JD reviews JUSTICE LEAGUE 7! Is it better than the last 6??


Granted, I’m quite the impressionable youth, but I was under the impression that the first 6 issues of the DCnU Justice League series was going to take place 5 years in the past and that with issue 7, we would see the book Marty McFly it to the present day. It would seem that the adorably fluffy Einstein The Dog may have accidentally humped the controls and caused a malfunction, as I don’t think this book has made it to the present just yet (despite the issue starting off with the words Present Day.)The JL is now a (mostly) functional team, and some time has passed, since the Watchtower exists in this issue, but the characters themselves don’t align with the current continuity. Hal still says things like “We GOT this.” and acts like a teenager, while none of the leaguers act in a way that is congruent with their portrayals in their own titles. This story feels like a jump from the last arc, for sure, but not quite “current”.

And when I say jump, that applies to the writing in general as well, and thank Rao! It’s no secret that up until this point I have personally found the Justice League to be the most disappointing series to come out of the DCnU reboot. I believe I may have even hypothesized that years ago, on a dark and stormy night, Geoff Johns had struck a deal with the devil to be DC’s best writer, but he started writing this series at 12:01am the day the deal expired. Now that isn’t meant as an insult, as I have the utmost respect for Johns and his abilities, but it’s my respect for those abilities that made the book such a disappointment. But back to the jump. This issue is finally starting to show some of the quality writing that I’ve come to expect from Johns. There are actual conversations, not just exclamations. There is actual plot development (for Colonel Steve Trevor.) There is an unrequited love story (for Colonel Steve Trevor). There is a hearing wherein the Justice League are taken to task (through Colonel Steve Trevor.) Hey, Waaaaitaminnut! Why are the Justice League supporting characters in their own book? There are in the issue, of course, but only to fight one bag guy who can make a bunch of lil monster-pest things. Not really a job for the “World’s Greatest Heroes”, is it? It’s more of a take-down for a likes of a Blue Beetle/Booster Gold team-up, wouldn’t you say? In fact, the take-down of the baddie is such a non-issue, it’s NOT IN THE ISSUE. The team leaps into action in a splash page, but then…cut to the next scene. Now, I don’t mind the character development of Trevor, it’s very interesting and I’m curious to see where it’s going, but why aren’t we reading about the quite interactions between the leaguers? Despite this issue being the best of the entire run so far, I’m still confused as to some of the decisions behind it.

As to the art, I wasn’t excited when I saw that Gene Ha would be subbing for Jim Lee for a couple of issues, but this was much better looking than I anticipated. Ha does a nice job throughout, with one exception. Superman’s new armor costume as drawn by Jim Lee, isn’t all that much of a bother, but here, as drawn by Gene Ha, Supes looks a bit too much like RoboCop than I’m comfortable with.

Another thing to mention: for $3.99 this month, you get 22 pages of the Justice League story AND 12 pages of a SHAZAM back-up, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Gary Frank.

I’m about to type something I never thought I would ever see myself type, but then, Geoff Johns seems to have that effect on me. He did it the first time with me liking Aquaman. He did it a second time with how much I disliked the first 6 issues of JL, and now: “The Shazam back-up story was without a doubt, my favorite thing in this issue.” I don’t want to say too much about it, but I wish Justice League was the back-up for the Shazam story. I really enjoyed the hell out of this, and wish there was more. The writing was the interesting, engaging stuff that I’m used to from Johns and the art was just glorious. I want Gary Frank to draw all of the books! We find that maybe Billy Batson isn’t the Wizard’s first choice to wield the power, that there may be a selection process of sorts, and we find that Billy isn’t quite the Billy we may have been used to up until now, which is GREAT. I never like Shazam or his annoyingly saccharine alter ego.

This was a great, fun story, and I absolutely can’t wait for the second part. Now, if we could only get the Justice League bits under control.

When not hosting the PopTards Podcast, fist-bumping his own nethers, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam at www.poptardsgo.com, JD is graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, hanging with the @$$holes over at www.aintitcoolnews.com and Booking his Face off over here. He is also now co-hosting another Comic Book discussion show on Party934.com alongside Bohdi Zen. They discuss comics and play music, check it out live every Saturday from 4-5pm.

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