Review: Justice League of America, vol 1 by Johns, Lemire, Kindt…

Justice League of America, Vol. 1: World's Most DangerousJustice League of America, Vol. 1: World’s Most Dangerous by Geoff Johns

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I’m getting numb to Geoff Johns’ ham-fisted character introductions. The first chapter of this book went pretty smoothly for me, only a couple of major winced along the way (and god help me with this weak-willed nobody Steve Trevor showing up everywhere in JL land – he’s a milquetoast stooge, a straight man that serves no purpose except to make others feel better. Does he have any ambitions other than to sleep with Wonder Woman? Apparently not according to Geoff Johns)

At least the pacing is good as the team assembles and faces their first threats. It’s a real shame that Johns makes them beat on the JL yet again (does the New 52 JL actually ever spend time with a pure villain?)

The Amanda Waller “follow my inscrutable orders!” tension gives us some fun “I’m a badass hero that doesn’t follow the rules” moments, but boy is that authority shit getting stale. I far preferred Maxwell Lord or Henry Bendix or Nick freakin Fury – hopefully not because they were men but because they had some real quirks and personality (though I’ll admit Fury is generally as inscrutable).

*******
Minor dumb Spoiler ahead
*******
What the hell is with dumbass pop culture writers? “We stay in place and the Earth moves around us” kinds of insta-travel across the surface of the planet raises as many questions as answers. If you know anything about physics (let alone astrophysics) then think about this: if we stay in place relative to anything but the *center of the Earth*, we will quickly move into the center of the planet or the middle of space next to the moon. The Earth doesn’t just spin like a top, it’s also hurtling through space according to orbital rotations of itself around the sun, the solar system around the center of the galaxy, and the galaxy hurtling outward from the center of the universe according to the Big Bang theory. Pretty much any “stay in place” travel mechanism is an instant death sentence. Dumbass.  [Does that make the Secret Society a bunch of dumbasses too, or do they get a pass because in this brain-dead physics, it works?]

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Spoilers behind
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After a decent four-issue intro and adventure, the story gets tripped up in the (repeated elsewhere issues tangled up with) retarded Trinity War dog’s breakfast of an “event”. So skip past that nonsense and head for Matt Kindt’s backups – an interesting elucidation of Martian Manhunter’s demons, for lack of a more apt metaphor for an alien.

Kindt lends some emotional depth and resonance to the Manhunter. In knowing his background, in seeing just how much his former life among Martian culture agonizes him in isolation, I finally feel like I have done reason to want to care about this otherwise cold, stony, indifferent creature. (I have no idea if Kindt just robbed DC’s history vaults for these ideas, if he augmented and finely wove them, or birthed a new origin, but the effect is just as good.)

This book (aside from the Trinity stumble) was decent, but like any confused child in the face of foreign dopiness, I’ve got a few questions here:

  • Signal Man? What the shit kind of 50’s JSA villain is that? A guy with a spotlight on his chest?
    SignalManVibe? Is that the 90’s calling – a black superhero with a name out of the Ebony magazine “top 100 ethnic-sounding names for your baby”?
  • Who’s this Simon GL? There are already 153 known GL’s who could be brought into the New 52 to roam our generally-overcrowded sector (I mean, some sectors have one squirrel or protoplasm lump to cover the whole thing, but somehow Earth rates a half-dozen at any one time) – they gotta bring on #154 just because Johns is feelin frisky?View all my reviews
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