Comics Round-up 01.04.2013

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Shadowhawk and Bane of Kings welcome you to the first comics round-up for April.

“After reading the first half of JMS’ run on Wonder Woman, I sincerely wish that it was him writing the current ongoing, rather than Azzarello. Bill Willingham delivers an absolute scorcher on Fables Vol.1, even as Snyder’s Batman ends on a rather tame note. Following Arvid Nelson’s excellent first two volumes, Robert Place Napton’s Dejah Thoris proves to be a disappointment, continuing a trend with the writer across the various John Carter titles.” ~Shadowhawk

“The flagship titles of Marvel Now! make some good, entertaining progress and DC’s Justice League is a strong but flawed series” ~Bane of Kings

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Comics reviewed by Shadowhawk: Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol.1 by J. Michael Straczynski (DC Comics), New 52: Batman #16-18 by Scott Snyder (DC Comics), Fables Vol.1 by Bill Willingham (Vertigo), and, Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris Vol.3 by Robert Place Napton (Dynamite).

*****

Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol.1 by J. Michael Straczynski

Wonder Woman Odyssey 01

J. Michael Straczynski is currently one of my favourite comics writers. Starting with his work on Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan and Before Watchmen: Nite Owl, not to forget the amazing work he did on Superman: Earth One Vol.2, he has really impressed me and made me a fan. He is one of those writers, alongside Scott Snyder, Chuck Dixon, Jason Aaron and James Robinson to name a few, that I would read without hesitation. Which is where Wonder Woman: Odyssey comes in. My dissatisfaction with Brian Azzarello’s ongoing Wonder Woman run is no secret, and it shouldn’t be a surprise either that I turned to other writers where the most iconic superheroine in comics is concerned. JMS and Gail Simone’s names were at the top of my list, and I ended up with the former since Odyssey was in the store when I bought that title. Getting to this book took me a few months, but I finally got the chance early in March, and I was blown away. So impressed in fact that I wish JMS would get back to doing monthlies and take over Azzarello’s train wreck and turn it into what it should be.

As is the relation between me and most of DC’s big-name characters, I first came across Wonder Woman, aka Diana, throgh Justice League and Justice League Animated. I loved how Wonder Woman was portrayed: she was incredibly funny, smart, often forceful, and direct in her opinions. In fact, both her and Hawkgirl got a good run on the show and I’ve always wanted to read more about them outside of the Infinite Crisis and Crisis on Infinite Earths series. In Odyssey, JMS has written a very different Diana than the one I remember from the show, one who is much more about her warrior roots and her destiny rather than a wheel in the cog that is the Justice League. In this book, he has put her character, her personality, her attitude, her fears, her strengths, her weaknesses, everything front and center. He has made the book about her and has really explored who she is, and what she is, despite the fact that Odyssey represents a character reboot. This is the Diana I wish I was getting in her current ongoing solo title, and in Geoff Johns’ Justice League.

The retelling of Wonder Woman’s origins, an Amazon warrior brought up in Man’s world without the comfort of her mother, is certainly an interesting one. Her mother died to give her a chance to escape the war that came to Themyscira, a war that devastated the island nation and turned the Amazons into refugees scattered all over the world. The survivors have raised their princess as the remaining ideal of everything that means to be a true Amazon warrior, the inheritor of their lost legacy. Seeing Wonder Woman struggle against those expectations, sometimes surpassing them, and sometimes failing, made for a really wonderful read. The interwoven mystery about who wanted to see Themyscira destroyed, plus what it means for the Amazons’ legacy and and their future was a thrilling experience. I’m quite resolved that my next print graphic novel purchase will definitely include Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol.2.

Phil Hester is also credited as writer for the book, and so my appreciation would extend to him as well. I have no idea what his exact contribution to this book was, but that hardly matters really. The collaboration between him and JMS has turned out an exciting book that was a ton of fun to read.

With no less than 4 pencillers and 7 inkers, plus a colourist, a letterer and two cover artists (one for series collection and another for individual issues), Wonder Woman: Odyssesy Vol.1 has the biggest art team I’ve seen on any title to date. It is simply astounding. There are some panels in which character faces appear to change, owing to the number of pencillers on the book no doubt, but I can give it all a pass since none of them were major speedbumps while reading through. Given the diversity of artists on the book, I expected to be treated to some really gorgeous panels, and that’s what I got, page after page after page. So my kudos to the entire art team. Special mention to Jim Lee who designed Wonder Woman’s look here. The new Wonder Woman is just as sexy as ever, but also edgier and more… relevant today. I love the new costume. It maintains the essence of her character while still being significantly different. For my money, I really wish that this is the costume that the current Wonder Woman and Justice League teams would use for her. Seeing Diana as the only character without full-body suits on Justice League is just weird, while on Wonder Woman, the artists’ fascination with Diana’s cleavage (showing inappropriate more of it and making her top-heavy) is just completely off-putting.

