Or – “The Aftermath Of Catwoman’s Demise…”

Last issue ended with a big shock as Selena Kyle, erstwhile superhero and Batman counterpart, was killed to death, shot down by the wicked Secret Society of Super-Villains.  How will the fallout effect the League?  And, hey…  Doesn’t she have her own book?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
DC’s team books are getting very repetitive.
There’s no rhyme or reason to this lineup.
Cons

The big swerve didn’t feel surprising.
I am not a fan of Brett Booth’s gangly anatomies.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 2.25 out of 5)
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JLA4Cover JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #5
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: Brett Booth
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Justice League Of America:  Catwoman has been murdered by the Secret Society of Super-villains, with Green Arrow and Hawkman next on the list.  And who IS the mysterious leader of the Society?

LISTEN TO ADMIRAL ACKBAR!

IT’S A TRAP!  As the issue opens, we finally see Green Lantern Simon Baz arrive on the scene (with his partner, Green Lantern B’dg, who is a super-cool giant squirrel or something) just in time for things to bust wide open.  As the Secret Society gloats about the murder of Catwoman, they take a few moments to have an in-depth discussion of the how and whys of their assembly.  This, of course, works to the advantage of the JLA, seein’ as how the corpse of Catwoman is quickly revealed to be the all-too-alive Martian Manhunter in drag!  There’s a lot of fighty-fighty (and some extremely overwrought battle-sequences of the Shaggy Man trying to murder Hawkman, who is described as having a “compound fracture” without any visual artistic indication of injury) and the leader of the Society…

…Okay, let’s take a moment to discuss the leader of the Society.  Throughout this issue, his name is never spoken, but his identity is hinted at, with references to the Joker and the fact that he supposedly knows where Batman lives.  Given his attire and bowler hat, I wonder if he’s somehow related to The Riddler (have we seen the New 52 Riddler yet?), but in any case, the game-playing about who he is kind of insufferable, especially since the dialogue goes out of its way to state the name of EVERY OTHER character in the book.

PIECEMEAL AND OVERLY FAMILIAR.

That Bronze Age “say the name in the dialogue” rule isn’t the only thing that feels vintage here, as the whole issue feels telegraphed, from the Catwoman bait-and-switch to Hawkman’s being saved by Stargirl, wrapping up with Amanda Waller declaring the team a failure and disbanding the group.  She is immediately overridden by Steve Trevor, who declares that his ragtag group of misfits deserve a chance to make it all work, without Waller’s interference.  It’s a standard cliché (the “disband the team only to have them decide to make it all work” was done in Justice League International only a few months ago) made even more heinous by Waller revealing that she WANTED them to stay together and was using reverse psychology.  Add to the plotting difficulties Brett Booth’s tendency to draw EVERYONE as a tall, spindly praying-mantis person, and it becomes very difficult to get through the issue…

THE BOTTOM LINE: A SWIRLING MESS OF CLICHES AND FIGHTY-FIGHTY.

Geoff Johns has done a lot of good things for the DCU, but his usual M.O. (invert what you know about the hero in order to make a statement about them, something he’s done with pretty much every character he’s ever touched, ala Aquaman’s terse declaration that “I don’t talk to fish”) doesn’t work in the New 52, because there aren’t decades of established continuity to play against.  This issue switches back and forth from awkward fight-sequence to awkward exposition, with the most successful parts of the book coming in terms of character moments for Stargirl and Trevor.  Justice League Of America #5 isn’t the compelling origin story wrapup that this book needs to hold it’s diverse and unlikely cast together, and Booth’s art makes it unappealing to look at for me as well, earning a very disappointed 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m happy to see old-school characters like Chronos and Stargirl getting some spotlight time, but I wish the overall quality of that spotlight was better…

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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8 Comments

  1. Mike E
    July 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm — Reply

    So I have been enjoying this book for the most part. Though I think that it had a lot to do with this being the only place I can find to read Martian Manhunter at the moment. And those back up stories of his history have been keeping me reading.

    I really liked the Martian when I read new frontier and watched the Justice League cartoon and would love to read some good stuff with him. I am pretty darn new so if there are older places where I could find some quality story around my character that would be great if anyone knows it.

  2. July 4, 2013 at 7:59 am — Reply

    Dudes. The Secret Society leader is ALFRED!!
    Or Alfred from Earth-3. Because he has bought Earth-3 elements in with Volthoom, and who else in the DCU wears a bowler hat and knows where the Batcave is and has good reason to know who the Joker is?
    And, and, and, that world that he referred to as having seen destroyed? All of Earth-3, of co-
    oh.
    wait.
    aw, that means Earth-3 is gone. I loved Earth-3. I want to read a regular Earth-3 series starring the Joker who finds hope and reasons to laugh in a world gone dark, so dark…

  3. July 4, 2013 at 9:05 am — Reply

    A low point in a mediocre (at best) series. The premise is weak, the team intentionally not cohesive, the plotting bland, and the art decent but overly stylized. I got on board for Marian Manhunter — really don’t care for any of his treatment in the New 52 — and Stargirl, who isn’t enough to keep me on board. Barring a compelling argument from a trusted source, this was the last JLA for me…

  4. Firefox
    July 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm — Reply

    I do hope they were “killed to death” I would hate to be killed to semideath

  5. Michael
    July 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm — Reply

    I was thinking that the villain was a Post-Flashpoint version of The Outsider.

    • July 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm — Reply

      Oh, now that’s pretty clever. I hope that’s true!

      • August 28, 2013 at 9:11 am — Reply

        I just want to say that I called it!! I totally called it! I’m bookmarking this link too.

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