I predict a riot...
Since my copy of Justice League #6 didn’t arrive this month, I thought I’d follow up on an earlier issue of Justice League. Number 2 seemed like a good place to start so here’s the review:
As Batman and Green Lantern attempt to ‘reason’ with Superman, Hal calls in some back up from a friend in their same line of work. Can this super-misunderstanding be resolved to combat a greater threat?
· Arguably, the greatest strength of this issue is that Johns delivers nonstop action. Various match ups such as Superman vs Batman, Superman vs Green Lantern and Superman vs Flash deliver a fast paced story that flows from page to page with battles galore. If you’re looking to get your fix of superhero on superhero violence then this gives it in spades.
· It was also nice to see Johns establish the parameters of the heroes’ powers and abilities. For instance, without prep Superman can easily take Batman, Green Lantern’s constructs are unable to hold the Kryptonian and the Flash is faster than Superman. Any questions about which of these 4 League members can win against the other is answered here.
· Another good thing about this issue is the continuation of the mistrust of superheroes. To be honest, these superheroes do tend to cause a lot of destruction despite the fact they’re trying to stop the bad guys which does stir up mistrust among the public as well as the military. Everyone seems to be against the heroes in this issue from the army to the public to STAR Labs. It adds to the already daunting threat that the fledgling League will have to overcome.
· An additional change Johns has made is that Superman and Batman were not the only Leaguers to have met outside the League. When the League was first created way back in the 60s, Superman and Batman had been teaming up to fight crime for some time now and were quite chummy with one another. However, in the New 52, Johns makes Green Lantern and the Flash the two heroes who have met each other outside the League and know each others identities. An obvious choice given that Johns was the one who brought them both back but their relationship is highlighted nicely here.
· Furthermore, Johns creates animosity among the heroes. Green Lantern’s cocky attitude mixed with Superman’s misguided first impressions along with Batman’s loner state of mind results in a great deal of arguing between the characters. All of them are used to working alone and think they know best as to how to deal with a situation. Thus, Johns mixes the heroes together to enflame the situation.
· Jim Lee’s artwork is unbeatable. His meticulate pencils coupled with Scott Williams’ inks provides some gorgeous artwork. The art team really outdoes themselves on the dynamic action scenes of this issue. My particular favourite is a two page spread of Superman breaking Green Lantern’s chain construct apart. Every broken chain link looks wonderful which is a testament to the artist’s abilities.
· The cover is fantastic as well. Superman throttling Batman with Green Lantern attempting to restrain him is an eye catching image and the bright colours draws the reader’s attention.
· However, one might argue that Johns hasn’t nailed the characterisation. For instance, Superman is a bit too aggressive and violent towards Batman and Green Lantern which seems out of character and his aggression afterwards is not reduced.
· The plot is quite straightforward. Superheroes fight, resolve issue, escape to hideout then invading army arrives. There aren’t any shocking moments, engaging plot twists or innovative character moments. The story is simple, not quite as unexpected as say Batman. It’s a typical superhero action packed story which may turn aside some readers looking for more depth in their comic books.
· I still haven’t warmed to Cyborg being a founding member yet. The relationship with his father is nowhere near as appealing as it was back in the Wolfman era. Vic’s character doesn’t exactly jump out at me either. He just seems to be the next big college football star who’s seeking his father’s approval but his dad’s too preoccupied with his work yadda yadda. It’s an typical plot device and I thought Johns could have done better. He does deserve to be in the League but not this early.
· Finally, Darkseid and Apokolips are being used too early. Darkseid is supposed to be a major villain, arguably the greatest in the DCU yet he’s being wheeled out early for the formation of the Justice League. There are plenty of other powerful villains who could have filled the role just as well as Darkseid. Nonetheless, it’s good to see him back after Final Crisis.
Despite the simplicity of this issue, it’s an action packed thrilling ride that doesn’t let up for a second. If you want complexity, then I’d advise something else. But if it’s panel by panel fight scenes then Justice League does that right and then some.