Other than all that, I just want to reiterate that Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol.1 is a great graphic novel, and serves as an excellent introduction to the character. At about the same time as I read this, I also read the first volume of Allan Heinberg’s reboot of the character, and that too was a great book all things considered. If I’m not mistaken, Odyssey is a pre-Infinite Crisis book while Heinberg’s Who Is Wonder Woman? is a post-Infinite Crisis book, so there are a lot of differences between the writers’ look at the character. I’ll be reviewing that one soon, so all I want to say for now is that either graphic novel works well if you want to get started on a Wonder Woman title and that you will be exposed to a lot of the mythology and history of the character.

Rating: 9/10

More Wonder Woman: #1-10, #11-12, #13-15.

*****

Batman #16-18 by Scott Snyder

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And so ends another epic crossover in DC Universe as Scott Snyder finally wraps up Death of the Family and then immediately deals with the fallout from Grant Morrison’s Batman, Inc #8. Scott Snyder’s current run on Batman has been the undisputed champion of New 52, truly showing off how a change in scenery (i.e reboot) can transform a title and take it to new heights. This is backed up by the fact that Batman has been a top-3 selling DC title since the relaunch and continues to make headway on that front.

However, Death of the Family has also shown what happens when one writer is saddled with the responsibility of bringing a major crossover such as this one to a conclusion, especially when said conclusion involves five characters from an equal number of titles. What Scott Snyder has done beyond the shadow of a doubt is portray the Joker as a true agent of chaos. If you thought that Heath Ledger’s mind-bending performance was something, then you will find Snyder’s characterisation no less impressive. Across any of the comics I’ve read to date, Joker is a character who truly shocks you and then laughs at you. The guy is messed up and he is plain insane. Scott Snyder has made Joker into a clown you would never want to mess with, he’s made him into what I would call “Gothic Joker”, matching the tone of the entire ongoing title perfectly. Joker is no longer someone who appears campy or humourous, now he is truly terrifying.

Batman too has gone through some major changes in the crossover. Snyder has carried on looking at him is a character who is flawed and sympathetic in ways you would not expect. In one of the previous issues, it was revealed that [SPOILER] Joker knew the identities of each and every Bat-verse superhero. It was also revealed just how he managed to find it all about. Issues #16 and #17 deal with the entire fallout of that revelation, and this is what leads to the name of the crossover itself. Death of the Family is the story of the entire extended Wayne family as a true family. Joker has sown chaos throughout, and it is really interesting to see how each and every character is affected, and how that affect butterflies back to Bruce Wayne aka Batman himself, turning him into the character he is by the end of #17, which is very, very different than who/what we see in #1.

My praise for the work aside, I do have some complaints as well. Batman #17 is the ultimate issue in the crossover, and I must confess that I feel it did not deliver on the successful conclusion I wanted from it. Third and fourth readings of the issue have raised its value in my esteem, but I still feel that Snyder & Co could have done a better job of it. Most specifically, where the previous issues had been about the entire family, this one is focused much more on Batman himself. Events spiral off him, but still, the issue focused too much on him, and I wish that the others had gotten some action time in as well.

Where Batman #18 is concerned, my biggest complaint with the issue is that there is clarifiable passage of time between it and #17. The issue comes after Damian Wayne’s death in Batman, Inc #8, and I found it frustrating that the reader was not given an explanation of how “soon” after these two events the issue is set. It could have been the next day, or the next week, or the next month. Allusions are made, but no actual quantifiable time. That aside, this was a fairly decent issue. I wasn’t too emotionally vested in what was going on, since the main event happened in a title that I’m not reading, so I wasn’t the proper “target” for the issue, which might have something to do with my lack of excitement with it. Still, the future looks interesting for Batman and I’m excited about what is to come. My one suggestion to the creative team, especially Snyder, would be that it is time to tell some smaller stories, 2-3 issue arcs at the most. Crossovers are kind of a pain in the butt, and I’m getting somewhat tired of DC’s constant crossovers in New 52. There should be a step back to consider where the title needs to go on its own merits, without being supported by others.

