Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Bullet Review: Justice League #14
Justice League was supposed to be the tentpole book for the New 52, a return of the 'Big 7' (I call it the 'Big 6 plus 1' because Cyborg is not and never will be The Martian Manhunter) written by DC bigwigs Geoff Johns and drawn by comic legend Jim Lee. I had high hopes that it would be fantastic.
I have been disappointed. It has never grabbed me. Never. The interaction between the members has felt stiff and stilted. Some of the characterization has felt down right wrong. And despite having been a team for years, all the heroes .... gasp .... don't trust each other. I suppose I should be used to that in the DCnU.
Perhaps worst of all has been the awful representation of Superman in the book. Here he is always floating, always above the others physically, always 'observing like a reporter'. It is wrong. And it is shocking given how great Johns wrote Superman when he was writing Action Comics.
As a result, the book has been on a sort of pull list suicide watch for the last few issues. When will I drop it?
Last week, Justice League #14 came out and the first half was on par with the earlier issues. I was pretty disappointed at how easily the Cheetah could almost outmaneuver the entire League. I thought for a second 'this is it, I am dropping this book'.
And then the second half happened. For once, Superman wasn't a smug floating jerk. He sounded like Superman. He acted like Superman.
It turns out that Barbara 'The Cheetah' Minerva has always been an evil doer, a criminal. And this seems to stun Wonder Woman who thought Barbara was good, that she became evil when possessed by the Cheetah spirit.
With that reveal, Diana wonders who she is, how she can move forward when she can't trust anyone, including herself.
And then Superman shows up.
I like how he calls her his inspiration because she always looks for the good in people. It humanizes Superman. He thinks he can do better when he thinks of humanity.
And then he brings her to Smallville, for a sort of palate cleanser of the worst of humanity. They have a slice of pie at a diner. They visit the Kent farmhouse. And Superman talks about how it is this bucolic, idyllic, quiet slice of the world represents what he is fighting for. That most people are good and deserve to be defended.
And then Superman says the things I think Superman should say.
"Sometimes good is what it appears to be ... good." "Sometimes it's still that simple."
Hurrah. Superman believes there is good in the world. He wants to defend it. He thinks of his upbringing when he needs to be inspired.
It is a nice moment.
This being the 'power couple of the DCU' that nice moments leads to yet another perfectly choreographed super-kiss.
And this being the DCnU, it has to end on a down note. The chip on Superman's cape allows Batman to creepily watch the two smooch. Holy voyeur Batman!!
It's a shame that the Batman piece is there because it did dim the light of the nice speech Superman gave here.
Anyways, that speech saved the book from being dropped by me ... at least for now.
Overall grade: C (D - first half, B+ second half, dropped due to Peeping Batman)