The good news is this is a great jumping on point for new readers and there will be quite a few since the whole Superman/Wonder Woman kiss seen both on the variant cover and in countless news articles is being widely publicized. The bad news is that the nice 3-page recap of what’s happened so far in The Villain’s Journey saga is narrated by TMZ. I’m not joking. It’s not like they swapped the actual name TMZ out with “TMI” like the Aaron Sorkin show The Newsroom or the way most shows and books will rename a product (like this month’s Amazing Spider-Man and its “Horizon” phones) this is TMZ and even the two guys talking are spot-on likenesses of their real life counterparts. I hate TMZ. I hate everything about it and what it represents. That said, the use of TMZ was probably only a big distraction for me and I’m not going to knock points off the score of this review because of it. It makes complete sense why they were used as narrators because they are all about celebrity worship and in the DC universe the members of the Justice League are the biggest celebrities in the world. I just get a migraine anytime I see that TMZ show and I thought…I thought comics were safe!
Anyway, on to the actual content…
I enjoyed this issue of Justice League more than any of the 11 issues before it. It’s not just big splash-page action and heroic poses broken up by the team’s banter. There’s great action, yes, and the posing still happens too, but the big difference is that there’s a real story here. Characters have real discussions rather than snappy one-liners. These characters develop in new ways, new relationships are explored, and quite a bit of change occurs that could lead to some pretty exciting stories in the future. The issue’s biggest draw back is the kiss. Not because it’s a bad moment mind you, but because DC pushed it so hard that when it finally came it wasn’t a surprise. Had they not slapped it on the cover and overly publicized it then that moment would have been a terrific surprise in an already great issue. Instead, it was more of a distraction. Anytime the characters would be shown together I would wonder “Are they gonna kiss now?”
My only other major complaint about the issue is that the villain, Graves, has a an 80s He-Man action figure character design, he never developed into a villain that was all that interesting or formidable, and he is brought down way too easily. However, his actions do make a major impact on the series and it is because of the events of his journey that I think the series is really going to hit its stride in the months to come.
Something that might disappoint folks is that there isn’t a Shazam backup this month and those stories have been the best part of the Justice League series for months. Perhaps throughout the entire run. But thankfully the actual League story is so big and so good that I didn’t mind missing out on Shazam’s adventure this month.
The conclusion to the The Villain’s Journey is a great issue not only for those who have stuck with the series, but anyone who wants to hop on now–which is really rare for an arc’s final issue. Jim Lee’s artwork is gorgeous, especially in the quieter moments and there’s even some art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and David Finch at the back of the book that teases what’s to come in future issues. I think the only people who are going to be really disappointed by this issue are Flash fans because that guy didn’t contribute much at all to this fight or the events that follow. Otherwise, this book is totally worth your time and money.