REVIEW: Justice League #14

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This is the ultimate team-up comic. Five years ago, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman formed the Justice League to stop Apokolips’s forces from invading Earth. Now, they are the premiere team against any threat too great for one hero to handle. However, with Green Lantern quiting the team and the other members in turmoil, can the Justice League stand together?

JUSTICE LEAGUE #14
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Tony Salvador Daniel
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Justice League: In an effort to help Wonder Woman track her arch-nemesis and former friend, Cheetah, the team boom tubes to a remote jungle in the Congo. There, they are ambushed by Cheetah, who takes out each member one at a time. When Wonder Woman attempts to help a wounded Superman, she discovers he has transformed into a cheetah-man.

THAT WAS QUICK. . .

In issue 14, the Justice League continue their adventure into the Congo. With Superman possessed, and the team incapacitated, almost on cue they are saved by a band of local tribes people. Since the series cannot have a possessed Super Cheetah on the team, the tribe helps them cure Superman. The story mainly focuses on Wonder Woman and the origin of her arch-enemy Cheetah, a.k.a. Barbara Minerva. Throughout this issue and the previous issue, Wonder Woman is pained with guilt over Cheetah’s transformation. Discovering the truth about her former friend does not brighten her mood, as her guilt is turned to shame at her naivety. It is a good two-part arc but feels out of place. It reads better as a Wonder Woman title. The Justice League are not active participants but side characters in their own comic. Geoff Johns has each hero play a little part: Superman is the victim, Batman and Cyborg are Superman’s caretakers, Aquaman and Flash trap Cheetah. It is a good balance but they have relatively small roles. A Justice League comic needs more active participation from its members, which should not be difficult with only six members in the current roster. Plus, Cheetah is not a “big” villain that needs the attention of the entire League. It is pathetic how quickly the Justice League dealt with her. Overall, it is an average issue, with a few surprises littered throughout the panels.

I CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE

With Jim Lee no longer doing pencils for Justice League, I thought it would be difficult finding a worthy replacement for DC Comics’ flagship title. It wasn’t. Tony Daniels is a great Justice League artist, balancing the rich hero designs established in the first issues with amazing backgrounds and loads of action. Not one panel is wasted with white space. Every full page scene could be its own cover. I hope he continues drawing for Justice League.

BOTTOM LINE:  AN ISSUE OF SETUPS

It appears that this arc is a setup for something bigger later in the series. Black Manta is mentioned at the end by Cheetah. I think this is a lead-in to the Throne of Atlantis Justice League/Aquaman crossover, but I hope this is something bigger like the arrival of the Legion of Doom into the new 52. It is an average comic, but if you were reading for Justice League characters, you will be disappointed.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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