Greg Capullo is the penciller on the title is just amazing. Everything he does, its like it was done by magic. He is a genius in the medium. I really have zero complaints about his work on Batman, especially the gobsmackingly good covers he’s done. When I heard last week that Capullo had signed a new contract with DC wherein he was the artist on Batman (exclusively) for as long as he wanted, I was thrilled. Well played, and well deserved. Andy Kubert stepped in for #18 and while his pencils are quite different from those of Capullo, I enjoyed them for the most part. Harper Row is the only element of the book that I did not like, in terms of the art, and that’s a shame, given how she was handled by Becky Cloonan on #12so there’s that. The entire team of artists who have worked on these three issues have done a great job (barring a few things here and there), and they have kept Batman a consistently great visual treat, which is what I wanted from it anyway.

If not for the story (which is fairly good by the way), definitely check out Batman for the amazing art.

Rating: 8/10

More Batman: #1-10, #11-12, 2012 Annual, #13-15, A Death In The Family.

*****

Fables Vol.1 by Bill Willingham

Fables Vol.1

Fables is one of those series that everybody raves about, is considered a classic and an achievement given the fact that it is at about 130 consecutive issues now. I put off reading this for a long while, because I wasn’t sure if it would live up to my expectations, which were rather high given the praise I often came across for it. I too the plunge last year, intending to read the entire first volume, but only ended up reading the first issue. And I was blown away. With a wonderful meta-conceit, and a really “fresh” approach to the subject matter, I was hooked. For some reason, I didn’t get around to reading the full first volume last year, but I corrected that oversight in March, blasting through both Legends in Exile and Animal Farm. For my money, despite the fact that it is essentially a crossover between stories that have existed for decades, Fables is one of the most original books I’ve read. With this series, Bill Willingham has brought these fairy tales into sharp modern focus, taken all the characters out of their comfort zones, and given readers something entirely new and unexpected. Much like how Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery have redefined William Shakespeare’s classic plays with their Kill Shakespeare comics.

Come on seriously, this is what Bill Willingham has done: Pretty much all the fairy-tale characters have been driven out from their fairy-tale realms by an enemy known as the Adversary, and they all live in New York, where they have two main communities, Fabletown and the Farm. Snow White is the Deputy Mayor of the underground Fable government. The Big Bad Wolf is its Sheriff. Prince Charming is a womaniser. Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk) is a good-for-nothing screw-up. Princess Rose is a party-animal. And the list goes on. Bill Willingham has reinvented dozens of characters and he’s breathed new life into all of them. With a murder mystery at hand, being investigated by Wolf no less, Legends In Exile might very well be one of the most fun graphic novels I’ve read ever. It has a ton of mystery, as I already said, some great action, some startling revelations, and a resolution to the mysteries that even Sherlock Holmes would be proud of.

Each and every character in the story brings something to the table, and he/she affects the narrative in their own way. To see the muddled relationships between all of them was a real treat. What Bill Willingham did really well here is deliver some really great snarky and witty dialogue that kept the tension of the mysteries going, right up until the end when everything is revealed Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes style.

Excellent stuff, just excellent.

Bringing Bill Willingham’s characters to visual life are Lan Medina’s pencils and Steve Leialoha’s inks, which certainly do the lion’s share of the job, but Todd Klein’s letters, Sherilyn van Valkenburgh’s colours, and James Jean/Alex Maleev’s covers also deserve a lot of the credit. Their combined work has aged wonderfully, and I would put Fables Vol.1 alongside, say, Aquaman Vol.2 in terms of how good the books look. The art styles and techniques are very different, but both books are equally impressive.  Lots of details are what you get in Fables and it is fun to spot the little things here and there.

So yes, if you haven’t, then you definitely need to read Fables. I’m looking forward to reading the third volume, Storybook Love, this month.

Rating: 9.5/10

*****

Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris Vol.3 by Robert Place Napton

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And finally I come to the graphic novel that I definitely enjoyed the least (not quite, but close) last month. After reading this one, it became quite clear to me that if there is someone who can well and truly write Edgar Rice Burrough’s characters really well, it is Arvid Nelson, who worked on Warlord of Mars Vol.1, as well as the first two volumes of Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris. Robert Place Napton’s work on any of the ERB titles I’ve read has continually failed to impress and The Boora Witch continues that sad trend. Following on after Nelson’s excellent two volumes, this one is a huge letdown.

