There was no better sign that Trinity War, the much hyped DC New 52 event, was coming than the launch of Justice League of America. It’s the book that really started to pull the DC universe together in a big way and with it being created by the same writer of the original Justice League series, Geoff Johns, it was clear that the continuity between the two books would be very tight for the upcoming crossover and proper planning for those big events goes a very long way. However, since World’s Most Dangerous collects all of the first 7 issues of Justice League alone you’re missing out on some of the most important chapters of Trinity War once that epic tale begins and that causes some confusing gaps in the storytelling of this particular hardcover.
This is undoubtedly the quickest release of a New 52 graphic novel yet. Justice League of America: World’s Most Dangerous collects issues #1-7 of the series and the amazing thing is that issue #8 just came out a few weeks ago. No other graphic novel of an ongoing series has been this timely since the New 52 began so color me impressed! Readers who enjoy this graphic novel can start picking up the monthly floppies instantly if they want and that’s a great a thing.
For those who don’t know, the Justice League is the team made up of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and other A-listers while the Justice League of America are a new organization pieced together by the US Government. All of that will be explained of course in the first issue, but in case there was some confusion about where The Flash was in all of this I figured it best to clear things up here and now. This Justice League may say that they are here to protect the Earth, but what they don’t know is that they were selected according to their unique power set in order to fight not criminals, but the A-list Justice League in the event that the good guys went rogue. So that’s why you see such a motley crew made up of unlikely partners such as Martian Manhunter, Simon Baz, Catwoman, Vibe, etc. etc.
Of course, even though they were assembled to fight the Justice League proper, the JLA don’t know that (well, most of them don’t) and so they are actually assigned on missions that have more of an espionage tone and are all very engaging. Rather than fight a villain of the month, the JLA is tasked with tracking down a so-called “Secret Society of Supervillains,” understand who they are, and bring them down. And it’s this thrilling hunt that leads us directly into Trinity War, the event that rocked the DC Universe.
Writer Geoff Johns excels at creating an intricate plot as well as fascinating characters with lively personalities, however, he doesn’t make great use of the varied cast. Many figures are often left to stand in the background with nothing to do, like Simon Baz who you’ll often forget is even a part of this series. Still, there’s some absolutely stunning action and a number of a hilarious lines, most of which come from Hawkman who is portrayed better than he has been in years. I can guarantee that JLA, Vol. 3 will make a few new Hawkman fans out of the lot of you. Speaking of characters getting portrayed in a superior fashion, if you’ve been as unimpressed by the ongoing Catwoman series as almost everyone else, you’ll be pleased at how she’s utilized in this series.
The visuals of this book are equally great, but divided among three very different artists which gives the tale an unfortunately inconsistent look that can be jarring. David Finch, Brett Booth, and Doug Mahnke all deliver fantastic pages because they’re all wonderful at handling dynamic action sequences, of which JLA has many! The issues drawn by Brett Booth were far and away my favorite do to the unquestionable sense of movement and vivid coloring. Overall, JLA is a fun, fast-paced book to look at. The problem, however, is that it’s only an enjoyable ride for 5 of the 7 issues you see here.
By the time you reach Trinity War the graphic novel’s legs begin to buckle under the pressure. It’s the first DC Universe-wide event and it was made of 6 chapters, the key scenes of which occurred in Justice League, not JLA. Closing the book with parts 2 and 4 of a major story, leaving out the rest and calling it a day makes for a clumsy finale. The back-up shorts by Matt Kindt are included afterward and those are all quite good, but after the confusion caused by the last 2 issues I wonder if readers will even care.
A variant cover gallery that also includes the full panoramic shot from the interconnecting Trinity War covers featured across JLA, Justice League, and Justice League Dark.
Value: Sale Price
Seven $3.99 comics collected in a hardcover for $24.99. That sounds about right and the story has a good re-read value. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to buy the upcoming Trinity War graphic novel or the individual Justice League and Justice League Dark graphic novels to really get the full story otherwise the choppiness of this book’s latter half can be a bit disheartening. If it wasn’t for the missing Trinity War chapters I’d give t his book a full price, but I’m going to have to recommend you look to Amazon or some other outlet that offers graphic novels for a few dollars less.
Issues 1-5 of this 7-part collection are an incredibly enjoyable adventure that I think a lot of readers will enjoy, but issues 6 and 7 end the book on a disjointed and confusing note. These final two installments actually make up chapters 2 and 4 of Trinity War and without those other chapters of the crossover filling in the narrative gaps things get rather choppy.