JusticeLeague18

Awesome cover, eh? Shame Cyborg doesn’t have his own book yet. The guy has easily been one of the most important members of the team in every arc so far. He has total access to all the world’s intel, he’s incredibly powerful, and he’s basically the Justice League’s bus. The boom tube effect is a pretty cool power and a helluva dramatic entrance.

So what is the actual comic about? Well now that the epic Throne of Atlantis story is over we’re in for a bit of a cool down and a return of the Shazam backups (yay). The Justice League portion is perhaps too slow though. It’s basically just a big group of costumed grownups sitting around a table for several pages

Spoiler
I always thought that if everyone in the Watchtower knew Batman’s identity it would be interesting to see a story in which the League shows up to the table and finds Bruce out of costume. He dresses up to scare criminals, not to impress the likes of you.
Some of the interactions are funny, but none of them are quite as memorable as what we get in today’s JLA #2, which is also about a big group of superheroes sitting around a table. I won’t spoil who all shows up to the Justice League’s party, after all that’s most of the fun this issue provides.
Spoiler
I’ll go ahead and spoil one of the character cameos for you though since it’s highly Batman-related. Dick Grayson shows up and the interaction he has with Bruce is probably the best example of the two having a true falling out following the events of Death of the Family I’ve seen so far. However, I feel that after the death of Damian the entire Bat-family should’ve pulled together and supported one another through the tragedy.
 Flipping each page not knowing who will show up next should make any DC fan happy and seeing a few of these heroes in action as they get the surprise call from the Watchtower is also quite exciting. I will say though that it would’ve been nice to have had more of an introduction to some of these people. The round table discussion isn’t exactly new reader friendly. Many of these characters who got an invite are pretty obscure.

Things do get more complicated near the end so the issue isn’t just witty banter and fan-service

Spoiler
Though the fight with Platinum wasn’t very exciting. At all
. The inciting incident is a cool one that’s definitely hooked me enough to be more than excited for issue #19.

You’ll notice quite the change in artwork from previous issue. Filling in this month is Jesus Saiz who really does a supurb job of giving each character their own unique look. No two faces look the same and in a room full of square jaws and perfect hair, that’s saying something. I particularly liked his Wonder Woman. However, the Watch Tower hasn’t had a whole lot of life breathed into it. There aren’t many backgrounds at all and for a story that takes place almost entirely in one room it would’ve been nice to have had a bit more scenery. The colors are also quite pure and the tale has an overly clean look. It makes for an interesting contrast between this series and the dirty, dingy appearance of JLA.

As always, the Shazam backup is glorious. Gary Frank’s artwork is phenomenal, the characters are all likeable (there’s a Goonies reference– and if you listened to Geoff Johns’ Fatman on Batman interview then you’ll get a bit more out of that neat little nod). I really wish that this story was it’s own series. I know I’ve said that time and time again, but it kills me every time I reach the end of this brief 8 page look at what could be one of the best ongoing series in DC’s entire lineup.

Justice League #18 is a nice little breather after the all-out-war of Throne of Atlantis but it’s more fun for die-hard DC fans looking for familiar faces than it is casual readers looking for story. Some exciting stuff is thrown in at the end that could lead somewhere great but only time will tell. The Shazam backup is still a joy to read but if you haven’t kept up with that since the beginning you won’t know what’s going on.

SCORE: 7.5/10