Justice League 22
Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis
Trinity War Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
If there’s anything I’ve learned from the past works of Geoff Johns, it’s that he knows how to spin a good superhero yarn. And now that Trinity War is officially here, it looks like this one is going to be the same standard that we’ve learned to come to expect from the master storyteller. There’s a reason he’s the Chief Creative Officer of the greatest comic book company around. He knows his characters. He loves his world. And he’s an expert planner. Impressively, the first part of this next soon-to-be classic story not only makes the characters of the entire DC Universe seem fresh and relatable to a reader who might be lapsed or even brand new, but simultaneously does so while pulling in threads from just about every story he’s written since the birth of the New 52. How he does it, I’m not sure. But one thing’s for sure: He’s pretty amazing at it.
So much happens in this issue that my summary couldn’t possibly do it justice, but let’s just say that the line in the sand has been drawn and the DCU is at war. A mysterious stranger goes to visit Madame Xanadu as she predicts the future with her magic tarot cards and narrates the converging stories. Shazam! goes to Kahndaq to spread the ashes of Black Adam, even though he’s a bad guy, because it’s the right thing to do. Superman and Wonder Woman debate ethics and meet Pandora, who accidentally almost kills Supes by forcing him to open the box that freed the Seven Deadly Sins. Amanda Waller threatens the new Dr. Light into joining her Justice League while Steve Trevor tries his hardest to keep the team focused on their mission, even though he seems to believe in it less and less lately. And then, as the mysterious stranger talking to Madame Xanadu reveals herself as Plastique, a member of the villainous Secret Society, and kills her, the unthinkable happens. On foreign soil, in front of the whole world, a misunderstanding in the form of Shazam! being young and naïve, Superman being clueless and too forceful, and Colonel Trevor following orders blindly leads to the worst possible thing that could happen to the Justice Leagues. A character overreacts and accidentally kills another character on the opposing team. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, so just check it out for yourself and form your own opinions. Let me just say that this moment, no matter how you feel about it, will become the defining moment of Geoff Johns’ tenure on the New 52 titles. It’s going to polarize fans in such a way that it’s going to change things, not only in the DC Universe, but the real universe, for quite some time. This is a good thing. Tangential thinking aside, think about Marvel’s Civil War a few years back. Love it or hate it, if you were reading it (or even around a newspaper or TV screen, for that matter) you had an opinion. And most of those opinions were borderline violent.
That makes this comic not only “good” (I would argue that it’s great), but important. Yes, there’s some shadowy villainous stuff going on in the background and yes, this is just the first part of an event that is leading into a much bigger one when it reaches its conclusion, but mark my words, Johns and company know what they’re doing. They’re continuing to pave the way, quite bravely, I might add, to something bigger, better, and much bolder than we’ve ever seen before. If you were like me, you were first very hesitant, possibly even angry at the concept of the New 52. But, if you are currently like me, you were not only pleasantly surprised (for the most part) with the relaunch and the continued success and quality of its line, but also the fact that for the first time in decades, a comic book company is actually capable of doing something special. The rules are not set. These creators (and obviously, they are a select few) can actually do something different for once. Who knows how this one will end, but you can guarantee that it’s going to cause shockwaves. This was the first DC comic I have read in over a decade that actually did something that surprised me. It was just a bonus that it was beautifully written and drawn. Go pick this issue up right now, before it sells out. And do what the creators are inadvertently asking you to do: Get excited. Get angry. But above all else, care.
My Rating: 5/5