I’ll keep this short and sweet since this book came out at the beginning of the month, but I figured I should write some little something what with the series double shipping this month after a 7 week delay from March to May. Issue #3 is a gate-fold cover coming out way behind everyone else and if you’ve read Catwoman #19 already then you know that the surprise “traitor” is Catwoman (You also know pretty much everything that transpires in this issue). It’s actually all one big ruse to attract the attention of the Secret Society of Super Villains. Of course, before we can get to that we need to see the JLA fight the true Justice League, as it was teased at the end of the last episode.

It’s pretty evident where the delays must have come from. David Finch is definitely not at the top of his game in this issue. We see an awful lot of muddled faces, stiff poses, and the daintiest Wonder Woman I’ve ever seen

Spoiler
It turns out to be a robot, but Finch drew the real Wonder Woman in the very first issue and she was equally tiny. That ain’t Wonder Woman if you ask me. Wonder Woman should be gorgeous, yes, but she should also look like a woman and not a 16 year old cheerleader.
The poor artwork and reveal of who the combatants really are makes it a pretty underwhelming fight, which is a shame because it’s been hinted at since the series’ very first issue. Also, some of you may have received a copy of the book that had a coloring mistake. Not all copies that hit stores were like this, but there are some in which Martian Manhunter is colored like Batman.

Once we get to the Catwoman stuff the issue starts getting really good. Not so much as a Justice League book, but as a Catwoman book. JLA #3 is hands-down the best Catwoman story I’ve read in probably a year… maybe more? Although the events that happen in JLA #3 and Catwoman #19/20 don’t jive perfectly, it doesn’t really matter– THIS is the only comic you need to worry about. Check in on Catwoman whenever a new writer is finally hired.

I’ve enjoyed JLA so far and besides the delay I think it’s off to a really great start. This issue in particular has quite a few good laughs, solid characterization, and a really fun concept. The idea of infiltrating the Secret Society is enough to get any DC fan excited, I think. My only problem with the JLA is that, while the characterization is great and there have been some funny moments, I would like to see some chemistry or conflict between the members. Let’s build some relationships among the team members. One of the things that Justice League has always done well is using the formula of having the team split-up like the Scooby-Doo gang when confronted with a big problem. By forcing certain characters to pair up we got to see stronger bonds form between the characters. Right now, the JLA have been attacking everything as one big group or sending a single member (Green Arrow, Catwoman, Vibe, etc.) out on a solo mission. Let’s get a buddy-system going.

The backup Martian Manhunger tale by Matt Kindt and Manuel Garcia is a drastic improvement in art quality and, again, it’s a Catwoman-centric story. This really is a must-buy for fans of Selina. However, it’s also not as strong of a short story as we got in issue #2. Here we see Martian Manhunter dive into Catwoman’s mind and Catwoman somehow dive into Martian Manhunter’s mind. It’s a pretty cheap way to get some exposition out of the way, but the imagery of a more savage J’onn fighting martian beasts is cool enough that you can let it slide.

Overall

JLA #3 fails to progress the story past what we saw last month in Catwoman #19, but it does a far, far better job with the Catwoman character both in its main story and the Martian Manhunter backup. After the long delay, it would have been nice if the artwork was worth the wait but this might just be David Finch’s poorest effort. Luckily, Manuel Garcia lifts the book back up with his pencils in the quite breathtaking backup which shows us a young J’onn J’onzz on Mars. JLA #3 is a must-buy for fans of Selina Kyle and I still find myself very interested in where Geoff Johns is taking this motley crew.

SCORE: 7/10