Thursday, August 30, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Justice League #12

I will freely admit this: I bought this for the cover and what I knew was going to happen with Superman X Wonder Woman.

It's not that the JL's book has been bad. I've read through the first arc (Issues 1-6) in trade paperback form and it was pretty good, actually. I am really upset that Cyborg is getting his origin in the Justice League that in the Teen Titans, but if Wolfman-Perez is getting written out, then this is a good way to honor the character.

I also feel like the first arc, at least in the beginning, was a gigantic love letter to Superman. It's more balanced now, but the key to making the League interesting is acknowledging that each has a skill set that makes them a threat to the other:

Superman: Power and most expansive superhero abilities
Wonder Woman: Superman-like abilities but improved agility and fighting arsenal at the cost of power
Batman: Best strategic ability and weaponry that could take out a superhuman
Green Lantern: A power with no true limit (only limited by how strong the holder's will is)
Flash: Unmatched foot speed and the ability to vibrate through obstacles
Aquaman: Control of 70 percent of the earth's surface and nearly unbeatable under water
Cyborg: Ability to do damage from a distance with weaponry and competent with most everyone else's abilities

Having Supes just shame Hal Jordan and Barry Allen in the early encounter seemed to lower their momentum, but like I said, the unit has shown more balance lately.

Anyway, with this being the last issue of the second arc, I was ready to read through this once and put it away for collection purposes. But this actually was a great jump-on point.

What really helped was that the first few pages did an "Entertainment Tonight"-esque report on what's been happening in the last few issues so that the stage was set for what was about to happen. This evidently replaced a side story, Shazam!, that has been shaming the main book lately.

I'm guessing when they knew they were doing the Superman-WW thing, they realized it would be wise to make this new reader friendly. Most were probably disappointed, but it really did help me. I'd recommend this highly as a jumping-on point.

The story opened with all the heroes seeing their dead relatives' ghosts, who wanted them to stay in the ghostly realm. This is proven to be a clever ruse and it leads to an interesting fight sequence that showed off the heroes' abilities well.

What really sells the book, though, is the post-battle backlash. The heroes begin to wonder if the manner in which they have fought crime has been a valid method and whether they need to be smarter about how they go about it.

Hal Jordan takes himself out of the picture in time for his massive crossover (more on that when I can find a copy of the GL Annual), Aquaman tries to seize leadership from Batman, and the Flash is... there.

Lastly, Superman and Wonder Woman discuss why a secret identity has value and talk about how they can never truly be one of the regular people, and are attracted to each other's pain.

Admittedly, I can understand Clark and Diana feeling frustrated by their responsibilities, but I can't help but feel like there was a feeling of arrogance in this scene. Superman seemed more down-to-earth, but I felt a horrifying connection to "JLA: Act of God" in this at times. I like what they did; I just wish the writing had been a little sharper.

Needless to say, this is going to get a big buyrate. Heck, only two issues of the normal print of the book were left when I got to my local store, so there will be reprints coming.

This was a really strong issue, and from what I've gathered that's not a consistent occurrence with this series. That said, I will be keeping tabs on this title in the store now. Pick up a copy of this book if you can still find one.

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