From the start, this is marked by some really weird circumstances with a lot of handwavium involved. Things just happen, not because that’s how the story develops, but because that is the direction that is being forced on the narrative. Also, I just couldn’t take the narrative all that seriously. Things were always a little too obvious and telegraphed early on that I didn’t get any sort of enjoyment out of the story. It was all Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, if you get my drift.

There was never any kind of growth to any of the characters, aside from something for Kantos Kan, although even that was far too cliched for my tastes. Kantos being the hero is just so obvious! And the conclusion of the entire 5-part arc was just tame, far too tame and predictable.

Start to finish, the story just lacks any kind of excitement, which is a real shame in the context of the series premise.

The artwork however, still stands as being one of the best out there. The art team is mostly the same as that for the first two volumes, the only change being that Marcio Fiorito takes over as penciller for #15 from Carlos Rafael, with Luciana del Negro and Nelson Pereira stepping in as inkers for #14. Sometimes, Dejah Thoris’ character design, i.e her face, changes from page to page, but nothing major considering the art for the entire arc.

Overall, Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris is still a very visually detailed book, but could definitely use a leg-up as far as the story is concerned.

Rating: 5/10

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Comics reviewed by Bane of Kings: Marvel Now: All New X-Men #4-9 by Brian Michael Bendis (Marvel), Marvel Now: Uncanny Avengers #2-5 by Rick Remender (Marvel), New 52: Justice League #7-9 by Geoff Johns (DC Comics).

*****

All New X-Men #4-9 by Brian Michael Bendis

Art: Stuart Immonen

 #4 The Original 5 X-Men come face to face with their counterparts…and it isn’t a peaceful meeting!

#5 The first story of a new era of X-Men comes to its conclusion, and one of the original X-Men will be forever changed!

#6 – The future of the X-Men will be defined by their past! How are the teenage X-Men going to fix their future?

#7 Mystique targets our young time-travellers, starting with Cyclops.

#8 – Guest-starring the Avengers! How will the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes react to the time-swept X-Men?

#9The Original Five X-Men get new costumes! Plus, Mystique makes her big move.

AllNewXMenComp02All New X-Men was one of the first Marvel Now! titles that I read, along with Uncanny Avengers, but ended up falling behind on both series and did not get the chance to catch up until recently. If Uncanny Avengers is the flagship title for the entire Marvel Universe, then All New X-Men is the X-Men’s flagship title. If you must limit yourself to one X-men book then make it All New X-Men. It has a bizarre concept that has barely been touched on in the first three issues of the various titles that Brian Michael Bendis is currently writing for Marvel Now!

There are several things to like about All New X-Men, particularly if you’re a fan of the original five students of Xavier: Jean Grey, Hank McCoy, Angel, Bobby Drake and Scott Summers. It’s very interesting to see how they interact with the new future over the course of these issues and with Bendis creating new drama and raising the stakes with each issue – case in point, Mystique, a character who I’ve never encountered before in the comics, making her appearance in #7 – allow for a very interesting read, fully enhanced by Stuart Immonen’s wonderful artwork.

Whilst this series may be controversional with the diehards who think that the X-Men from the past shouldn’t be brought to the future, I’m all for this idea. I think that Bendis should be given the opportunity to do something new with the X-Men, and I personally love the older X-Men interacting with the newer ones. A particularly good scene was both Past and Present Angel sharing the skies in-between #7 and #8, and with the ensuing fight in #8 really showcases the differences between the two time zones and it’s very interesting to watch the original X-Men develop in the present.

#4 opens with a bang and the pace continues from there, for All New X-Men is pretty action packed, but Bendis still allows time for some great character moments really brought to life by Stuart Immonen. Jean Grey gets a few strong scenes and her character is probably the most important one to get right here in order for the whole thing to work – and I am relieved to say that All New X-Men works in that aspect. The storyline is entertaining, and it’s filled with cliffhangers throughout the issues to make you want to return to this series – #9 in particular really has an awesome cliffhanger, however – this has slightly a lesser impact if you haven’t been reading Bendis’ Uncanny X-Men, which focuses on the adventures of current Cyclops, Magneto, Magik and Emma Frost. I can’t wait to see where #10 takes the X-Men – I have my theories as to what will be the outcome, but we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out I guess.

