Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: Justice League #2

The first issue of Justice League already feels like it's an eternity away. It came out in a time when everyone still thought Aquaman was a loser, and when people were more concerned with Wonder Woman's lack of pants than her actual comic. The DC relaunch was a completely untested quantity. We didn't know if Scott Snyder could do justice to Swamp Thing, or if Grant Morrison could pull off his blue jeans wearing Superman. Justice League #1 was burdened with everyone expectations and all of their fears, and it's only with issue #2 that I feel like we can get a real sense of what this series might be like.

To my surprise, this issue did not pick up right where the last one left off, but instead opened on Barry Allen, who's been tasked with finding the identity of The Flash. Barry apparently has some history with Hal Jordan already, and they've fought together in the past (fighting Gorilla Grodd, which was a nice touch). Based on solicits, I was expecting this to be a Superman showcase, but for me, this did a better job of showing why the Flash is awesome than anyone else. He genuinely showed up Supes for a while there, even if he did manage to touch him in the end.

Cyborg was probably my favorite part of the last issue, and while I didn't find his scenes quite as striking here, writer Geoff Johns still does a solid job of building up the character. It looks like things are going to get much more interesting for Vic Stone come next issue, and I'm looking forward to seeing how his transformation into Cyborg is handled in the DCnU. Young Hal Jordan continues to entertain, but he also continues to be a major doofus:

Insert your favorite facepalm image here.
This isn't a point of major concern, since it's a flashback arc and Hal shouldn't even be in the league once we get back to the present, but I don't know that Hal acting like a dolt is going to be funny for all that much longer.
Kirby dots will always make me smile.
Jim Lee continues to do a terrific job with the book's art. These are some of the best constructs we've ever seen from Hal, and the level of detail in the book's splash pages is really impressive. I'm not crazy about the outfit he stuck Silas Stone in, but I am more than willing to excuse some awkward fashion choices when the rest of the book looks this good. There's an energy here that isn't always present in Lee's work, and I think he must really be having a blast working on this. I'm not sure how much lead time he has on the comic, but I hope it's enough to enjoy his work for at least a few more months. Anyone who's enjoyed Lee's work in the past should give this comic a look. I don't think of Lee as being someone who really emulates Jack Kirby, but it was great to see him use some of those elements here.

There's also some really interesting stuff included in the book's bonus content. We get more of the character design stuff we saw in the last issue, but we also get a really intriguing Amanda Waller/Steve Trevor interview.  I haven't enjoyed Waller in the new Suicide Squad at all, but her voice comes through clearly here, and there are some very nice hints of what might have to come. Most of the interview deals with Wonder Woman, but we also get an idea of what we might see in the upcoming Justice League back-up tale "The Curse of Shazam", and some references to a character I'm guessing we'll be seeing soon.

Overall, I enjoyed Justice League #2 more than the issue that came before. Not only was it easier to relax and enjoy the book on its own merits, but the comic was well paced and is really starting to feel like the team book it's supposed to be. I'm excited to see how Johns handles Wonder Woman next issue, and I'm really looking forward to the team's expanded roster. I've lost track of how many times Justice League #1 has been reprinted, but I imagine it's pretty easy to get a hold of now. If you decided to hold off on the series, now's not a bad time to give it a go. Those buying this for the throw down on the cover may be disappointed, but this story arc is off to a solid start, and things should only get better once the full team is assembled.

By Marceline with No comments


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