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Justice League #20 - Prologue to Trinity War, Chapter Two: Secrets; Shazam! Chapter 12 Review

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After seeing the new members join the team and the theft of the Kryptonite Ring, things are only going to get messier for the Justice League. Plus, find out who the traitor is!

The Good

I've mentioned it before, we are seeing the next chapter of JUSTICE LEAGUE. Now that the team is established and we have an idea where they stand with each other and the world in general, they've decided to open their ranks. This comes at the best and worst time. With other problems to deal with, we've seen Batman's secret Batcave in the Batcave get infiltrated which lead to someone stealing the Kryptonite Ring and giving it to Despero.

The attack on the Watchtower allows us to see the new recruits in action. Can they act as a team? Can they survive against Despero? The issue also delivers more on the team's past, including the temporary membership of another certain character along with more on who the traitor is, or at least one of the traitors.

The action gets pretty crazy and is spread over different locations. We're definitely moving towards a different direction as you get the feeling some dark times are coming up for the team.

We are also nearing the end of Billy Batson and Black Adam's story in the back up by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. You might think you know the whole story on them but you'll find some interesting developments.

We also find out Big Belly Burgers still exists in the New 52.

The Bad

Even though the action is heating up, there's a couple minor points that are questionable. Besides the motive behind Despero's attack (more so in who helped him), it's a little unclear why no one was at the Watchtower to meet the new recruits for their 'induction ceremony.' Batman might be busy with Cyborg in talking to Superman and Wonder Woman but you would think they wouldn't want the new recruits up there alone this early in their membership. And where was Aquaman during most of this time?

The art gets a little inconsistent at times. Zander Cannon does the layouts but we also have Gene Ha, Andres Guinaldo and Joe Prado doing the pencils. That's what adds to the feeling.

There's no way Element Woman's $54.82 order at Big Belly Burger (including nine shakes) would fit in two bags.

The Verdict

Geoff Johns is evolving the JUSTICE LEAGUE comic. We're seeing new members, secrets, attacks and developments among the members. While there was something about seeing the core seven members keep a tight nit group, we now have more opportunities that can be fleshed out. The main problem is there were moments the art felt inconsistent. We had a few different pencilers so that adds to the art being a little hectic. We're approaching the end of the Billy Batson/Shazam! story which is great but also sad (that it's coming to an end). You will want to see the revelations that come out of this issue. You can feel Johns has big plans for the title and they are just beginning.

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Edited by NathanXplosion

I might start picking this up now because I like Element Woman and how socially awkward she is.

Posted by Squalleon

I have the feeling Martian Manhunter is Johns new Hal Jordan!

Posted by Atomiic

I hope we see Hal come back soon now that GL is kinda wrapping up.

Posted by noj

I totally feel this was a 5 star book. One of my favorite issues of Justice League. The only real problem I had was the switching artist and even that was handled relatively well with one of the art switches being sorta justified by it happening during an internal struggle. I LOVED the scenes with Superman and Batman in the Batcave and their conversation about Wonder Woman. If Green Lantern 20 hadnt come out this week it would for sure be my favorite of the week.

Posted by ArtisticNeedham

Who is the traitor? You can tell me in spoilers?

Edited by ScumDestroy

@artisticneedham: the new "Atom" is the mole for the JLA

Had to laugh at that "Meincraft" poster in the Atom's bedroom. Another perfectly written Johns' story this week. Seriously, every single panel the dude writes contributes to the story, its incredible.

Posted by Juandicimo_Magnifico45

I loved this issue a lot, seeing Batman and Superman together talking in the secret cave was great. Discovering the mole was awesome and I love the Shazam back-up. I just wish the art was consistent!

Posted by thejman251

- Now we know that Superman, and basically all kryptonians are highly weak to kryptonite in the New 52.

- The Bruce V.S. Clark bit is hardly even in question now.

He should be fine by dawn

Batman

- Hilarious.

- Additionally, it seems that MMH is a beast to put it bluntly(No, i have not read any issues of stormwatch).

Edited by batsymyplaything

I don't know, but I wasn't digging the art in this issue. It would been more climatic if batman placed superman's picture or symbol, then just telling him that he's WW's kryptonite. Would have been more of a Shock moment.

