Well, I wasn't expecting THAT from this issue. After last months punch and quip fest my expectations weren't at their highest for this issue. I was expecting a bog standard punch up issue between our heroes and the villain, however I'm shocked at how many effective character moments and plot developments make it into this issue.
Last issue saw Darkseid reach earth and effectively decimate the League in a matter of seconds but thankfully this issue doesn't become a 20 page slugfest. In fact Darkseid physically does very little in this issue, while leaving a giant impact on the team and becoming a far more intimidating foe than I previously expected. Much like how Geoff Johns continues to write Sinesteo in the Green Lantern ongoing, Darkseid doesn't belittle himself with throwing unnecessary punches and can literally take members of the League down by standing still, with his arms by his side. To him, this group of heroes is a waste of his time; he shows off his sheer level of power with the bat of an eyelid, shatters the group and leaves them broken as he continues his plan for earth, without having to say a single-dam-word. It sets the stage for the sheer level of power needed to even put a dent in Darkseid, while hitting home the fact that The League need to grow up and can only survive by combining their strength as a fully functioning team.
As said earlier this issue brings a lot of needed character development to the table and its probably my favourite part of the issue. Out of pure reckless determination and conviction in his abilities, Green Lantern attempts to take on Darkseid single-handed and well, gets his butt handed back to him on a platter within seconds. This leads to a rather heavy grilling from Batman that surprisingly doesnt resorting to the two heroes talking through insults and jokes. Its a great scene and you really feel a level of growth and respect starting to brew between these two very different heroes.
Even the art team of Jim Lee and Scott Williams seem to have upped their game for this issue. Characters seem crisper and more dynamic, while Green Lantern especially shines (no pun intended) throughout this issue. It truly shows the wonders an extra week can do for a book.
I think Justice League has finally hit its stride through finding the right balance between character moments, humor and all out blockbuster set pieces. This is a defining moment for the series as it finally shows that the book has a strong heart beyond its initial appearance and that the creative team is genuinely beginning to hit their stride. Im certainly hoping the series will continue and expand on the tone established in this issue and run with it for the next few years to come.