The flagship title of the New 52 begins a brand-new story arc this issue. Of course, the real reason most fans will pick up the comic is to see the fallout of last month’s famous kiss between Superman and Wonder Woman. Action, romance, and a new super villain? The book seems to have all the ingredients for a great comic. Take a look at the final product, as Major Spoilers reviews JUSTICE LEAGUE #13…
Tony Daniels has become synonymous with the New 52
was hoping for something more definitive in this issue than what I was given
Previously in JUSTICE LEAGUE: DC’s greatest super-heroes have certainly had trouble acting like a team in the past twelve issues. After a major fracas with a nasty villain last issue, the Justice League is forced to deal with a PR nightmare across the globe as their squabbling has made people lose faith in the league. Additionally, the relationships among many team members have gone from frosty to frigid, except of course, for Supes and Wonder Woman, who spent the final few pages of the last issue tongue wrestling. Green Lantern called it quits, leaving the Justice League short a member for its next adventure…
A CASE OF HIGH EXPECTATIONS
As mentioned, one of the major draws for this book is seeing the aftermath of “The Kiss.” A lot of fans have speculated on a romance between these two characters for years, and the New 52 certainly was a way to let the relationship happen without dealing with past continuity. I was hoping for something more definitive in this issue than what I was given. The kiss ends, Wonder Woman leaves, and later on, there is a bit of awkwardness between the two characters as they share a quiet moment in the JL satellite. However, Superman (that “S” could stand for “Sly Dog”!) does get Wonder Woman to admit she enjoyed the kiss, and the two share a knowing smile. I’m a fan of this romance happening…your mileage may vary. Despite its faults, DC has done a great job in the New 52 of creating a world where average citizens do not intrinsically trust the heroes. Both Wonder Woman and Superman have spent the last year in books where they were treated like outsiders to society, which of course, they are. It gives them a great reason to seek each other out as partners. I have high expectations that this plot is allowed to keep moving forward.
As for the main conflict, well, the Cheetah is a villain that seems below the JL’s attention level, and the members even admit to this. However, they acknowledge that tackling the Cheetah will give them a chance to work on their team dynamics. It’s an interesting idea that makes the team realize that they must work together to be successful. It’s probably the first time the group has acted in unison since the book began. It’s nice to see that the characters have some self-awareness and are allowed to mature in this new universe. While friction still exists between members, notably Batman and Aquaman, it is refreshing to see the characters put in the work that it takes to build trust. Add in a surprisingly poignant moment with Cyborg and you’ve got a nice tale.
A STYLE DEFINED
The penciling of Tony Daniels to me has become synonymous with the New 52, much in the way that Mark Bagley’s work became the standard-bearer of the Ultimate Marvel Universe due to his work on Ultimate Spidey. Daniels’ work always seems to pop up frequently on advertisements and licensing materials, and it is easy to see why. His work is solid: action is always easy to follow, emotions are easy to recognize, and attention is given to every detail. The jungle backgrounds appearing in the book are lush and rich, while the scenes in the Satellite look appropriately other-worldly. By now, regular readers of Justice League know what to expect. If you’re not a fan, I can’t sway you; but if you are you’re getting the same excellent work that has been in every issue of the series.
BOTTOM LINE: A PLEASANT START TO THE NEXT STORY ARC
I should have expected that “The Kiss” would end in a non-starter given the potential cash cow and story possibilities that a Superman/Wonder Woman romance would bring, but I can’t help but feel that we should have gotten more than a passing mention of that important moment. Similarly, it’s nice to see that the Justice League is recognizing that there are problems with their teamwork, but aside from the recognition of the problem, not much is actually done to fix it. There’s nothing really wrong with this issue. It does what it needs to do: sets up the next major storyline. But there’s not a lot to pull apart and discuss aside from this. For regular readers, this is a definite pickup. For anyone else on the fence, flip through the issue before buying. It is a safe bet that picking up issue #14 will give you most of what you need to know as you continue through this series.