It’s been a while since I’ve read a New 52 Justice League adventure. I read a few volumes from the Morrison run, which was a lot of fun so now I can really compare it to the current versions of the League. It is still a little humorous to see the new Batman and Superman for various reasons, but they are still great characters as well, just a little different. I shall get into that shortly. I’m not so sure about the title to this volume, but I suppose that things have changed so maybe it’s a fair title…maybe. Either way, this volume’s a blast and the ending is sure to be exciting for DC fans everywhere. Especially after one of my latest reviews.
Lex Luthor helped to save the planet from the Crime syndicate back in Forever Evil. I knew someone who reeeeally loved that arc and I basically know everything about it since that was back when I was heavily following the blog events through various reviewing sites. It was a blast although I wanted the Justice League to appear more, but it did sound exciting. It makes sense that this would come back to bite the League though since the world wants Lex on the Justice League. None of the League members are for this, but then Batman gets a “brilliant” idea. He’ll have Lex join so then as Bruce Wayne, he can go to Lexcorp and dig up the villain’s evil secrets so that the heroes can arrest him once and for all. It doesn’t help that Lex Luthor walked up slowly to Wayne Manor and exclaimed that Bruce was actually Batman. So, Lex is on the team and things move very quickly. The evil Green Lantern’s Power Ring finds a girl who is afraid of the world and transforms her into a super villain. She is not evil, but she’s a prisoner in her own body now. Some bounty hunters are after Lex since they can now get rich quick and finally, a plague spreads across the country, which threatens to destroy the League once and for all.
We may as well start with the art in this title. It is nice and streamlined, which is always good. I would say that the art is terrific like usual, but I’m afraid that this isn’t the case this time. It’s mainly the facial expressions that can get a little dicey at times, mainly Shazam. There is the chance that this is intentional since Shazam looks disgracefully bad, but I can’t confirm that so it needs to be noted. Aside from this, the comic looks great for the action scenes and intense energy blasts throughout. This is still a definitive looking comic for sure.
I also need to give a quick shoutout to the epic ending of the graphic novel. Spoiler time…spoiler time. Are you still reading? Are ya? Well, Hal Jordan has returned! Since I just read the Green Lantern comic and reviewed it on the blog earlier, it’s great to see him coming back to the League. It was literally the final page of the comic so he hasn’t done anything yet, but this is certainly the muscle that the team needed. Furthermore, he’ll be very useful for the upcoming Darkseid War arc. It’s just such a powerful moment in the comic and I certainly missed him being on the team. Can you believe that he has basically missed the entire Justice League series at this point? It’s uncanny!
Jessica Cruz gets a big role here since she was taken over by Power Ring. (AKA Volthoom. It’s pretty cool to see him again after his destruction in the Green Lantern comics. I’m assuming that this is a different version from the other Earth since he was the Green Lantern’s power ring. How characters can change across universes right?) She becomes ready to fight right away and accepts her power so she’s certainly a good character. At first, she’s still scared of the world due to a traumatic backstory so she doesn’t start off on a high note, but gets there and that’s what counts. Her Green Lantern abilities will definitely be useful in future conflicts and having 2 Green Lanterns can never hurt right? It also means that we have yet another Green Lantern from Earth after Simon Baz was recently recruited. The Corps are getting stronger and stronger.
Cruz’s Power Ring was also wanted by several factions, which made for some good fights. Remember the Doom Patrol from the good ole days? Well, they’re back and in this continuity, they were all saved by a mad scientist. They feel indebted to him so they’ll obey his orders no matter what. At least their consciences are not totally gone as they want to save some civilians, but still hesitate in the end until the Justice League save them. They are also totally fine with fighting the Justice League so I certainly wouldn’t call them heroes right now. True heroes know when to question an order and furthermore, they know when to flat out disobey one. None of them are very powerful at the moment, although Mr. Negative seems to be the power hitter of the group. Lex Luthor and The Chief do have a verbal fight, which is always interesting to see. It’s basically just the Chief responding with “That’s not true” (Like a certain Presidential debate) while Lex accuses him of everything under the Moon. I’m inclined to think that Lex is telling the truth in this case and The Chief seems to have been tricked by someone, but it doesn’t change the fact that The Chief appears to basically be evil in this version.
Meanwhile, Lex’s role in this comic is really good and his fans will be thrilled. He has a battle of wits against Bruce Wayne and it isn’t even a close fight. Lex completely destroys Batman in the debates to the point where he makes Batman and Superman act very petty with rage. It’s a blast, but essentially it all starts when Lex piecies togiether Bruce Wayne’s secret identity as Batman. Bruce tries to deny it for a while, but Lex knows and nothing can undo that. He even breaks into Wayne Enterprises and while Alfred puts up a good fight, this is Lex that we’re talking about. Lex claims to want to be a hero at the moment so the team lets him in (For more petty reasons) and we’ll see how long he can keep this up.