AllNewXMenComp03This book can also be used as a good jumping on point if you’re at least familiar with the X-Men on a basic level, and are looking to read more about their history. You don’t have to read Avengers vs. X-Men like I haven’t, but it may help to have a knowledge about the events in the series. Despite the fact that Bendis has to deal with a really huge cast of chracters, he really does have a great grip on them characters, whether it is the Original Five X-Men, the present day inhabitants of the Jean Grey School for Higher Living, or eventhe Avengers, Mystique, Sabretooth and the Phoenix Five in some cases. The title has a much larger cast than Uncanny Avengers does so far, but whilst most writers would suffer with that handicap Bendis manages to get the angles just right.

This is THE Marvel Now! book that you’ll want to be reading. The only ones that could probably come close to the sheer brilliance displayed in All New X-Men are Thor: God of Thunder and Hawkeye. Although, I will point out that I am yet to catch up on either of them, having read only two issues of the former and three of the latter.

Rating: 5/5

*****

Uncanny Avengers #2-5 by Rick Remender

Art: John Cassaday

#2 – What are The Red Skull’s new powers? How did he become the most powerful man on Earth? Can Havok and Thor defeat the spreading influence of Honest John, The Living Propaganda?! Plus, Wolverine & Captain America uncover the truth behind the worldwide mutant assassination epidemic!

#3 Red Skull is using his new powers to incite violence against mutants across the globe! *Scarlet Witch and Rogue make a terrible discovery that will haunt them forever! *The UNCANNY AVENGERS feel the full might of Red Skull’s S-Men.

#4 Red Skull and his S-Men move forward with their takeover of New York. A member of the Uncanny Avengers joins the S-Men! When the chips are down and the fight is all but lost, one Avenger must rise and face the terrible might of The Omega Skull!

#5 Wonder Man, Wasp and Sunfire join the team just in time for Grim Reaper’s revenge! Tension between the team builds as Havok’s leadership is questioned! The death of a major character at the hands of an Avenger in broad daylight!

UncannyAvengersComp01Uncanny Avengers was the first Marvel Now! title to hit the comic book stores and started off with an impressive first outing, introducing the team-up of Wolverine, Rogue, Thor, Captain America and Scarlet Witch, led by Havoc. The first arc of the new series pits the Uncanny Avengers against the Red Skull. The artwork is very strong, very clean and I think it really brought the series to life. John Cassaday was on top form here in almost everything apart from the Red Skull himself, whose design just felt out of place for me.

A downside about this series is that you know that as this is Marvel’s flagship title, the Avengers will always emerge on top. It’s very predictable even if Remender manages to create a certain level of suspense by having the Red Skull turn one of the more powerful members of the Avengers against their own. The narration is also very disconnected from the series as well, as if told by someone who’s looking over events rather than someone who’s actually participating in them. I think this could have been pulled off a lot better if it had been in the style of Scott Snyder’s Batman, which has an absolutely superb monologue. But sadly, Remender has opted for a different approach here and it didn’t work for me.

UncannyAvengersComp02The characters themselves are pulled off together well, and I enjoyed Rogue in particular in this. Havoc was also strong, and Wolverine, Thor and Captain America were very entertaining as well. This is the first comic series that I’ve read starring Havoc, and his background being the brother of Scott Summers was very interesting, particularly as we see how this affects him first hand in #1, and later in #4.  Whilst Captain America picking him as the leader for the Uncanny Avengers may not have been the most obvious choice, it is certainly a promising move story-wise. Whilst the cast may not be on the level of the solo Avengers title yet, we also get new introductions to the team, mainly Wonder Man, Wasp and Sunfire. I haven’t actually encountered any of these characters before, alongside the Grim Reaper in the Marvel Universe, and the only one that I’ve heard of was Wasp. It was however very interesting to see what new dynamic these three members will bring to the Uncanny Avengers and where they will take the team from here.

The action is very awesome and it’s always a joy to see some superhero team ups particularly if they’re executed in such a great way like they were here. Uncanny Avengers may not be the most serious comic on the market right now – it’s the equivalent of a summer blockbuster much like The Avengers film was – but this is where we get to see characters who we would never see in the films team up work together very well. With mostly great artwork and a strong, if predictable, storyline, Uncanny Avengers another good Avengers title, but not as good as the aforementioned All New X-Men.

