Justice League #8 Review
- Published on Monday, 23 April 2012 02:10
- Written by Kevin
Justice League is a series that has had very mixed reviews. Even here on the Comic Book Revolution we have been mixed on DC Comics flagship title. For every good issue there is a bad one but, in general, I have enjoyed Justice League. It is still missing a few key elements to put it among some of DC’s better titles but hopefully Geoff Johns can get Justice League in the position it should be in.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Carlos D’Anda, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado (Main Story); Gary Frank (Back-Up
Colorist: Gabe Eltaed and Alex Sinclair (Main Story); Brad Anderson (Back-Up)
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Standing in front of some government officials, Colonel Trevor is told that he needs to open the Justice League’s mind to adding a new member, one that they can control. Colonel Trevor disagrees with them as he believes there isn’t anyone more trusting than Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
In the middle of a battle zone, Green Arrow is running from various blasts and cars being thrown at him. Green Arrow looks up and smiles, saying that he is now playing with Gods.
The Justice League is then seen having taken down Professor Ivo’s Amazo. Cyborg thinks that he should Boom Tube Amazo to the Red Room. Batman says that is not a good idea since there is a one in a thousand chance they end up in Apokolips by using Cyborg’s Boom Tube ability and that they are do for one of these random trips.
Green Arrow enters the scene and tells the team they can thank him for helping to take down Amazo. Green Arrow states that he wants to join the Justice League but the team says they are not recruiting anyone for the Justice League.
One week later the Justice League are helping Batman by taking on an army of Talons that are trying to kill some Gotham City and country officials. (See Batman #8 for the full story on the Talons attack.) One of the Talons almost knocks Cyborg out but Green Arrow makes the save. Being cocky Green Arrow doesn’t notice one of the Talons he strikes has a grenade and ends up blowing up the plane. Green Lantern saves everyone aboard and drops Green Arrow off in the middle of the desert.
A week later the Justice League are fighting some cult gang with Green Arrow popping up again and using a gas arrow to help incapacitate the gang. Though some of the random people on the streets think Green Arrow is a new member Green Lantern and Aquaman are quick to say he is not and again leave Green Arrow behind.
Pissed offed, Green Arrow storms into one of his hideouts and finds Colonel Trevor waiting for him inside. Trevor tells Green Arrow that he knows about Ollie’s past crimes he has hidden. Green Arrow tries to pass them of as being in the past and that he is trying to be a hero to redeem himself. Trevor says that’s nice but he will never be accepted into the Justice League. Instead Trevor offers Green Arrow another team to be a member of which Green Arrow happily accepts.
Later we see the Justice League in the Justice League Satellite Watchtower the team discusses bringing in a new member to the team. Batman is quick to turn that option down and reminds the team the last time they offered someone a position on the team. They all flashback to a battle they had with Martian Manhunter.
Down on Earth Martian Manhunter is sitting in the middle of some desert area where he contemplates the fact the Justice League is not prepared for something. End of main story.
Back-up Synopsis: After displaying his displeasure to his social worker Billy Batson is introduced to his new home and family. Inside the Vasquezs introduce Billy to his new brothers and sisters that include Mary, Freedy, Pedro, Eugene and Darla.
Mary and the kids explain the house rules to Billy but he is not having it and says that they are not really a family. This causes Darla to run off crying to her room and Mary to drag and throw Billy into his bedroom. Mary yells at Billy for acting like such a brat and tells him that it is sad that he does not care about anyone.
After being left alone in the dark Billy takes out a picture of his mom and dad saying that none of them know him. After some time alone, Billy says he did not mean to make Darla cry. A storm is starting outside and Billy sees a face inside the storm. End of story.
The Good: Now this is what I am talking about. After seven issues that have been a roller coaster ride in consistency, Justice League #8 provides a strong and focused story. When I first heard Geoff Johns was going to be the writer for Justice League it was stories like what Justice League #8 delivered that I was expecting to get from this series.
