Should we start with the obvious? There's a kiss happening in this issue. This is what everyone will be talking about, which in some ways, is a shame. This is the last part of the previous arc with Graves attacking the team. There is a lot happening including a pretty big change for the future of the team. But everyone will be talking about the kiss. So let's start there.
Some are for the kiss and some are against. What happens here and the events leading up to it makes sense. I've seen the argument that Superman and Wonder Woman have tried being together several times in the past and it never worked. What people need to think about is this Superman and Wonder Woman are a little different. I won't go into the whole structure of the events leading up to this moment (we can save that for a separate editorial) but reading this entire arc plus knowing where these two are coming from in the New 52 makes the moment work.
What about the rest of the comic? This is a big issue, both in size and developments. The League are at the mercy of Graves. They are pretty much defeated. Not only that but there are other circumstances building up and working against the League, which if you've been reading the series, you already know.
How the battle ends, despite their apparent defeat, is fitting. The elements of the story falls into place just right. It won't be a happy ending for the League, regardless of what's on the cover, and this changes the future of the series in a pretty big way.
What about the art? Have I mentioned before how much I love Jim Lee's art. Simply put, I'm a fan. I enjoy seeing his big comic book-y action scenes. It's a treat having him on this series because it means we get to see him draw so many different characters. The art, of course, is complemented by several inkers and colorists this time around. And if Jim's art wasn't enough, we also get two pages by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado and three pages by David Finch. Included here is similar to what we saw in the Grant Morrison's early BATMAN AND ROBIN or BATMAN INCORPORATED series with a tease of what's to come. If the big things happening in this issue weren't already enough to make you look forward to the second year, these scenes should definitely impress you.
I'm still not sure how I feel about Graves as a big time Justice League villain. His motive and way he took the team down almost felt too easy.
The public reaction to what happened last issue seems a bit much. In issue 7 we saw that even after five years, the public was still in complete love with the team. There is some suspicion in the government and the public disagreement last issue shouldn't completely turn the opinion of the team. But we haven't fully seen what the team has been doing in those five years and how many public appearances or battles they've taken part in.
Too much emphasis will be placed on the kiss.
The Justice League have been utterly defeated but what are the chances that this is the end for them? What makes them a remarkable team and the greatest heroes in the DC Universe is that they will be able to overcome their obstacles. It won't be easy and there will be casualties but it's a glorious issue.
What really won me over here, besides my love for Jim Lee's art, was some of the dialogue from different characters. We're seeing some big changes here and it's all building up into something big. In past issues we've been treated to big action scenes that almost filled entire issues. While this one does have some grand fighting, we also get a look into the characters of several members. This is a game-changer issue. Decisions are being made along with sacrifices. There's a big feel to the issue without it feeling too contrived. There's a huge mix of big time action mixed with character development that you wouldn't expect to see in a series full of so many characters. This issue reminds me why I enjoy Geoff Johns and Jim Lee so much.