Rating: 4/5

*****

Justice League #7-9 by Geoff Johns

Artist: Gene Ha & Gary Frank (#7), Carlos D’Anda, Ivan Reis, Joe Padro (#8), Jim Lee & Gary Frank (#9)

#7 Now that the team’s origin story is complete, starting with this issue we shift to the present-day Justice League! What has changed? Who has joined the team since? Featuring artwork by Gene Ha, the story also reintroduces the team’s greatest champion: Steve Trevor! Also starting in this issue: “The Curse of Shazam!” featuring a story by Geoff Johns and art by Gary Frank! Discover Billy Batson’s place in DC Comics – The New 52 as we reveal his all-new origin story!

#8 – In the five years that the Justice League has been a team, Green Arrow has never once been a member. And he intends to rectify that right here, right now! One member against his candidacy: Aquaman! Plus, in “The Curse of Shazam” part 2, Billy arrives in his new foster home just as an ancient evil is uncovered halfway across the world.

#9 – “The Villain’s Journey”: Part one of a story introducing an all-new major nemesis for the Justice League. In part three of the SHAZAM! backup story, Billy Batson attempts to get used to his new life, new school and new family as Sivana unleashes an ancient evil imprisoned long ago.

JLACompBane03After reading and enjoying the first volume of Justice League I decided to see how the second arc would fare. Rather than wait for the paperback release, I decided to buy the next few issues digitally and do my best to catch up with the series before the release of #19 so I could add it to my list of print comics that I follow with the latest issue, which currently consists of the following titles: Age of Ultron, All New X-Men, Batman, Batman and Robin, Hawkeye, Justice League, Justice League of America, Talon, Uncanny Avengers and Uncanny X-Men.

As I seem to be going on about the flagship titles a lot in this roundup, I think it’s safe to say that Justice League is probably the flagship title of the New 52 Universe. I mean, where else could you find Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg all on one team? But anyway, on with the review.

#7 and #8 bridge the gap between the first volume, Origins, and the Villain’s Journey 4-issue arc. It deals with the Justice League’s troubles with Congress while Green Arrow attempts to join the team. Steve Trevor is also given a central role here since he defends the League in front of the congress and runs interference when Green Arrow’s attempts at joining the Justice League continually fail. #8 very much portrays the League as a sort of “Old Boys Club,” and they don’t want to let anyone onto their team. It was pretty entertaining to watch him attempt to join the team, and I couldn’t help but root for the underdog in #8, if only because of the TV show Arrow. The one thing that I’m not sure about is why Aquaman is against Arrow joining the team, and Johns never goes into any kind of detail on that issue.

It’s also interesting to note how well the members of the Justice League function as a team since their rocky start in Origin and how they have improved. #8 also mentions a brief encounter with the Talons from the Court of Owls and The Martian Manhunter, which I personally found more interesting than the story of Green Arrow trying to get onto the team. I think that Geoff Johns should have focused on those and possibly save a Green Arrow story for a later date, when he’s had more time to establish the friction between Arrow and Aquaman.

#9 is the final issue that I’m reviewing of the Justice League series in this roundup and it is the opening story to the Villain’s Journey arc. Johns has managed to have a strong handle on all the characters by now even if Aquaman is absent from this issue. He delivers a great balance between the League’s cast, showcasing scenes between The Flash and Green Lantern and Batman and Superman separately. He also allows brief flashbacks to help define characters personalities, and whilst they can feel a bit unnecessary at times (particularly with Cyborg, whose story we already saw in the opening arc), it’s certainly impressive what Johns has done with #9 here as he’s managed to cram a lot of emotion into a few panels. This helps prove that Justice League is turning out to be a very fun comic – in a similar way to how the Uncanny Avengers reboot is shaping up, and also manages to prove that Johns can continue to make a really strong series.

However, The Shazam backstory is probably the strongest thing about these three issues and I really enjoyed the way it was presented here, particularly as I’d never encountered Shazam before and only heard about him through a friend and the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us video game. It’ll be entertaining to watch his development in future issues and see how Billy Batson becomes a stronger character and how he develops over the course of the series.

The artwork across all the issues is very awesome, despite the fact that there are a lot of people working on it. Justice League is a very strong series so far and I don’t really have any major problems with the first three issues aside from the weakness of the Green Arrow story. Overall I can say this has been a very entertaining comic and I shall certainly be sticking around to see where things go from here.

Rating: 4/5

Shadowhawk is a regular contributor to TFF. A resident of Dubai, Shadowhawk reads, reads and reads. His opinions are always clear and concise. His articles always worth reading.

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