One thing that you have to know about comics is that the status quo will always reset at some point. Lex will certainly be a villain again so we just have to wonder how long it will take. He has a shady plot already as he has hired Captain Cold to be his head of security and is taking a lot of blood samples. Why is he doing this? For all I know, it could be more heroic reasons and this is just some more misdirection to trick us all. He does seem to want to live up to the Justice League’s expectations though and tried very hard to save the day twice, but each time he was beaten to the punch. Batman ended up saving the day with Jessica Cruz before Lex and then the plague was stopped by Superman. Although, Lex is still the one who ultimately provided the cure. It reminds me of the Superman Adventure that I read recently where Lex really wanted to help a kid, but was beaten to the punch by Superman and thanks to a misunderstanding from his henchmen, he put the kid in danger. Things don’t go Lex’s way when he tries to be a hero so then it’s back to being a villain. I think he’ll last a while as a hero though and Lex is definitely an interesting character to read about. It’s amazing how different he is than during his New 52 days in the Superman comics where he was a trainwreck.
As for Batman…his fans will be a little sad. He gets pulverized by Lex so he basically gets a pouty and starts think of his own plan. He lets Lex join so that he can run through Lexcorp and find incriminating evidence of his past…that’s not cool. The thing is, Batman’s let this get personal, as has Superman. They spy on Lex, talk behind his back, and then they’re basically lying to his face. Batman even sheds some fake tears on stage as Bruce Wayne to try and one up Lex. It’s just very humorous the whole time as Batman and Superman don’t even try to hide the fact that they can’t stand the guy. It’s understandable of course, but definitely interesting to note. Batman and Superman still feel younger and more inexperienced than their Pre 52 selves even though they’re older now. It’s the new them though and as I mentioned earlier, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s made for a lot of good stories and this ongoing rivalry with Lex has proven to be a great subplot so far…even if I’m actually rooting for Lex at this point. (Sorry JLA!)
Flash, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg have less of a problem with Lex, but it’s not personal for them yet. Wonder Woman’s been giving Lex the benefit of the doubt more than the others, but with the unspoken threat that she will destroy him if he tries anything..ruling by fear has always been effective. Flash is the one who tries to keep everyone in check, such as when Wonder Woman almost put the lasso around Lex’s neck. Flash gets everyone to calm down and we’ll see how the team dynamic goes now that “You Know Who” has returned. At the very least, he’ll probably yell and exclaim how awesome this is since he loves to make fun of Batman.
We can’t forget about Shazam either…*sigh*. Remember his portrayal in Young Justice? One of the only flaws in that show was that they treated Shazam like a joke and that’s what happens here too. He’s always getting flustered, acting like a kid who’s never been outside, and has no sense of intelligence within him. Shazam is always spouting off random nonsense about wanting to eat Hot Dogs and not getting with the program. Why did they have to retcon him so that he always has the mind of a very young kid? It was definitely a very poor choice if you ask me. At least make his kid form be a little likable, but this is just way too extreme. I wanted to like the character…but it’s impossible!
If you are hoping for a lot of action then you’re definitely in luck. The Justice League vs the Metal Men is a great fight and then the Plague arc also has a lot of action. Batman’s cool zombie form is definitely a blast and he’s even able to use energy bolts towards the end. Wonder Woman fans will also be happy since she ends up taking on most of the League on her own. This version of her has definitely been great and it’s good to see her holding her own like this. I still believe that Superman’s got the edge, magic or not, but WW is certainly one of the team’s heavy hitters. She also has a lot of hand to hand experience and her raw power was boosted in the New 52, making her more of a complete fighter.
There’s also some foreshadowing here for some big arcs coming up. Owlman’s certainly not through yet and we have to get ready for the Anti Monitor’s awakening. Lex has something up his sleeve and the new Bizarro clone should also be pretty interesting. We also can’t forget that someone wants Lex Luthor dead. I almost forgot about that part, but even though it is essentially Captain Cold’s subplot, it’s a good one. The first mercenary that the group sent was decently tough, but nothing special and the heroes were able to take him out rather quickly. The cool one was Bullet. I love this guy’s design and it’s slightly inspired from Robocop. He doesn’t seem to be super powerful, but he’s not afraid to mix it up with the League. I hope to see more of him soon and this bounty hunter plot is really getting interesting.
Overall, This is a great Justice League comic. Aside from Shazam, there’s really nothing to dislike. The characters are all written well and the plot is engaging and moving at a very quick pace. There are a lot of action scenes scattered within so you’re never running low on those and the plot would be able to still be interesting even without the battles. The art is solid although the faces need some work. If you’re hesitant about getting into Justice League, don’t be. This run can hold its own against any other Justice League series and it’s why their titles are still the best in all of comics. With a certain character finally returning as well, things are only going to look up for the series from here! Of course, the team is borderline overpowered now so it makes sense that the Darkseid War is next. Get ready for things to be shaken up!