Justice League #11

The Justice League members recover from the assault of their opponent, memory manipulator David Graves, only to find him gone. Gone to the home of Tracy Trevor, sister of their government liaison, Steve Trevor. Boom Tube teleportation gets the team there just as he’s blipping out, having terrified Tracy with tales of what he has in store for Steve. An angry Tracy blames Wonder Woman, who flounces off in search of Graves, proclaiming: ‘I’m going to find him – I’m going to cut off his head – and I’m going to bring Steve home.’

Which is shocking enough. The Amazon’s behaviour is compounded as she not only turns down the helping hand offered by Green Lantern Hal Jordan, she assaults him. Punches him across the street.

Then slices him open with her sword.

Then she lays into Superman with a sucker kick. Diana finally calms down and the whole League goes looking for Graves. Finding his home empty, they travel to the Valley of Souls, where a surprise awaits …

It’s a shame the Eisner Awards have just been given out, because if there was a Most Contemptible Portrayal of a Superhero gong, writer Geoff Johns would walk it. I know the current DC thinking is that Wonder Woman is nothing more than a Xena copy, a knock-off of a knock-off – that’s one of the reasons I’ve stopped reading her title. But at least the warrior princess has charm and humour – this Wonder Woman is a battle-crazed harpy, a loose cannon barbarian no sane person would tolerate on their team.

Johns even has Diana make a barbed comment about Hal’s sexual prowess (click on image to enlarge). It’s tacky stuff.

I’ve previously bemoaned the presentation of Hal Jordan in this book as a fratboy with a magic ring, but here Johns gives him an excuse, as he alerts Diana to the horrors he faces in space. ‘Being with the League is a vacation compared to my time with the Green Lantern Corps.’ So while Diana’s character is hung out to dry, Hal – not coincidentally, written by Johns – gets a free pass. What’s Diana’s excuse? She was ‘worried’, according to a pathetically wimpy Superman.

We’ve seen enough of Johns’ Diana in this book to indicate that either he really doesn’t get Wonder Woman as loved by generations, or he just hates the idea of a wise, compassionate female fighter who isn’t one mood swing away from slaughtering you.

To put all my critical acumen into one clever phrase – gah.

It’s not all bad news this issue. There’s a nice little mystery set up around the nature of Cyborg’s existence, and Tracy Trevor is appealing in her short scene with Graves. Jim Lee’s pencils combine with the inks of Scott Williams and Jonathan Glapion to tell the story well enough, with the creepier moments being the best. The fussy lines and shading on the heroes’ costumes is annoying, and Batman’s hand is bigger than his head, and Wonder Woman has strange things under her eyes, but what do I know?

The Shazam serial continues, with Black Adam intrigued by Dr Sivana while slaying his colleague, and Billy and Freddy annoying the local rich kids. The story ends with Billy one step closer to his destiny. It’s solid work from Geoff Johns, illustrated superbly by Gary Frank and coloured by the excellent Brad Anderson. The casual murder has no place in a strip built on the work of CC Beck, but that’s the New 52 DC … forget what made characters unique, and beloved – it’s a horrible world out there.

And I don’t like that Billy’s almost as big a jerk as the bullies – I get that he’s had a tough life, and is scared to let people get close, blah blah, but there’s a real nastiness in his eyes (above). Let’s hope an encounter with an old wizard makes him a little sunnier. Otherwise, what is the point of him?

I’m beginning to wonder what the point of following this book is. I know it’s become a bit of a joke to call the Justice League ‘Super Friends’, but that’s exactly what they should be – DC’s greatest heroes, providing an example of how people can work together for the greater good. I despair of the current portrayal, which presents DC’s biggest icons as idiots, simpletons and now, psychopaths. And while Shazam has been the bright spot of late, if the tone is going to be one of spite, and if the murders keep on coming, well, there are plenty of other books out there.

60 thoughts on “Justice League #11

  1. The sooner Azzarello leaves Wonder Woman the better. He treats her in her own book, the same way in treated her in his terrible Superman run, as a plot device: not too bright,
    not very powerful, someone to be slapped around by Superman.

    She's a plot device in her own book now: a supporting character to the gods, who've slapped her around in issues” 2,6,8. 10 and 11.



  2. you read invincible, i thought you'd be turned off by the violence, anyways it's a great book with a ton of memorable characters like le bruiser a bulldog with superstrength or team member yeti who has a startling secret.


  3. I don't read Invincible, bought the first trade and packed in after two issues, bored. I was turned off by the violence in Kirkman's Destroyer series, if that's a help!


  4. Oh, I can't remember the details – heard it was amazing, didn't find it so. Ditto, Walking Dead … actually, not quite, I bought the trade and couldn't even be arsed to open it. Zombies!


  5. Good review. I just found your blog, but I find myself agreeing with a lot of your reviews. The JL has become a joke. They seem to hate each other more than they hate their arch enemies. I'll keep reading out of morbid curiosity, and hoping the next arc will be better.

    As for the back up, Captain Marvel (I will never call him shazam) is my favorite DC hero, but I'm hating these stories. Billy Batson's biggest trait was his never quit attitude. He was a good guy you could count on, even though his own life wasn't great. Now, he's a huge, unlikeable jerk. Then, they take the wimpy Dr. sivana and make him bigger than hulk Hogan. I may find the main JL story weird and annoying, but i'm hating the back up story. I'd rather they had left him in comic book limbo with Wally West, Donna Troy, etc.


  6. Hi Anon, glad to have you visit. I'd rather have a more traditional/proper Captain Marvel strip, but for now I'm approaching this as just another revamp in the giant Elseworlds that is the New 52. Right now, though, I feel like cracking open the old Jerry Ordway/Pete Krause Power of Shazam series and wallowing in smartly crafted CC Beck-style fun.


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