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Review: Justice League 21

Justice League 21 Picture 1

Justice League 21
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank

Spoiler alert! You have been warned!


Finally. It ends. Don’t get me wrong, the backup stories have been really well done and, in retrospect, really weren’t even that poorly paced. It just seemed like it’s been taking forever for this story to get anywhere. And with this issue, we finally get the finale we’ve been waiting for. Shazam! is here to stay in the New 52. And even though it seemed like a chore at times, I’ll be definitely going back into my back issues and rereading the whole thing in order for what I’m sure will be a truly wonderful experience. This is Geoff Johns at his very best. Retelling the origin story of a classic character is what makes him so great. The fact that we can now see all of these great personalities and powers in future stories is just icing on the cake.


The artwork of Gary Frank is rivaled by few, and he proves in this full issue free-for-all that he can draw more than just a few pages at a time, just a few characters interacting and maybe a brief two-or-three-frame scuffle. He can do epic scope. He can do grand battles. And yes, he can still do them and make the most ridiculous costumes and abilities look realistic and believable. The fact that Billy gave his whole “family” the abilities of Shazam! was fun, and seeing the fights was even better because, well, we’ve been waiting for what seems like a decade. But the biggest strength of this issue is a tossup between the dialogue of Black Adam (and his creative defeat) and the introduction of Dr. Sivana’s new teammate and benefactor, Mr. Mind. Yes, these characters are ridiculous. And yes, they are completely and utterly outdated. But I think that’s part of the joy of seeing them in the New 52 universe. In a world that is so dark, bleak, and, well, realistic, it’s nice to see a little magic and hope. And Johns really gets that.

Justice League 21 Picture 2

Now onto a few questions. Do I really think that Black Adam is dead? Absolutely not. After all, he’s in the solicitations for villains month. Do I feel like the Marvel family (if we can even legally call them that anymore) will be showing up as a team or will it just be Billy? I honestly don’t know. I wouldn’t mind seeing them show up every now and then, but Shazam! definitely deserves his own spot on one of the respective Justice Leagues. Perhaps America? I mean, they could definitely use a conscience on the team. That’s for sure. And do I think the relationship between Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind is going to mean something bad for the heroes of the DC Universe? Well, it’s not like Johns does anything just for kicks. He’s planning something for them. And I hope we get to see them sooner rather than later. Perhaps Trinity War? I guess we’ll find out. Possibly even next week in the prologue. See you all there.


My Rating: 4.5/5

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Comments (2)

This was a good story. I am thinking that the backup stories being a long, drawn-out standalone arc was not what this character needed. 2-3 issues standalone, maybe as a mini, would have been better, I think, and this issue proved that Shazam can definitely be a full-blown story character.


Agreed. Such a fun issue (and character). I'm not sure if he's ready for his own title, but I said that about Aquaman and happily eat my words monthly.

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