REVIEW: Justice League #11

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The Justice League must discover the secret behind the mysterious Graves, and rescue Steve Trevor in the process. Will their voyage around the world be a success, or will Geoff Johns lead everyone on a wild goose chase?

JUSTICE LEAGUE #11
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank and Jim Lee
Inker: Gary Frank and Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Patrick Brousseau
Editor: Katie Kubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Justice League: David Graves has found the Valley of Souls and has been transformed into a revenge driven villain. With Steve Trevor’s life now hanging in the balance, the team must put aside their own sorrows to rescue their friend.

WHEN DEAD ISN’T QUITE DEAD

This is the issue where Geoff Johns lays out exactly what Graves is and why he is driven to destroy the members of the Justice League. In a way, it makes sense that the battle with Darkseid has had repercussions for those near ground zero, and those with family, can understand Graves’ anguish or losing his entire family to a mystery illness. But does torturing and killing to get the answers on how to take down the Justice League justify the means? And what kind of retribution will the Justice League deal out once they’ve come face to face with their own ghosts?

In Atonment, Mr. Johns attempts to bring some reality to the team that many in the DC Universe believe to be gods. Once the power goes to one’s head, it can be difficult to grasp what the “mortals” are always complaining about, and that already doesn’t sit well with many – as seen in Steve Tervor’s past dealings with A.R.G.U.S. Though Superman tends to be the most grounded of the Justice League, if this story plays out the way I think it will, it should be that wake up call that unites the members and really puts into perspective what they truly mean to the world, and the impact unbridled fighting in a crowded metropolis (or a crowded Metropolis) has on those around them.

I only wish Mr. Johns wasn’t taking so long to tell this story. Though it seems like it has taken forever to get to this point, in reality, this is only the third installment, and for the Waiting-for-the-Trade crowd, the story is right on target for that collected edition. I do like the spin the writer puts on the tale, by jumping the story forward and backward enough in time to let the reader know that a great deal of time has past since the first arc. Characters continue to develop, and little by little the hard exterior of the characters’ personae are being chipped away to reveal the gooey emotional center that makes each member of the team unique and interesting.

OH, THAT BILLY!

It’s been a while since I read this series, so I had a little catching up to do in regards to the New 52’s take on Billy Batson. And though the first installment of his journey made him look like a real jerk, I’m enjoying this origin story better than the main feature. Dr. Sivana’s evil eye, and the resurrection of Black Adam are a perfect setup to get young Billy to go through the same change as the Justice League. Billy’s motives are slowly starting to reveal that his tough guy attitude is simply a front for someone who doesn’t know how to let people into his life. I think it will be very interesting when Billy finally meets the Wizard in the next issue.

TWO STORIES, TWO ARTISTS

It’s nice to see Jim Lee continuing to push through his art duties on this book, as I’m particularly fond of his style. He has a great grasp of structure and form, and there isn’t a page that doesn’t suck you in and keep you mesmerized by the detail and action. If you are someone who wants to see Wonder Woman kicking everyone’s butts, Mr. Lee plays out the action on the page in dramatic style, and there was at least one moment I was expecting to see her kill someone for all the world to see – ala her Max Lord neck snap in The OMAC Project.

As far as any drawbacks go, there are a few moments when Mr. Lee let’s Wonder Woman’s hair get a little out of control, and her post-battle profile shot looks like she made a visit to a salon in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s.

For the Shazam! backup story, Gary Frank does exactly what Gary Frank does best – deliver an insane amount of detail in a small amount of space. Though I like the look of the pre-52 Black Adam best (nothing beats The Rock – except Batman of course), I think in an issue or two, Mr. Frank’s style will grow on me enough to appreciate the fact he has gone through the trouble to create a character that is instantly recognizable, yet new at the same time. Of all the characters in Mr. Frank’s tale, the one that seems most out of place continues to be Freddy Freeman, who still looks like Flycatcher from Bill Willingham’s Fables series. Though Frank never worked on the character, the resemblance between the two is uncanny.

BOTTOM LINE: CHECK IT OUT

Following the end of the Darkseid arc, I wasn’t really that interested in picking up the Justice League and reading the adventures of an unknown villain seeking his revenge – it sounds too much like a set-up for the introduction of the New-52 Condiment King. I’m glad this issue fell on my lap (digitally, because I have an iPad), because the tale is rather fascinating when one steps back and looks at the three issues of this arc together. This particular issue has a fair amount of the fighty-fighty that action fans want, and the quiet moments of reflection that the characters need. The art is stellar and I want to take many of the panels and turn them into wallpaper for my desktop. The Justice League continues to chug along, and earns a nice 4 out 5 Stars in this outing.

Rating: ★★★★☆