Justice League #14

by funwithjedi on November 22, 2012

Justice League, the love-it-or-hate-it flagship title of DC’s New 52 relaunch, closes up it’s two issue story arc revolving around the Cheetah, one of the most prominent members of Wonder Woman’s rogue gallery. It’s also one of the first issues where you see writer Geoff Johns’ infamous long-term gears turning.

Geoff Johns, although now under criticism for what is deemed a lackluster handling of the series, was just years ago the subject of admiration by fans, critics, and creators alike. It came as little surprise when he became the mastermind behind the New 52 reboot’s main series, seeing as Green Lantern had become DC’s, and occasionally the comic industry’s, leading book. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee re-creating the company’s most popular characters seemed like a recipe for the decade’s biggest blockbuster.

Even the most hardcore Geoff fans today, however, have a hard time denying many folks’ disappointment. However, this issue seems to be a significant turnaround. While Darkseid and David Graves barely had an opportunity to be actual characters, Cheetah is a terrific villain in Johns’ hands, and, as all good villains tend to be, is a sinister reflection of her nemesis’ psyche. The clever mythology of the San tribe, combined with the extremely personal interactions between Wonder Woman and Cheetah provide a glimpse of the Geoff Johns fans had been waiting for: a brilliant mythology architect and character psychologist.

Tony Daniel’s artwork, while difficult to compare to Jim Lee’s, is still terrific in its own right. Despite the chaotic events in the book, Daniel manages to keep the viewer from being overwhelmed and is able to retain the sleek style of Jim Lee’s pencils to a large extent. A great moment with Aquaman from this book will be my computer wallpaper very soon.

Additionally, the epic story-building begins on the last page. Suffice to say, Johns drops a hint that fans of Green Lantern had grown to expect from the scribe. Well, the patient have been rewarded with a drop that anyone familiar with the Justice League will be happy to see.

The Shazam! backup is excellent, and continues to earn its place with main feature, perhaps even overshadowing it. Gary Frank’s gritty detail really does a service to the tone of the book, and John’s handling of Billy Batson, and especially Black Adam, remind us why he is so popular in the first place.

Ultimately, the skepticism I once felt feels calmed for the moment, as the deft Johns that many have grown to yearn for has shown himself. Here’s hoping it lasts with Throne of Atlantis next month.

Our Score:


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