Man, the Shazam series is sure heating up, including the nice, and powerful backstory for Black Adam.

Posted by OutlawRenegade

Johns seems to like the monstrous/scary looking heroes: Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Element Woman, and Cyborg. I like how Despero is a Martian Manhuntet villain now, but i find it funny the MMH has had more fight scenes than Cyborg and has his own arch villain and appears in multiple books, but Cyborg does none of that and is a founding member. It makes DC look like they only pay lipservice to diversity. The issue is a 4/5.

Posted by akbogert

I might start picking this up now because I like Element Woman and how socially awkward she is.

Seriously. I was so happy to see her in here.

If they kill her I'm actually going to be upset.

Anyhow, I thought some of the MMH art was just ridiculous, but maybe he's supposed to look like he's made out of Play-Doh?

Edited by Avenging-X-Bolt

@atomiic said:

I hope we see Hal come back soon now that GL is kinda wrapping up.

its not wrapping up. Hal will be leading the Corps now and could quite possibly be in space full time.

Posted by dondave

Martian Manhunter was so badass in this issue

Online
Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

Johns seems to like the monstrous/scary looking heroes: Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Element Woman, and Cyborg. I like how Despero is a Martian Manhunter villain now,

agreed, given the history between them pre-52 and the clout the two characters hold, this was a long time coming. in aperfect world, they would have a Optimus Prime/Megatron like relationship.

but i find it funny the MMH has had more fight scenes than Cyborg and has his own arch villain and appears in multiple books, but Cyborg does none of that and is a founding member.

It is disappointing. i was excited for Cy's inclusion because i thought DC was going to build Vic his own corner of the DCU and his own expansive mythos . I guess Johns was just as anxious as other MMH fns to finally have J'onn be active. He still needs to honor both commitment though.

It makes DC look like they only pay lipservice to diversity. The issue is a 4/5.

4/5? i just might have to pick this up

Posted by _Black

I have the feeling Martian Manhunter is Johns new Hal Jordan!

@dondave said:

Martian Manhunter was so badass in this issue

What happened?!?!

I wish J'onn had his own ongoing.

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

I have the feeling Martian Manhunter is Johns new Hal Jordan!

this is both good and bad.

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

@_black said:

@squalleon said:

I have the feeling Martian Manhunter is Johns new Hal Jordan!

@dondave said:

Martian Manhunter was so badass in this issue

What happened?!?!

I wish J'onn had his own ongoing.

he messed up Despero badly in a fight.

Posted by roger_steven

can someone tell me which book is the Prologue to Trinity War, Chapter One?

Posted by Voltes

It's hard to take this website seriously every Marvel and DC title is 4-5 stars. It makes Newsarama look good. Does anyone exercise discretion or is this a company suckfest?

Posted by bigboi100000

the new "Atom" is the mole for the JLA? Well shit

Posted by Tacos_Kickass

@voltes said:

It's hard to take this website seriously every Marvel and DC title is 4-5 stars. It makes Newsarama look good. Does anyone exercise discretion or is this a company suckfest?

Aquaman got 2 stars...

Edited by Cafeterialoca

Why is it whenever I get a new favorite, they do something like THAT to them?

Posted by akbogert

can someone tell me which book is the Prologue to Trinity War, Chapter One?

Justice League 19. I have a write-up on both of them here, in case you're interested.

Posted by Bogey

Martian Manhunter is clearly going to whoop some Justice League butt once Trinity War comes around.

Posted by akbogert

Why is it whenever I get a new favorite, they do something like THAT to them?

To whom/what are you referring?

Posted by Press Oblivion

Thought this was an interesting issue, I like the tether to the JLA side of things as well as the Batman moment with Superman.

Edited by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg

- Now we know that Superman, and basically all kryptonians are highly weak to kryptonite in the New 52.

Wait... the Watchtower crashed and now the JL is moving their headquarters to a cave in Happy Harbor? Could this be the New 52 debut of the Secret Sanctuary (the JL's mountain headquarters)?

Now all we need is New 52 Snapper Carr!

Also not really liking this Atom... frankly I would've had Ray Palmer. And if Ray was the Atom and the Atom works for JLA it would have been the perfect opportunity to start a friendship between Hawkman and Atom.

