Finally some depth to this blockbuster!
Batman mounts a one man rescue mission to find Superman whilst the rest of the League clashes with Darkseid head on. Can the ruler of Apokolips be beaten back by the fledging league or is it all over already (Come on people we know the answer to that one!)
- At long last Johns gives this story the depth it’s been needing. The revelation as to why Darkseid on Earth was a surprising one and certainly shook up the plot. Also, there may be hints to the upcoming Earth 2 series, at least that’s what I took away after reading this issue. As well as this, the last page was quite a teaser for the future arc as was the back up feature (which I’ll review separately)
- Secondly, Johns finally nails the team dynamic of the early League. Each member gets nearly equal lines and page time as well as having their own awesome moment. From Batman encouraging Superman and Cyborg to Wonder Woman and Aquaman blinding Darkseid, this issue really made these heroes feel like they were in a cohesive team and were on their way to becoming the world’s greatest heroes.
- As always, the action is at maximum throughout the issue. The League’s battle with Darkseid feels epic in scale and the physical threat he poses is clearly felt throughout the issue. Along with getting many cool feats from the League in the battle with Darkseid, Johns also manages to portray Darkseid in a successful light. For all the damage the League does such as Diana and Arthur blinding him or Superman charging headfirst at him, Darkseid only seems to look surprised or stunned throughout the battle. So Johns manages to make Darkseid seem as badass as the League which is a commendable feat.
- Despite the fact I’m still not keen on Cyborg being a founding member of the League, I did like the fact that it was Cyborg who managed to open and close the Apokoliptian forces’ Boom Tubes, sending them back to Apokolips. It’s a very reader friendly moment of showing Cyborg’s importance as well as appeasing Vic’s long time fans as well, myself included.
- It was nice to see the shift in opinion of these heroes from dangerous outlaws to saviours of the planet. Johns handled this transition well and put a nice spin on the team’s staying together for more reluctant reasons from members like Green Lantern, Aquaman and Wonder Woman in that staying as a team would get authorities off their back as well as inspire hope in the populace.
- The comparison made between the Justice League acting like modern day gods was another thing I enjoyed. Since I’m quite interested in mythology, it was great to see Johns setting the League as the next step in humanity’s role models. It’s a nice reminder of the Grant Morrison days when the League’s line up reflected the Olympian Gods panetheon. Oh and finally storywise, I loved Desaad’s and Steppenwolf’s redesign. They look more grotesque and bestial and why shouldn’t they? They are from Apokolips and are amongst the most evil denizens the universe has to offer so it’s fitting they look more hideous and more monstrous than man.
- As always, the art is stunning. Jim Lee’s detailed pencils allow him to capture every face with real feeling as well as being able to draw every shard of debris with care. And the inks are vibrant, bursting out of the pages. I don’t usually say that much about good artwork since I’m not an expert at it but I know good art when I see it and Jim Lee’s is amongst my favourite.
- The cover is striking as well. Darkseid is pictured as having the Justice League at his mercy and at his feet whilst the image of Batman getting up is an incredibly cool one. Doesn’t bare much relevance to the story though.
- However, there are some issues. For all the added depth of this issue, it comes too late. The earlier issues could have used the depth of story in here but that was never apparent throughout this entire first arc.
- I still feel that Darkseid showed up too early. There were plenty of other villains that could have been used instead of Darkseid and this has reduced the threat he poses to the DC Universe. He should have been saved for a universe threatening instance. And he doesn’t talk that much either. Darkseid’s lost his long winded monologues that served to make him seem a truly threatening force to be reckoned with. And Darkseid getting his hands dirty is another out of character trait that doesn’t resonate with who Darkseid is.
- Finally Cyborg still feels like a Titan to me so seeing him in the League before he was in the Titans is very confusing. And how does his history with the Titans fit in with his tenure on the League? Vic’s still a Titan in the New 52 but the lack of clarification on DC’s part really doesn’t sit well with my desire to see some clear continuity.
So at last, the Justice League is heading in the right direction. Blockbuster action, plenty of intrigue and inflammatory personalities all make for one terrific read!
- The back up featuring Pandora was very intriguing. It’s great that we now finally know a little about the mysterious girl who appeared at the end of Flashpoint and in every no. 1 issue of the New 52. Having her established as one of DC’s extra dimensional beings is cool and her meeting with the Phantom Stranger was awesome. There’s plenty of foreshadowing here. The only bad thing about it was that you’re left with too many questions. Who is the Circle of Eternity, how did Pandora change the Pre New 52 universe, what box is she carrying and what is the Phantom Stranger’s real name? All these and some more circle your head afterwards and waiting to find out the answers is annoying. Art’s pretty good too.