From DC Comics, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, David Finch, Scott Williams and 16 others! Plus two editors!
Shortly after Rob Liefeld complains that there are too many people involved in making the New 52, the number one book from DC comes out with a creative team of over twenty people.
All of these creators to tell a story about the fear of being alone. In a team book.
Its this head scratcher that sums up the book. As a long time reader but also a realist I’m torn over how to read this book. Is this how we’re telling stories now? Comics always have to evolve. This is the Cinematic Age of super heroes and thus creators and fans all need to adjust to this new era and the new rules that come with it. However, certain things will always remain true. First among those things is that comics are a blend of text and art. The two need to work together to create something wonderful. In the end this book feels like two artists are working alone and hoping after the fact that what they create will come together.
Look, we all love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But not every kind of chocolate will work with every kind of peanut butter. Johns is good, Lee is good, but these two styles are not working well together. For every extra line Jim Lee adds to a character’s face Johns adds another sentence of dialogue. We’re not illiterate comic readers. Volumes of text are fine. They are even better when they have meaning. The panels become smaller and smaller to fit in all of the text as each character gets a word in. (Well, I did feel that Cyborg got the short stick here but that’s another article.) Which means that in order to accommodate all of these words Jim Lee’s art is covered up! When one of the selling points of this book is the artist, it makes no sense to cover up the art. Words are great, yes. But in this medium sometimes less is more. A look can say more than a page of text.
Then there is the actual story of the issue. Graves is incapacitating the heroes with the “souls” of their lost loved ones. Its a trick of course, but it feels real. All of this is undone by the presence of Steve Trevor. Well, if Steve is alive then this all must be fake. Yes it is fake, but Krypton, Thomas and Martha Wayne, etc are all still dead. No matter is Steve is living or dead, it doesn’t change who we know for sure is and has been dead for quite some time. It might be my bad, but I don’t get the recent trend of adding soldier with a gun types to the biggest super hero teams. Steve is about to be on Justice League of America. Sharon Carter has never seemed like an Avenger to me, no matter how hard they may try.
The ending comes fast. While it would make sense for Wonder Woman to be the one to take out Graves, as it was the discovery of Steve still being alive that allowed the Justice League to come back. But no, its part of the mission to build Aquaman up into a bad ass. Which I am totally for. He has been crapped on for too long and he is without a doubt one of the stars of the new 52. I agree with giving Aquaman moments to shine, but this didn’t seem like it should have been his moment.
Seeing sensitive Batman will take you out of the story for a moment. Be prepared for that one.
Finally the kiss.
I’m all for it.
No, I don’t think the execution of anything in this comic came across well. However, I’m pleased with the result. Superman and Wonder Woman together has years if not decades of story possibilities. In an age of TMZ and royal family scandals and reality shows and everything else that showcases our crazy obsession with celebrities NOTHING would be bigger than this within DC’s planet Earth. Do they live together? Do they team up and do together what neither of them could do alone? Could they change the world? Two super powers (and I also mean that in the geopolitical sense) joining together has worldwide if not universe wide effects. And what happens if they break up? Could the world survive that fight?
Justice League is one good idea burdened by a writer and artist showing off a bit too much. If the events of the comic were given space to breathe it could be something great.