Just when you thought we were finished seeing events from the past, there's more to come.
The issue opens up "four years ago." At first I wasn't quite sure how I felt that we were jumping back to some time in the past after we jumped forward to the present. I would've liked to have seen more exploration into the Justice League's early days but going back and forth might be a bit much. It turns out the flashback we see here is worth it. It's always interesting when there's a mystery that took place before and it's just now going to pop up. There's something about events happening beneath the surface as long as it's not a notion that is overused. What did happen four years ago is going to have a big impact on the present day.
Besides the set up for a new villain, we're seeing a lot of what makes up the relationship between the members of the team. Through different moments, there is a subtle presentation of how the team works together and how they feel about one another. It also adds to the bigger picture that we don't really see in the individual solo titles. If these characters have been working together for five years and have refused to let anyone else into the team, it makes sense that there would be more random team ups. They would be there for one another when needed, and not just during huge catastrophes that require the entire team. Of course with what's being set up here, the entire team will need to come together for the sake of their very survival...
Jim Lee's art is a welcomed return. What makes this a little different than the previous issues is there aren't as many big giant spreads necessary. Those are always great to see when the action is big and calls for it but it's nice to see Lee do some regular layouts as well.
Each month since the SHAZAM back ups have started, I'm getting more and more interested. We're still in the set up stage here. We still just have Billy Batson but it's great to see his character developing. This quite the same Billy we're used to so it's important to see how it's going to play out. Gary Frank's art here along with Lee's in the main part makes me happy. Despite this being mainly about Billy and him continuing to get situated, there is a pretty cool development at the end.
We're back at that point where it's hard to figure how this book ties into the rest of the DC Universe. I mentioned the team working together but there's a moment where Batman calls Superman for a team-up. This doesn't seem like something that would happen in the normal BATMAN title. We're also seeing Hal Jordan here but we know he's been deeply tied to Sinestro and the power ring he created.
In the back up, we see a parent at Billy's school that looks and feels too much like Lucius Malfoy (from Harry Potter). This isn't in a magical sort of way but more in a rich, privileged and %!@& of a way. Let's hope there is no magical connection to him whatsoever.
Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are back together again. With a set up for a new villain, it's starting to look like the team may soon have their hands full. Johns continues to build up the characters and the relationships between the different members. It's a nice touch but feels a little out of place with the solitary feeling we get from the characters' solo titles. We simply haven't really seen any mention of the League in their books. The bonus of the SHAZAM/Billy Batson back up with Gary Frank continues to be a delight. We're still in the origin stage but it's getting to be fun seeing Billy's character develop, even if it's a pretty big departure from his attitude before the "New 52." The ending is promising that something will happen very soon. JUSTICE LEAGUE is getting back on track in being a book about the team dealing with each other and with big threats. It's going to be interesting to see if we ever start seeing more of a mention of the team in their solo titles.