When it comes to the current long form of writing comic books there is a lot of positives and negatives. The biggest negative is the fact that most writers have become so accustomed to writing 6+ issue story arcs that they rely on having so many issues to tell a story that they stretch out the story so much it becomes a chore to read. That has definitely been the case with a lot of recent Geoff Johns work. That is what has caused Justice League to suffer.
Because of this it makes Justice League #8 stand out that much more. From beginning to end, Johns has a clear character arc that he wants to work in and sub-plots to address. He waste no time in making sure the reader gets a full story within one issue by hitting all of these points. There was never a point that it felt like there was wasted space as each page and panel had some important dialogue to follow.
In twenty pages we see Green Arrow desperately trying to become a member of the Justice League, Colonel Trevor continuing his war of words with the Senate, the Justice League sharing why they will not let a new member on the team, some Martian Manhunter backstory and a mystery team Trevor and Green Arrow have formed. All that and I am not even talking about the various threats we see the Justice League briefly fight in this issue.
To be honest, there was more content and things accomplished in this one issue than the previous seven issues of Justice League combined. At least that is how I felt when I finished the main story. This can be largely attributed to the fact that, again, Johns was completely focused on the story he wanted to tell.
Even though we did not get any large set pieces that this series is known for there is a lot in here that Johns can revisit in future issues. If anything it gets me more excited to see full issues that cover the Justice League fighting Amazo, one of their random trips to Apokolips and more on the mysterious cult gang.
With that said the heart of this issue was all of the character interaction. The back and forth between Batman and Green Lantern continues to be a highlight with Green Lantern continuing to pick fun at Batman not having powers. I wish Hal Jordan would act much more like this in his own book because he actually shows some personality.
This issue does a great job showing what Green Arrow may bring to the table to this or another team. I actually liked how he had a showoff personality that is different from the others on the Justice League. Him not getting along with any of the Justice League members helped Johns deliver some great lines between all the characters. I definitely want to know what the hell happened between Aquaman and Green Arrow for Aquaman being so pissed at Green Arrow.
Colonel Trevor in his liaison role between the government and the Justice League continues to be well handled. Johns is able to balance out Trevor’s frustration with the League and defending the League was fun to read. The character showed some nice depth and it is good to see that he has some things in the works in the background with his recruiting of Green Arrow to his own private team. It’ll be interesting to see where Johns takes Trevor and Green Arrow with the two joining forces and if that will conflict with the Justice League.
The Shazam back-up continues to be a nice extra for this series to have. I actually prefer this updated, brat Billy Batson than the original vanilla Billy from the old universe. The character and his backstory is much different from the classic origins most characters in the DCU have. The addition of Mary and the other kids shows us just how different Billy is as he is still suffering from his parents’ death. With how the back-up ended I look forward to seeing how Billy exactly becomes Captain Marvel and how the other kids get involved.
While it was not the strongest point of this issue I have to give Carlos D’Anda, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado a lot of credit for delivering some great reaction shots. This was an issue that needed the character reactions to get over all the dialogue and the artwork did just that.
Gary Frank’s artwork for the back-up was excellent as it always is. His art really adds depth to the emotional dialogue Johns provides Billy and the other kids.
The Bad: Though it is true Johns is able to give Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman some great dialogue it came at the expense of Superman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg as those three characters continue to have vanilla personalities. These three characters have really not been given a lot to do in this series outside of punching and kicking bad guys. Johns needs to start giving these three characters more to do than play supporting roles when they should be getting just as much of the spotlight. Wonder Woman especially since she should have much more of a Type A personality in a team filled with males.
Overall: Justice League #8 was the strongest issue that Geoff Johns has delivered since the relaunch. This issue does a nice job giving us a bunch of great character interactions between the Justice League and Green Arrow. There were a lot of teases to potential future stories that I am now looking forward to what Johns has in store for the team next. The Shazam back-up was a nice cherry on top that continues to add depth to this new version of Billy Batson.
Kevin started reading comics as a kid when he watched the first episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series. After that his parents bought him a few random Spider-Man and Batman comics and he has been hooked ever since. When he is not reading and writing about comics you can find Kevin as the destroyer of worlds, champion of fighting tournaments and ace Madden player on the PS3. You can catch up with Kevin and all his thoughts at the following links: