Optimous Douche Reviews Redemption

justice league 12 cover

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Optimous Douche (email me I’m lonely)

For the past eleven months I truly thought I had lost my mind as I have been less than thrilled with the best damn selling book all year. Everyone loves this thing and I’ve felt like a salty old bastard for not feeling the same. It’s not that I’ve hated JUSTICE LEAGUE, I just haven’t really cared. The quips from GREEN LANTERN and FLASH have been fun, the fish jokes at AQUAMAN have provided sufficient guffaws, and BATMAN’S surliness was more than appropriate, but that’s about it. Again, not bad, but this is JUSTICE LEAGUE damn it, the fulcrum for the promise of the New 52. This should be epic, gut wrenching and its events should shake all books within the DCU in some way, shape or form. Not an “event” per say, but I certainly want to see similar character development and alludes from one book to another. Also, the book is helmed by two of the biggest players in comics, but both Johns and Lee seem to have been giving their B game instead of the A+ goods.

The biggest problem, which I didn’t fully realize until this issue, is that the villains have been merely ho-hum. This is JUSTICE LEAGUE damn it, they should be dealing with cataclysms of epic proportions while they ALSO deal with their personal issues. One should never be sacrificed for the other. For anyone that wants to argue I ask how much time did Darkseid get in the first arc? Three panels? One shot of Apokolips? New readers never understood how big and bad this New God truly is and old readers only received an eighth of the badness we’ve seen from Darkseid before. Likewise, with this arc’s villain, Danny Graves, the man who blames the JUSTICE LEAGUE for the death of his family. Danny is a true delta, a man we simply didn’t spend enough time with before he turned into the villain who haunts the JUSTICE LEAGUE with the ghosts from their past. Each character in the JUSTICE LEAGUE has their own book to explore their little idiosyncrasies; this book should be more about bad events and the villains who perpetrate those events.

I’m not going to say JUSTICE LEAGUE 12 is a spectacular book, because it’s not. It’s a transition period. But I will say there were spectacular moments in this book as we build towards Year Two of the New 52, and the upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.

Most of the spectacularosity happens after the battle is won and the League saves the day. The Danny Graves story ends, and we move into the League asking, “The Battle’s done and we kinda won, so we sing our victory cheer. Oh, where do we go from here?”

Well, I’ll tell you. A sacrificial lamb, a love that could never be, and a love that should have been for the past fifty years were Johns’ FINEST moments on JUSTICE LEAGUE to date.

Our lamb comes in a shade of emerald. Remember last issue when the League tussled (again)? Well, someone filmed the event and it ran on every network from Al-Jazeera to PBS. Since this iteration of the League was always “unstructured” at best, Hal Jordan decides to bow out. It’s a tidy exit that makes sense and leaves him open for impending shit storm of The Third Army in GREEN LANTERN.

Our love that can never be is far from unrequited and this is the first time in eleven issues I felt a tonal harmony with the League version of WONDER WOMAN and the much darker character we see in WONDER WOMAN proper. She has been sort of dippy in this series, kind of like the opening scene of the Mary Tyler Moore show, spinning through the wondrous sights and sounds of the city. While in WONDER WOMAN proper she is a dark dark God slayer. It just didn’t match up and the whole five year before excuse never held water with me, sorry. So, as Steve Trevor lies bruised and battered from the fight with Graves, WONDER WOMAN basically comes to the epiphany many heroes have had over the years, my existence puts your mortal ass in danger. Except Johns writes it with an eloquent tenderness and sweetness I just can’t convey in paragraph form.

And last, but certainly not least – The Epic Super Kiss! As with real dating, the excitement and anticipation is not the kiss itself, but rather the moments leading up. Atop the Lincoln memorial WONDER WOMAN and SUPERMAN lament the unraveling of the League and both realize if it all falls apart they will lose any real and true connections to other beings. Again, don’t let my words water down the moment, Johns expertly prolongs the longing and makes the kiss a more than logical end state.

After one year I can say with solidify critiques I was uncertain on: Five years before was a mistake, whether it was in ideology or execution will never be fully answered, but I’m leaning towards ideology. JUSTICE LEAGUE should have formed organically over time like it did so many years ago. They’re joining just felt too damn random in this iteration. Although I will say it was a thousand times better than the last go round, when Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman reformed the League because, you know, there’s always been a League.

Again, while I was less than enamored with this iteration, I am very hopeful for the decimation of this league and the rise of JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA coming in 2013. The team looks like a bad ass combo of DC’s most brutal players.

