Justice League #12 Review

Justice League #12 Review

The League finally confronts Graves, and themselves, in Justice League #12

Justice League #12

As the League enters Graves’ Temple, they find themselves accosted by the spirits of their dead loved ones, all of whom are disappointed with how the team members turned out.  As they lay writhing on the floor, Graves enters, and monologues about how, now that the team has taken a good look at themselves and their flaws, they are ready to begin rebuilding themselves into the team they should always have been.  But before that can happen, Steve Trevor, whose “spirit” led them to believe was he dead, arrives and attacks Graves.  Now understanding that they are merely facing shape-shifting demons, the League is able to break the spell and teams up to take down Graves once and for all.  In the aftermath of the battle, the League debates whether or not Graves was right, and Hal Jordan decides to quit the team, since his fight with Wonder Woman has caused the world to doubt the League’s internal strength.  Meanwhile, after finally severing her ties with Steve Trevor, lamenting that any relationship with a human will only end in that person’s death, Wonder Woman seeks comfort in the arms of Superman, the only person on Earth she can’t hurt. 

In the end of JUSTICE LEAGUE’s second story arc, we finally get what I’ve always wanted from this book, and that’s, you know, the Justice League!  The first half of the issue was pretty standard superheroics, although I’m a little underwhelmed by how the team ultimately defeated Graves.  Spoiler, they all used their powers on him at once.  Why it took them four issues to try that baffles me, and again makes me wish this story would have been set in Year One or Two, when the team was still raw, and not Year Five, when they should be a well-oiled machine. 

As I predicted last month, John’s new habit of reversing a character’s personality at the start of the story, only for them to grow into their real selves, is finally starting to bear fruit. 

Top of the list is Hal Jordan, who has gone from the most annoying jerk-hole of a person into a self-sacrificing hero, who tells the team to blame him in the public for all their problems, just to keep the group together and pure in “our” eyes.  Even though I’m snickering at Johns whole-sale swiping the ending of THE DARK KNIGHT, I’m still impressed with Jordan’s actions, and feel that his departure is only the first piece in a larger story that sees the deconstruction of the League and what it stands for.

Aquaman, who existed as a cypher these past 11 or so issues, finally takes a little command, not only bringing the League to task for their weaknesses, but also reiterating his claim that he would make a better leader than Batman.

I’ve debated the merits of Superman and Wonder Woman getting together before, so I won’t go too heavy into it here.  I will say that I’m glad that it felt like a natural progression of the story, one where Wonder Woman “realizes” that being with a human endangers that person’s life, and at the same time realizes that superheroes exist somewhere between the worlds of Gods and Men, and are therefore exiles from both, leading her to start a relationship with her equal Superman.  It remains to be seen from what little we witnessed how far this relationship will go or how long it will last.  I could totally see it within Johns’ wheelhouse to reverse things next issue.

On that front, I’m a little annoyed that Steve Trevor isn’t dead.  It’s not that I have anything against him personally, it’s just that I was simply blown away by the suddenness of his “death” last issue, and his comeback here negates that, almost like a miniature version of every comic book death ever.  By the same token, this means that Cyborg didn’t see his own soul in the Temple, and is therefore not an empty machine.  I suppose the question is still there, but again, now last issue’s best moments are left hollow and boring. 

It’s the end of the story, and I’m still on the fence about Graves as a suitable villain.  On his own, nothing about his powers or visual are all that unique.  Heck, his plan to resurrect the dead felt like Johns was bootlegging his own Blackest Night plot.  And again, like the Reverse Flash Johns gave to Wally, Graves motivation of fighting the heroes to make them better was nothing new.  And though the team defeated him physically, I still wish SOMEONE would have brought up the fact that Graves’ beef was not with the League, but with Darkseid.  Yes, they beat him physically, but I would have rather they also beat him mentally and emotionally. 

Jim Lee’s art took a serious downturn this issue.  Perhaps it was the seventeen inkers, but a lot of panels had me looking back to the title page just to make sure that, yes, Lee did draw that page.  At times it didn’t even look like Lee’s work.  The “preview” pages for future issues looked great, and really make me hope the rumor about Ivan Reis taking over are true. 

Well, the first year is over.  On the whole, I’m enjoying this book more than I was at the start of this arc.  Hopefully the characters will continue to show growth into their more classic, re: Heroic, selves.  The previews for next year’s stories have me jazzed, as does the announcement of a Justice League OF AMERICA book, featuring the likes of J’Onn, Hawkman, Green Arrow, and Catwoman.  It seems like DC is trying to copy Marvel’s success with their franchise of AVENGERS books, which I hope really does pan out. 


Pros Cons
Feel like we’re getting some real character development Given that Graves’ plans are all cripped from old Geoff Johns stories, I’m starting to wonder if Graves isn’t Johns himself

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