New 52 – Justice League #11 review

I always find it funny how anytime Batman takes part in a story with the rest of the DC universe, batarangs can do pretty much anything. In regular bat-titles, Batman rarely ever even throws these things anymore. Even in the movie “The Dark Knight” not a single batarang was thrown. Not one. But whenever Batman’s in the Justice League, he’s throwing explosive, freezing, electric, EVERY variety of batarang to shakeup the likes of Darkseid and other villains that shouldn’t even be phased by these “toys”. I bring this up because in opening pages of issue #11, Superman is being suspended by a tangled vine of sparkly crystal things and you better believe that evil crystals are no match for a well-aimed batarang.

The opening of this issue was pretty weak. The last issue ended with the Justice League being dominated and they all succumbed to visions of misery, but all the intensity (What little there was. It was more disbelief that this bad guy just waltzed into the Watchtower and brought down every hero in no time at all) of that scene gets thrown out the window once we see that the team just has to shake it off.

Thankfully that’s the weakest moment of the whole issue and it gets better and better as it goes along leading up to a climax that really surprised me. And these surprise reveals usually never surprise me or at least are never that impressive. This one is fantastic though and I’m sure message boards everywhere are exploding with discussion…I can’t look though–it’s too risky to see “The Dark Knight Rises” spoilers.

The real strengths of this book come from Graves’ deliciously villainous moment in a suburban home, a beautifully drawn brawl with a very impressive two-page spread, and like I said, the ending is really quite shocking. However, I will say that the brawl in question is a bit forced. This chapter is mostly made up of conversations between the various characters and some quiet scenes in which the League investigates Graves’ past so when the fight happens it feels shoehorned in just so Jim Lee can be fully utilized. I mean, he’s one of the most famous artists in the business and he’s famous for supercharged action sequences that spread across multiple pages and showing the heroes in iconic poses that eventually end up as statues and posters. Showing the Justice League walk around a house for 28 pages is a waste of the man’s talent so I can see why they did it–and it does look cool!–but it felt pretty out of place to me. Wonder Woman fans should be proud, though. You folks got some pretty kick-ass Wonder Woman shots in this issue.

There was one panel in particular though that felt rushed. Look at this:

Who wants to photoshop Scooby-Doo into this picture?

Other than that the art is top-notch as always, but there’s yet another lettering mistake. I swear, this is like the 4th time this month I’ve spotted a lettering mistake. What’s going on? “They thought it was some form if cancer.” I can see how those kinds of mistakes can be easy to overlook, I know I make them all the time in my own articles but I don’t have an editor here at Batman-News. Maybe it’ll get fixed in the hardcover version but I kind of doubt it. In the “Justice League Vol. 1” graphic novel the powers that be didn’t even fix the coloring mistake that makes Flash’s chinstrap disappear and reappear throughout the early chapters.

Let’s see what were some other problems…oh yeah, the fight I was talking about earlier starts in a desolate street but in the next panel the street is filled with gawkers recording the event with their cell phones. That kinda bugged me too but that’s nitpicky. When you can tell I’m being nitpicky about things that means it was probably an enjoyable read and I have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for real problems. This is a good thing. But before I move on to the Shazaam back-up story and the issue’s overall score (I recommend buying this, just in case you don’t feel like reading the rest or can’t be bothered to scroll down for an arbitrary 1-10 score) I’m hoping you can help me with something:

This is a call to anyone who really knows their Green Lantern facts. How does the ring get defeated? By that I mean, what does it take to break a construct? I remember it used to be anything the color yellow and that’s been retconned, so what is it now? Is it a matter of the opposing force having a greater will power than what went into building the construct? So Green Lanterns get beat by bad guys who hit at them and really mean it. I guess the old sports argument “the other team just wanted it more” would actually apply if that’s how it works, but I honestly don’t know and hope somebody can tell me. But maybe it’s one of those things that hasn’t really been explained like “How does Superman fly faster?” or “How does Spider-Man stick to walls when there’s a layer of costume between him and the building?”

And also, who do you think is the most underused member of this team? I feel like it’s either Aquaman or Flash. Both of those guys seem pretty useless so far. I’m not knocking them as characters or heroes, I’m just saying that they haven’t really done anything in this series. Cyborg, surprisingly, is probably the most useful member of the whole team. Not only does he provide all of the team’s transportation, but he’s one of the most mature, he provides excellent intel, and we learn of yet another advantage he has in this issue–an advantage that I won’t spoil here.

The Shazaam back-up by Johns and Frank is terrific as usual but it flies by this time (I wish this had its own series). You’ll probably be done reading it in less than 2 minutes and that’s if you take your time to admire the stunning artwork. It looks great, it shows some awesome stuff with Black Adam, and best of all we get some real progression toward the big moment we’ve all been waiting for– the moment when Billy becomes Captain Marvel Shazaam. In fact, this whole issue of “Justice League” has the best plot progression of any of the issues so far. The 6 part Origin saga moved at a snail’s pace and the more recent stuff hasn’t been a whole lot faster. But here we travel all over the place with the Justice League as they hunt for Graves and we also learn more about Graves in the process, heck we learn more about certain members of the team as well. Things happen!

SCORE: 7.5/10