And finally a very special message:


Rob Liefeld Inking & Driving


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11 Comments to “Optimous Douche Reviews Redemption

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  1. kcviking says:

    No, you haven’t lost your mind. This book has been terrible.

    yet, I keep buying it just for Jim Lees artwork. I guess that makes me a bad person.

  2. Icarus says:

    A “Once More With Feeling” reference…
    NIiiiice! Loved that show!
    You made me VERY curious about the Superman/Wonder Woman romance. I still would prefer Lois Lane, and I still have bitter memories of the Superman/Wonder Woman romance tease John Byrne/DC did in the eighties, but damned if I’m not willing to give them a chance.
    Can’t wait to read it.

  3. JD (Host) says:

    AGREED sir. But you KNOW you’re not insane, all of us on the podcast agree with you! Lol

    Though…we may all be insane because we keep READING it despite not liking it. I keep seeing glimmers of hope here and there and it looks like it’s about to hit an upswing. Though an upswing after 12 issues? That’s a problem.

  4. JD (Host) says:

    @KC: Same here, buddy. And now I’ll be buying it for Ivan Reis’ art!!

    @Icarus: I don’t remember the Superman/WW thing from the 80s…whatchoo talkin’ bout?

  5. Optimous DOuche says:

    I meant more the general comic reading “public” The unwashed masses if you will. We buy it to make fun of it, that’s not what makes for a best-selling book.

  6. Icarus says:

    JD – During John Byrne’s re-vamp of Superman, they made a BIG deal of JB MAYBE redefining Superman/Wonder Woman’s relationship. They dropped hints for a a while that they (Clark and Diana) might be interested in each other, and they finally went into full gear in (If I remember correctly) Wonder Woman #15 or #16 (which, at the time. was written and drawn by George Perez).

    This had everyone excited, since JB and Perez were giants at the time in the comic book world, and everyone was really curious about what they were planning to do. This went for a few issues, raising expectations little by little, and involving all of the Superman titles as well as Wonder Woman’s. You can not imagine the talk in comic book shops and from everyone you knew that read comic books at the time (No Internet, of course). Everyone was talking about it, and waiting impatiently for the culmination of the story in the milestone issue Action Comics #600, written and drawn by both JB and GP (if I remember correctly, JB drew Superman and GP drew Wonder Woman in the story).

    After all the excitement and the speculation…what happened?

    Have you ever managed to get your dream date, the one that you hoped for all your life, only to have it fizzle and become a REALLY uncomfortable moment? That’s what happened.

    Superman (Clark) realized he was just a simple boy from Kanss (???!!!!???) and he could never be together with a woman that hung around and fought with gods on a routine basis!!!!

    I don’t think I have to tell you how dissapointed everyone was (or how loud the people calling “BS” to the whole thing were).

    So…there you have it. I Hope Johns has a better idea than this for where he’s taking this story (if it IS up to him). Guess we’ll have to wait and see, right?

  7. jaydee says:

    wow. that sounds…disappointing. But not WHOLLY out of character. I can sort of see the thinking behind it.

    My biggest comic shop memory is everyone discussing Armageddon 2001 or whatever it was called…who was Monarch? We all bet it was Captain Atom….and then the big reveal


    It was …Hawk? Of Hawk and Dove? whaaaaa?

    And then to learn that it really WAS supposed to be Captain Atom, but they changed it at the last minute because everyone figured it out? BLARRRGH!

  8. Optimous Douche says:

    Lerved ARMAGEDDON 2001 – Still do, despite the crappy reveal.

    Ironically it was nothing like the comic universe or the real universe was like in the actual 2001. Arthur C. Clarke fucked that up as well.

  9. Icarus says:

    I think ARMAGEDDON 2001 was overly complicated by all the Hawk/Captain Atom crap. DC weaseled out of their original ending (because people guessed it / it was leaked? Really? how many stories like that have we seen across the years in which we could see the ending coming a mile away or people in the Internet have revealed the actual ending -“spoiler alert”, anyone?) and all they did was piss people off, and create continuity problems for no other reason than trying to be too smart.
    Besides, the story was not THAT good to begin with. In other words, it was not worth all the trouble. They should have just let it play out.

  10. Icarus says:

    Douche – You might be right about Arthur C Clarke.

    Maybe ARMAGEDDON 2001 would have been better if all the supers had been killed by a giant, black, square monolith. :-)

    Oh, crap, was that racist?

  11. jaydee says:

    Icarus: LOL!

    I’d like a giant omnibus of Armageddon 2001…that was my first “I HAVE TO READ ALL OF THEM” crossovers!

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