It’s time for a classic (Pre 52 anyway) Justice League story. This isn’t an iconic event and it’s not even the climax to an arc. No, this is just an installment in the middle of the Justice League of America’s run back in the day so this is a perfect way to see how it holds up. Is it new reader friendly? Is it action packed? Luckily, I can say yes to both of those questions.
The title actually hints at the plot as many villains are on the run since they are being targeted by the Suicide Squad. You would think that the villains would have a clear edge, but the Squad has grown tougher over the years. They have a man who has the strength of a wild animal, The Sargent/General (DC’s version of Red Hulk) and several other members, but I’ll admit that none of them left a lasting impression. They have already gotten some of the big guns like the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Grodd so the final villains realize what they have to do…..they have to turn themselves in to the Justice League! This starts a pretty interesting plot as the League does tend to be at odds with the government on several occasions. Has Amanda Waller overstepped her boundaries?
The other half of the comic deals with what the heroes find when they try to track down the mission villains and we also get a long discussion with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. They talk about the team and there are a few hidden insults as well as the three of them try to out think the other two members.
Cliffhanger wise, I can’t say that it was an amazing one, but it was what I would consider solid. The villains have plans of their own and this makes them look a lot better since you may have assumed the worst when we heard that they had all been beaten by the government. As Luthor basically states, this particular twist has been done a few times already though so it’s not shocking, but it does have the potential to give us a lot of great fights. The Martian Manhunter is also dealing with troubles of his own. (By the way, this graphic novel apparently leads into Final Crisis so I guess it was sort of related to an event after all!)
This collection deals with a lot of government intrigue and political talk as we have to decide whether it’s a good thing that the government is capturing all of the thugs or not. Naturally, I agreed with Batman that when nobody can see what the government is doing, they start to cross the law. As always, the government looks shady to the point where you can say that Waller and her group are just as evil as some of the villains. They just want to eliminate the villains for good. It would save hundreds if not thousands of lives, but resorting to destroying the villains is just as bad. Their prison is basically a death sentence after all.
Batman’s portrayal plays out as you would hope. He doesn’t get a lot of action, but he’s always a step ahead of Waller. Instead of making threats, he’s busy finding out where the prison is and alerting his teammates to Waller’s assault on the Watchtower. (You have to admit…it would have been Awesome if that had happened during the TV show. Her gang wouldn’t have stood a chance if Superman and the others had shown up) The Dark Knight doesn’t really get much better than this and he was a highlight of the collection!
Superman also looks pretty sharp. There seems to be an event that happened with Vixen a while back, but it evidently wasn’t Superman’s fault (Too much) although he should have been able to dodge. He has the speed and that must have been a character plot hole. Regardless, he’s still the heart of the team and he likes to take an optimistic look at what the team is doing..even if it’s shady. He’s probably the only hero who keeps up a polite pre tense with Amanda Waller.
From the big three, Wonder Woman definitely gets the smallest role or at least it felt that way. Technically, she does get a team up issue with the Flash that helps to even things out. You can even argue that technically she appears the most and it just feels like she didn’t appear as much because she didn’t get as many memorable scenes. She looked pretty good in the team up although I was mostly busy feeling sympathetic for the Flash. You can definitely tell that she’s one of the big leaguers.
The Flash only gets a brief appearance in his team up issue, but he seems like a nice guy. The Flash has easily been one of my favorite leaguers, but I’m usually talking about Barry Allen. I like Wally West, but I can’t say that I find him as likable as Barry…usually. He was definitely very good here and he may have been blowing the league off, but I’m sure that he has his reasons. His super speed always comes in handy and personality wise, he’s a pretty complete hero. (Like Mega Man) Hopefully we will see more of him in future issues.
Vixen gets a rather large role in this graphic novel due to a side plot that revolves around her. She used to harness the powers of animals through her amulet, but now she has been able to absorb the powers of heroes around her. This means that she can have the strength of Superman and she can even use Green Lantern’s energy blasts. It’s pretty surreal and it’s definitely something that is useful to have. Because of this, you could say that she’s one of the League’s power hitters although she only gets into a brief skirmish with one of the Suicide Squad’s members. It’s a pretty interesting plot and I’ll be sure to stay tuned.
Red Arrow doesn’t look very good though and his plot isn’t very interesting either. He is pretty desperate in his search for Cheshire and it doesn’t do his team any favors. The last thing they need is for him to start falling into traps. He usually has a pretty cool air about him, but he’s not very likable here. Hopefully he gets over that situation pretty soon.
We also can’t forget the surprise villain at the end. I guess I won’t spoil who it is, but he’s usually not a fighter. Luckily, he stumbled onto a piece of tech (Or something or magical origin) that allows him to give the Justice League a decent challenge. Even Superman can’t snap these blue threads, which was a little of a stretch to be honest. You can tell from his design that this villain isn’t going to be taken seriously very often, but his plan was decent and pretty well thought out. I’m not a fan and I don’t find him terribly interesting, but I’ll give him some props for the attempt. Think of it as a little filler before the real battles.
Amanda Waller makes for a pretty interesting villain as per usual. I don’t like her methods as a hero, but she does usually make for a fun antagonist. She gets to trade hidden insults with Batman and their mind games always tend to be pretty intense. I’m sure that we’ll see a lot more of her in the future, although I have to say that she really didn’t think through her plan that much here. Sending the villains away to the “prison” is good (for her) and all, but she should at least check to see what’s happening once and a while. In the DC universe, you never know what’s going to happen with a situation like that.
I’ll admit that I liked the Key’s confidence. With a power like his, it’s easy to see why he’s like that. I like to think that the villains still could have put up a decent fight against the Suicide Squad, but I guess it does pay off to play it safe sometimes. It gave the beginning an event feel as the group is on the run and we have to hope that the villains make it out…unless we just wait for the League to take them all down.
The art is pretty solid. It’s admittedly not as sleek as the New 52 comics, but that also allows the heroes to look a little more built as well. Superman is definitely pretty muscular here and I like how he takes charge. (Unlike the Avengers) Superman stands up to Waller’s cronies and he doesn’t give an inch. This is why he’s Superman! Whoops, I diverged from the art a bit. Needless to say, the art is pretty good.
One thing to note is that there is not a whole lot of action to be found here. There are a few skirmishes and a small battle with Queen Bee, but that’s about it. This collection is mostly plot based, but The Justice League of America manages to pull this off pretty well. More action is almost always better, but I can deal with a break from it if everything else is top notch. It’s also heavily implied that the next volume will have a lot more action since the plot is really getting close to the climax.
Overall, This is a fun Justice League comic. Unfortunately, we don’t really get to see the big 3 get a lot of action, but their meeting helps since they still get a decent amount of screen time. Superman gets to stand up to Waller and Batman quickly uncovers the enemy plans. It’s really everything that you could want in a Justice League comic and naturally, we have some fight scenes ready as well. It’s a title that I recommend to any comic fan, whether you are reading it for the action or the plot. Either way, it is just an interesting read from start to finish and you can tell that this is the calm before the storm.