Written By: Geoff Johns
Pencils By: Gene Ha
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: OUT NOW IN STORES & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (VIA COMIXOLOGY)
Well , we’re over the balls out mega event that was the first six issues of the all new DC 52 Justice League and now with Jim Lee taking a break, only to be replaced with less epic artist Gene Ha, this new Justice League feels even more flat and uninteresting than they have so far in this ‘epic’ DC relaunch.
As a bit of background as I’ve not reviewed any DC titles yet, it was the nineties where my love affair with DC comics thrived. The Death of Superman, Knightfall, Wonder Woman getting demoted, Aquaman losing his hand and Green Lantern losing, well everything. Around the early 2000’s when they got the original line up back together (well other than Hal – that came later with the uber cop out that was Green Lantern Rebirth) I was bored of the big DC guns working together and frankly I’m bored again now.
Over the past six issues of Justice League, the flagship title of the all new DC 52, our reintroduction to the Justice League, with their new costumes and ‘modern’ attitudes was all looks and no depth in my mind. I hate how the Justice League is back to square one, with none of the friendships and interactions that have grown between these characters over the years. Geoff Johns just isn’t doing it for me here. I don’t know what to make of Superman in any of his solo books but he seems seems even more under loved within this team. Wonder Woman has had her highlights so far, her introduction was great but it’s just not enough to make her interesting. I outright hate cocky Hal Jordan and The Flash and Aquaman just seem to be there to make up the numbers. Batman is of course Batman and he’s always going to be great when he highlights the silliness of the rest of the team but I just don’t feel like he’d hang out with these guys if he didn’t have to. As for Cyborg, DC have failed to convince me he’s a strong enough character to stand alongside the big names of the DCU almost completely. I don’t dislike the character at all, I just don’t feel him gelling here.
But all of that is issues 1-6. This is a review for issue 7 which begins with some teeth with arms and legs chasing citizens around in Baltimore with artwork that screams ‘filler story’. Steve Trevor is doing his best to hold back the baddies but the press want The League and when they turn up out of a boomtube (it always feels odd seeing Lantern carrying all the likes of Batman and Wonder Woman in his green bubbles) the crowds are happy and the team get fighting, just like how DC assume the readers react if the fists are flying at a steady rate in this comic.
The entire six member league simply aren’t needed here. The story of a divorced husband using his ‘Spore Virus’ and going after his ex-wife feels distinctly low rent for a Justice League mission and once again it doesn’t feel like The League know each well enough, making the scenes where they’re planning what to do next feel dull and by the book. There’s a sense that time has passed since the closing of issue 6, in that the press and civilians love The League but it’s not reflected in the team’s interactions at all, they’re still just playing “who has the biggest balls” here. I feel about as frustrated with this set up as Batman seems to be.
So with Lantern and Flash taking on the generic ‘Spore’ villain with another big splash page where the rest of The Justice League turn up, we cut away to the more interesting part of the story. Steve Trevor being questioned by officials regarding more access to The League via him. Trevor is played on the fence. Doing his best to big up The League but at the same time seeming annoyed having to do so. He knows what The League are to the world (Gods who can not be told what to do) and he knows where that puts us humans (in a situation where we need to go along with it all). This is all written well and the pressure The Justice League’s presence on America has caused is felt but when Trevor contacts W0nder Woman via webchat the comic highlights some issues.
These scenes highlight the bickering in the Justice League on an almost childish level. Lantern and Flash arguing with Batman and each member of the team, butting in on Wonder Woman’s chat with Trevor, Cyborg hacking into the conversation telling his dad to stop hacking into the Watchtower makes this feel like it’s a phone call to a party or something, it all feels stupid and Trevor’s odd unspoken feeling towards how The League functions seems apt. All of this makes sense in the long run I guess. DC are trying to develop the Justice League into the best team they can by starting at the beginning but I just find it very annoying for the most part. They are being written like any other new, teenage team on the block and frankly it’s dull. They haven’t earned involvement from Batman in my opinion, I even feel this team is too nauseating for even Superman to hang out with. This feels like a splinter team of The Justice League that the big trinity of Bats, Supes and Wonder Woman would probably only help if the world depended on it. Everything is so flat and typical here, even down to the mystery writer concluding that Steve Trevor is the key to destroying the Justice League (snooze). For the lead title in the DC’s new world order , Justice League seems to be building to a never coming pay off or a pay off that will give us the same Justice League we had before the big DC restructure, making this ‘All New DC 52’ event feel even more pointless.
Lastly at the back of the comic (and ongoing at the back of Justice League it seems) is the first twelve page installment of Shazam. Again written my Geoff Johns but this time expertly drawn by the great Gary Frank, we get a new approach to the no longer smiling DC hero. Here there’s a mystery being laid out involving multiple people experiencing Shazamy weirdness and a modern spin on Billy Batson, making him a cocksure douchebag pretending to be a sweet kid. I’m not sure how this one will play out but so far the art is pretty. Also we’re told that next month Green Lantern arrives on the Justice League scene, I wonder what bickering he will bring to the table?