Also wish Ivan Reis did the art here.

Posted by Atomiic

@atomiic said:

I hope we see Hal come back soon now that GL is kinda wrapping up.

its not wrapping up. Hal will be leading the Corps now and could quite possibly be in space full time.

Yeah I know, but it does look like he might return to JL or at least wallers preparing for him. (which I still dont understand the Hal vs Baz match up, what could make them fight each other). As long as Johns is still writing I wouldn't rule out a return.

Posted by thejman251

@thejman251 said:

- Now we know that Superman, and basically all kryptonians are highly weak to kryptonite in the New 52.

Wait... the Watchtower crashed and now the JL is moving their headquarters to a cave in Happy Harbor? Could this be the New 52 debut of the Secret Sanctuary (the JL's mountain headquarters)?

Now all we need is New 52 Snapper Carr!

Also not really liking this Atom... frankly I would've had Ray Palmer. And if Ray was the Atom and the Atom works for JLA it would have been the perfect opportunity to start a friendship between Hawkman and Atom.

Also wish Ivan Reis did the art here.

- Yes, the watchtower apparently crashed however, i'm not aware of what, if anything, will come of it.

- The art seemed pretty bad in the last bit of this issue.

Edited by Cafeterialoca

@akbogert said:

@cafeterialoca said:

Why is it whenever I get a new favorite, they do something like THAT to them?

To whom/what are you referring?

The New Atom.
I got interested in her, and with this development? Yeah, she'll be killed...

Edited by ILLO_29

@voltes: Let's see Aquaman 2 stars, GL Corps 3 stars and Red Lanterns 3 stars. Yea every DC and Marvel books gets 4 or 5 stores. Please take you whiney troll ass to another site, if comic vine annoys you that much.

Posted by akbogert

@cafeterialoca: Yeah, I definitely fear for her a bit. But to be honest I'm more worried about them offing Element Woman.

Edited by ILLO_29

Fun issue, anyone have any ideas on what is in Batman's little box?

Posted by akbogert

@illo_29: Great question. Though to be honest it should be really easy to kill Batman.

@cafeterialoca: Interestingly I just saw someone on another site post a couple scans of her, along with the caption

"Hey she seems interesting!

*Looks up information*

Oh….ooooohhh…..she’s so dead…"

So...you're not alone in your misgivings :/

Posted by Cafeterialoca

@akbogert said:

@illo_29: Great question. Though to be honest it should be really easy to kill Batman.

@cafeterialoca: Interestingly I just saw someone on another site post a couple scans of her, along with the caption

"Hey she seems interesting!

*Looks up information*

Oh….ooooohhh…..she’s so dead…"

So...you're not alone in your misgivings :/

Actually, that IS me.

Posted by ILLO_29

@akbogert: True he's only human, but since it wasn't shown leads me to think it had to be something we don't expect.

Posted by InkInk

@akbogert said:

@cafeterialoca said:

Why is it whenever I get a new favorite, they do something like THAT to them?

To whom/what are you referring?

The New

Atom

.

I got interested in her, and with this development? Yeah, she'll be killed...

If it helps you any she was in that preview for Trinity War fight pic so maybe not. I think they might fake AW death.

Posted by akbogert

@illo_29: Oh, sure. It won't be anything simple but in all honesty it could be a 9mm pistol and that would be sufficient if properly used.

Edited by Cafeterialoca

@inkink said:

@cafeterialoca said:

@akbogert said:

@cafeterialoca said:

Why is it whenever I get a new favorite, they do something like THAT to them?

To whom/what are you referring?

The New

Atom

.

I got interested in her, and with this development? Yeah, she'll be killed...

If it helps you any she was in that preview for Trinity War fight pic so maybe not. I think they might fake AW death.

Just saying, a character this cute? In comics? Not going to survive.

It all depends how badass you are these days...

Posted by InkInk

@inkink said:

@cafeterialoca said:

@akbogert said:

@cafeterialoca said:

Why is it whenever I get a new favorite, they do something like THAT to them?

To whom/what are you referring?

The New

Atom

.

I got interested in her, and with this development? Yeah, she'll be killed...

If it helps you any she was in that preview for Trinity War fight pic so maybe not. I think they might fake AW death.

