have what it takes to defeat them. Graves is an interesting character and it'd be great to see more of his missing years to see what he's all about. Where the frustration comes in is still not knowing the Leagues' full history. We know they don't trust others but it appears they barely trust each other as well. It's hard to grasp that they would know so little about each other during the five years they've been working along side each other. The real glory in this issue is the back up with Billy Batson, building towards the appearance of Shazam. Despite seeing such a difference in his character, Johns and Gary Frank have me hooked and I can't get enough each month. The last page is stellar and if only we could get a full length series with the characters.