Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Jim Lee (Back-up illustrated by Carlos D’Anda)
The Justice League is united at last against Darkseid! The awesome consequences of this high-stakes battle will resonate within the series for years to come! Geoff Johns and Jim Lee end their historic first arc with a bang!
Justice League has been called an action movie many times, including a few times by our own staff. But this is an apt metaphor and, in a nice piece of coincidence, Justice League #6 was released the same day as the second trailer for The Avengers, Marvel’s actual action film. So, which slice of city destruction, unlikely alliances, a little bit of sex appeal, and some standard heroic dialogue comes out on top? Hit the jump to find out, and be warned, the spoilers didn’t get sent back to Apokolips in a Boom Tube.
The best part of Justice League (the main story at least) comes early on, in the form of narration from David Graves (more on him in a second). For the first time in the New 52, we see a bit of the awe and wonder that used to be directed towards some of the world’s heroes, and in the narration by Graves, a bit of that is restored and the book, for the first time, really, feels like a Justice League book.
The worst part of the Avengers trailer is probably Scarlet Johanson (not on the eyes, mind you, but her dialogue is delivered in a pretty dead-behind-the-eyes kind of way). She just talks, instead of taking on the heroic inflection that is necessary to deliver dialogue like this.
The worst part of Justice League is the ending. The ending is a bad combination of Star Wars, Independence Day and Mystery Men – in other words, it is action movie cliche central. But, the Flash calling the team the “Super Seven” just feels so unbelievably dumb that it isn’t even funny. I know the moment is supposed to induce a groan, but this really pushes it.
Moving away from the Avengers temporarily, this book is a fair conclusion to the story told in the first arc, with some really nice moments for Cyborg*, a sneak peak at DeSaad and Steppenwolf,** a tease of the Multiverse, and we finally got why Darkseid is here – to find his daughter. I know when I read that, I thought “oh no, Pandora is his daughter, this is so dumb,” but the backup talked me off that ledge, and so now we need to really wonder: who is Darkseid’s daughter, and do we already know her?
But the book also continues to struggle with its characterizations. The Superman here is, theoretically, the Superman just barely removed from Action Comics, and the two versions couldn’t seem any more different. Batman also does a million out of character things in the first six issues, and Wonder Woman is barely the same character in her own book and here. Luckily, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman, three characters Johns knows quite well, are only slightly funhouse mirrors versions of themselves. Since Cyborg somehow doesn’t have his own book, his characterization is consistent with himself.
Jim Lee continues to be pretty awesome, even if he needed 4 inkers and 3 colorists to get this book done on time. My only complaint is that his out of mask Bruce Wayne and Superman are barely distinguishable from each other. But overall, Lee does big action well, and since this issue is packed with big action, he continues to shine.
David Graves was teased at the end of issue #3, appearing in the supplemental material as the author of a book on Atlantis. I, along with everyone else on the planet, let out a yawn and moved on. He was also teased in issue #2’s boring Amanda Waller/Steve Trevor text piece. Graves was ALSO teased by a tweet from DC around the time #3 came out saying: @DCComics Signing of THE JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AMONG US by superstar author David #Graves is canceled. I personally didn’t take much notice of any of this, but kudos to DC for at least trying to build some hype around Graves. We’ll see if he has any more purpose in the DCnU, or if his narrator status for this issue is the end of his moment in the sun.Continued below
At the end of the Avengers film, we will no doubt have another of the classic Marvel film touches, a teaser for the next movie. Justice League #6 gives us a teaser as well – and that is a look into Pandora.
Drawn beautifully by Carlos D’Anda, Johns writes a brief interaction between the Phantom Stranger and Pandora (or Carol, whatever) who discuss what Pandora did (aka the New 52) and how wrong that was. You can read all about it here, but let’s talk for a second about what this means for DC going forward.
Pandora claims that she “realigned and strengthened” the universe, but the Phantom Stranger disagrees. She is positioned as an active participant in this world, whereas the Stranger is a happily passive one. She is set up alongside the Spectre, the Phantom Stranger, and who knows what other overseers (the Monitors?) as the most powerful and, sadly, underused part of the DC Universe. That this is becoming a major theme in DC’s flagship book is exciting; it shows a willingness to use the big guns in the book designed for the biggest guns.
The teaser did what it was supposed to do: it got me excited for what is to come. This book has not been one of my favorites thus far, and while that is disappointing, it isn’t surprising. The Justice League, for such a great concept, are notoriously flawed books, with very few runs ever living up to their potential. However, with DC saying that this is their flagship book, and proving it by putting two of their top executives on the book. Perhaps the editorial power on the book can help it to really be the fanboy wet dream it should be: seven huge heroes fighting the biggest threats out there.
Oh yeah, there’s some sort of league of super villains. Forgot to mention that.
Final Verdict: 6.9 – Toeing the browse/buy line.
* and ** – As a kid, i collected the Kenner Super Powers figures and, coincidentally, the only two I didn’t have were Cyborg and Steppenwolf. I even had the mail-in only Clark Kent!