Justice League 20
Geoff Johns, Zander Cannon, Gene Ha, Andres Guinaldo, Joe Prado, Gary Frank
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This issue is a classic example of two things that can kill a good comic: writer fatigue and terrible fill-in artists. Now, before you all go off the deep end, let me tell you one thing. This issue is still a far cry from bad. But, that being said, I think we’ve been spoiled by most of what Geoff Johns and regular artists (first Jim Lee, then Tony Daniel, then Ivan Reis) have presented to us on a fairly consistent monthly basis. So artwork aside, I’ll just say that my major gripe has nothing to do with the script itself, but rather, the pacing and jarring pictures from what I had come to expect each time I pick up the main New 52 DC Universe title. I also think that it was a little unnecessary to announce, two issues in, that this story leads into the upcoming Trinity War. Duh. I have a brain. I figured that out last issue when the shit started to hit the fan.
The story picks up where we left off last issue, with the three new members of the Justice League (Element Woman, the Atom, and Firestorm) fighting Despero, who is filled with rage and trying to kill the team. Then Martian Manhunter shows up and beats the crap out of the villain. Just in time for the rest of the League to show up and realize that Batman’s kryptonite ring was stolen and given to Despero. Which we already knew. Perhaps the one saving grace of this lackluster issue is the sequence where Batman and Superman talk about the rationale behind owning such a dangerous weapon. Batman told the team that he was searching for a cure. He tells Superman that it is to keep him in line. He also reveals that Superman is to keep Wonder Woman in line. He is her kryptonite. And then he gives his teammate a box with his weakness hidden inside. This proves that Batman not only thinks of everything, but is, in all honesty, truly Superman’s friend. This was the moment that I’ve been waiting almost two years for. Finally, we have the friendship that should not be possible, but is really the backbone for the whole DC Universe.
The rest of the issue shows that (surprise, surprise) the Atom is a spy and secretly working for Amanda Waller. Now, let’s face it. The three heroes featured at the beginning of this issue will probably just be casualties of the Trinity War, so this is essentially just Geoff Johns doing his obligatory best to make them likable before maiming, vilifying, or just flat-out killing them. And the fact that the Shazam! backup feature is finally almost over brings a great sigh of relief to this loyal reader. All-in-all, this issue proves that even great series need to just take an issue off every now and then. Next issue, I’m certain, will be back to what we have come to love and expect from such a great monthly title. And as far as I’m concerned, it can’t come soon enough.