I think the first thing I must say about this issue is the art. Jason Fabok’s art is extraordinarily solid. The title page is nothing but a Metropolis street with crashed cars and $100 bills floating around… but it looks amazing. He has a knack for those stunning hero shots similar to Jim Lee with a gritty edge reminiscent of David Finch and a smidge of Gary Frank. Proportions look fantastic, perspective is spot on, and more importantly the artwork aids in telling story. So many times I see artwork that hinders the story for multiple reasons. Sometimes it looks terrible: the fundamentals are off. Sometimes the artist is so focused on drawing a poster-worthy piece that they forget the reason the art is there: to tell a story. Sometimes, I’ll admit, it’s just personal preference. Fabok’s excellent fundamentals and wonderful story-telling techniques are refreshing to see.
Now, about that story.
This is officially chapter one of The Amazo Virus. It isn’t imperative to read the last issue as there is enough exposition to keep you on track, so if you’re thinking about picking up Justice League, this will do just fine. Basically, Lex Luthor had a virus stored away that turns humans into meta-humans (they have super powers) and then they die a really sucky death. This virus was leaked when Neutron attempted to kill Luthor and wound up blowing half the building up that was housing the virus, thus exposing it to the city.
This issue brings us twenty four hours into the future. Bruce and Clark are out in the city looking for patient zero. Bruce is in a HazBats suit while Clark is fully exposed. As we are told a couple times in this issue, the Amazo virus ONLY AFFECTS HUMANS. Along the way they run into a few scavengers who can show us just what this virus can do. There is a distinctly weird dynamic between Bruce and Clark during the whole encounter. It seems as if Johns is playing with the idea of who is really in charge between these two giant heroes. I just didn’t like the tension. Not that it is bad storytelling, just personally I still want to see them as pals who’ve earned camaraderie and respect.
After Bruce and Clark’s encounter, the issue turns toward the rest of the Justice League. They are all, with exception of Lex and Wonder Woman, laid up in hospital beds fully clothed, masked, and caped, sick with the Amazo virus. For meta-humans, the virus has the opposite effect: it takes away their powers. Lex expounds on what we know already to Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. Trevor takes side with Luthor and wants to support him because he’s the only one who can find the cure for the virus that he created. Wonder Woman is still a bit apprehensive. There’s one panel that directly addresses the subplot of who’s out to kill Luthor. We should expect this to flourish in future issues.
The last page reveal.
- You wanna see some killer art.
- You wanna see a killer virus.
- You want a good place to start Justice League.
With fantastic art and interesting story lines, The Amazo Virus arc is off to a terrific start. There is enough going on in the issue to justify the $3.99 price tag in my mind. I’m curious to see where Johns takes the Trinity+Lex in future issues. Thumbs up.