New 52 – Justice League #13 review

Justice League 13

The one where everybody got along. That’s how many will probably view issue #13. For the first time since the New 52 began the Justice League are behaving like a team. Maybe it was Green Lantern who was causing the rift? Who knows! The Flash has concerns about Superman and Wonder Woman, but we know that they are smooching in private and he’s worried about the power struggle between Aquaman and Batman over leadership of the team, but they appear to work together just fine in a meeting with Steve Trevor. The team behaves like a team here. As for the villain that they face: it’s Cheetah. I don’t know much about Cheetah other than the fact that I always mistakenly attribute her name to Vixen. Not only did Geoff Johns do a fine job of bringing me up to speed about who Cheetah is but he made her look quite formidable.

However, much like my complaint with the recent Batman #13 (but obviously to a far, far greater extent here) I felt that the threat of this villain relied too much on watering down the heroes. In one scene in particular Wonder Woman, Flash, Superman, Batman, Aquaman, and Cyborg are scouring the jungle for clues. The Flash just finished running over the entire area searching for any evidence when Cyborg and Superman hear distant chanting. Then, suddenly, Cheetah bursts out of the bushes and proceeds to whoop the ever-loving-crap out of every member of the league. How? The Flash overlooked her? Superman didn’t hear a heartbeat or a rustling of leaves? Why didn’t Superman give the jungle a once-over with his X-ray vision and save Flash the jog? Cyborg didn’t scan the area either? That’s why I get annoyed with books that feature super-powered characters. It’s too easy to scrutinize moments of weakness when the characters are so godlike.

Speaking of godlike, is it odd for anyone else to see Wonder Woman fly? I read Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman series and I don’t believe she has flown in that series yet. Granted, I haven’t read today’s issue or issue #12, but I’ve not ever seen her fly. Azzarello’s Wonder Woman is very different from Geoff Johns’ version. Azzarello’s is something new that’s more horror inspired and draws more from the Greek mythology while Geoff Johns’ Wonder Woman feels about the same as she did pre-New 52.

If it wasn’t for that overpowered Cheetah moment I would highly recommend this issue. They can beat Darkseid and his army but they can handle a Cheetah-woman? You’ve gotta salute DC for trying to make one of Wonder Woman’s rogues more threatening, but come on! Superman?

On the plus side, seeing the fallout of Green Lantern’s departure is fascinating and I actually care about how Superman and Wonder Woman behave after “the kiss”.  The Flash has his best moment in the series so far after being criminally underused in every other issue and I really like Steve Trevor more and more with every issue.

Tony Daniel did the artwork for the book and it’s nice to see his pencils again after leaving Detective Comics recently. The faces he draws are quite angular but he does a great job making every character expressive (especially Flash) and some of the backgrounds are quite gorgeous (the man draws a good jungle). The only thing that I felt wasn’t handled that well was the opening fight scene:

 Are these ladies about to fight or scissor? And in later shots there’s a sword on Wonder Woman’s leg that must be held on with magnets because there’s no sheath to speak of.

The Backup

What do you mean there’s no Shazam backup?!

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

That’s right there’s no Shazam this month. Instead what you get is “On the Outs” which is a story about Steve Trevor (yay) written by Geoff Johns (cool) and Jeff Lemire (awesome), but in the end it turns out to be one big tease that ends in “To Be Continued” and not next month in Justice League #14, either! It’s a prelude to Justice League of America #1 which won’t come out until 2013… (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Brad Walker does a phenomenal job drawing this brief backup (it’s only 6 pages). I thought that he did a great job with the facial expressions of Ollie and Steve and I’d love to see more artwork from him in the future. But seriously, even with the nice artwork, Steve Trevor, and Jeff Lemire added in the backup was nothing but an advertisement and a poor replacement for Shazam.

Overall

It’s an alright start to a new arc but it could’ve been really great with some better dialogue (“Let me free you from the cheetah!”), better use of the heroes at the end rather than acting like a bunch of Red Shirts, and if it had a backup story that was more than just an ad for JLA #1. I’d give it a 6.5 or a 7 I suppose, but it’s a good jumping-on point for new readers and I suspect the next installment will be even better now that they’re done making Cheetah look like an A-lister.

SCORE: 7/10

Related: Comics Reviews

Around The Web