Just saying, a character this cute? In comics? Not going to survive.

It all depends how badass you are these days...

True its all about being depressing and Batman adjacent with DC right now.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

@inkink said:

@cafeterialoca said:

@inkink said:

@cafeterialoca said:

@akbogert said:

@cafeterialoca said:

Why is it whenever I get a new favorite, they do something like THAT to them?

To whom/what are you referring?

The New

Atom

.

I got interested in her, and with this development? Yeah, she'll be killed...

If it helps you any she was in that preview for Trinity War fight pic so maybe not. I think they might fake AW death.

Just saying, a character this cute? In comics? Not going to survive.

It all depends how badass you are these days...

True its all about being depressing and Batman adjacent with DC right now.

I never became a real DC fan cause they seem to go crazy killing off characters. It's why I stuck with Marvel.

...and then Marvel made Avengers Arena and blew up my favorite character in the first issue.
God, I hate the popular characters.

Posted by akbogert

@inkink: @cafeterialoca: Which is why I again am more worried about Element Woman than anyone else thus far. Especially given Trevor's whole "let's go over how you can stop Element Woman from altering her body at the atomic level" bit.

Edited by Cafeterialoca

@akbogert said:

@inkink: @cafeterialoca: Which is why I again am more worried about Element Woman than anyone else thus far. Especially given Trevor's whole "let's go over how you can stop Element Woman from altering her body at the atomic level" bit.

I bet you it goes differently than you expect.

Edited by InkInk

DC is in such a weird place with me I mean the new 52 has not been my ideal situation for most of the characters I love. So that has been tricky balancing the stories I still enjoy with the stuff I hate.

Marvel has done a good job IMO. I will not read Avengers Arena because I think its stupid I mean everything about that book screams extreme image days to me so I will pass. Some of there lesser books are great Captain Marvel,Hawkeye,Journey.

Posted by akbogert

@cafeterialoca: I don't actually have any specific expectations. Just a generally pervasive sense of dread. Considering the fact that a war this big needs to have deaths, it's kind of hard to avoid the fact that characters like this are expendable.

Posted by InkInk

@akbogert said:

@inkink: @cafeterialoca: Which is why I again am more worried about Element Woman than anyone else thus far. Especially given Trevor's whole "let's go over how you can stop Element Woman from altering her body at the atomic level" bit.

I bet you it goes differently than you expect.

I hope so she is a cutie I mean just a fun character. I hope Steve dies during trinity war I mean he is one of the most unlikable characters in DC right now. Wonder Woman broke up with you get over dude.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

@akbogert said:

@cafeterialoca: I don't actually have any specific expectations. Just a generally pervasive sense of dread. Considering the fact that a war this big needs to have deaths, it's kind of hard to avoid the fact that characters like this are expendable.

@inkink said:

@cafeterialoca said:

@akbogert said:

@inkink: @cafeterialoca: Which is why I again am more worried about Element Woman than anyone else thus far. Especially given Trevor's whole "let's go over how you can stop Element Woman from altering her body at the atomic level" bit.

I bet you it goes differently than you expect.

I hope so she is a cutie I mean just a fun character. I hope Steve dies during trinity war I mean he is one of the most unlikable characters in DC right now. Wonder Woman broke up with you get over dude.

They'll never kill the unlikable ones.

They'll always kill the cute and likable ones...

Posted by SmashBrawler

@akbogert: That's one of the reasons I don't care much for those two. Feels like Johns is trying a bit too hard to make them likable. "Oh, look at Element Woman, she's all cute and bubbly and stuff!" "The new Atom is awesome because she plays videogames and she seems pretty hip and all that!". I think the implications are way too obvious, which is why the only new member I actually care for is Firestorm, but then again I've been a fan of that character for a long time now.

Posted by akbogert

@smashbrawler: Well my introduction to Emily was in Flashpoint, where her entire schtick was that no one likes her or ever wants her around. She ordered a fish sandwich for Aquaman as a ploy to get on his good side? I mean, come on. The girl's too much of a pariah to deserve to die.

These last two issues were my first time seeing Firestorm. Seems like a very neat character.

Posted by Baberaham_Lincoln

The fight scene was damn..damn... MM is so badass

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