David Graves, who has been kidnapping enemies of the Justice League and torturing them for information, strikes. He invades the team’s satellite and assaults the members with memories of loss that leave them gnarled husks. Along the way we learn how Graves was granted power by minor gods and perhaps acts as a conduit to feed them energies. And Wonder Woman shows us her fulsome breasts.
All the better to show off the Wonder-tits, my dear. They don’t deflate even when the Amazon Princess becomes a walking skeleton.
And Geoff Johns’ script is a backslide in quality compared to the last couple of issues. Aquaman is the butt of the general public’s jokes once more. Green Lantern is an emerald ass. Cyborg projects holograms of villains that are less clear than a mobile phone snap. Superman is sniffy and distant. Flash is paranoid. Wonder Woman is a loose cannon liability.
Batman’s OK, actually.
And while Graves’ magical power is classic Silver Age silliness, his design is Modern Age awful – high collar and corset exposing the images of his late family carved into his ivory flesh. Or maybe manifesting from it, it’s not clear.
And it’s annoying that we’re being teased about details of Wonder Woman’s life that should be revealed in her own series. It seems Diana considers Steve Trevor simply a friend, on the same level as the unnamed Apache woman she visits once a month. It’s intriguing. but given the Dallas With Gods soap that is her home book, Lord knows when we’ll find out more.
It’s sad that the biggest kick I got this time was an offhand reference to Eighties JLA legend Vibe. Yet I know that writer Geoff Johns and penciller Jim Lee can do so much better.
The ‘other’ Geoff Johns writes the back-up Shazam feature. The guy whose scripts eschew bombast for character building. The one who allows his players’ personalities to reveal themselves rather than leap out and sock us in the kisser. I really like that Geoff Johns.
Here, Johns shows us Billy Batson’s vulnerable side, reveals his surprising best friend and begins forging a bond between Billy and foster brother Freddy Freeman. He also catches us up on Sivana’s search for magic and introduces a powerful new/old player. The script is subtle and satisfying, and perfectly envisioned by artist Gary Frank, whose facility with character ‘acting’ gets better by the issue; few artists can match Frank for realistically expressive faces.
So the supporting feature outshines the main attraction. Little Billy Batson and his mundane battles are more compelling than the ‘world’s greatest superheroes’ fighting for their lives.
If Johns and Lee concentrate more on telling a good story with the League, and less on Kewl Moments and fake-looking breasts, they could turn things around. Soon would be nice.