Justice League #14 Review

Justice League #14 Review

It’s the team versus monster Superman… for about five seconds, in JUSTICE LEAGUE #14.

Justice League #14

On a mission to capture The Cheetah in the Congo, Superman has been infected by her magical bite and transformed into a monster that’s thrashing his teammates.  Luckily, the tribe of villagers the Cheetah has been hunting, a tribe that worships the Cheetah Goddess, arrives and uses a magic horn to subdue Supes and drive off the villainess.  As they heal Superman and tell the story of their people, Flash and Wonder Woman drive the Cheetah into the River, where she is defeated by Aquaman and an army of piranhas.  Later, the incarcerated Cheetah makes contact with her boss to inform them that everything is going according to plan, while Superman takes Wonder Woman to his family farm in Smallville.

While last issue kind of presented the Cheetah as a character who might COULD go toe-to-toe with the League, this issues pretty much confirms her original status as… not.  After turning Supes, she gets in a few shots at Flash before being taken out in pretty short order by Aquaman and water.  But, as has become a bit of a staple of Geoff Johns’ writing of late, that awkward plot was all part of the mysterious main villain’s plan to get the Cheetah in Belle Reve, where tons of other super villains are imprisoned.  Superbreakout in the future, anyone?

The fight with Cheetah is over about halfway through the issue, with the Supermonster bit ending even quicker.  I’m kind of bummed that Super-Cheetah was actually an unexpected reaction to her bite, and that usually her victims die.  I thought Cheetah being able to turn people vampire/werewolf-style would have been a good addition to her skillset.

The tribe’s story about a “godslayer” knife and its long and varied list of victims was fairly intriguing, especially considering the last story arc’s focus on other spiritual belief systems.  Add to that the opening arc setting the team against the New Gods of Apokolips, I have to wonder if Johns isn’t building some kind of “Crisis of Infinite Deities” as the main theme of his work here.

And of course, the Superman fan in me was really interested that one of the knife’s victims was “an alien sun god who angered many others.”  Sounds like Rao from Kryptonian mythology.

The rest of the book focused on the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship as he takes her to Smallville in hopes of letting her in on that part of his life.  The image of the two at the Kent Farm was really nice and almost touching.  But I seriously have to call into question the point of the pair eating at a diner in Smallville in full superhero gear, surrounded by gawking citizens.  That is bizarre on its own, but the fact that this is the town Superman grew up in also makes it stupid.  Anyone of these people should have been like “Hey, isn’t that Clark Kent sitting over there dressed as Superman?”

I’m sure with the whole celebrity gossip angle that’s been used so far in the book, cell phone vids of the pair eating will wind up on TMZ next issue.  I guess Johns wanted the DCU to be aware of their relationship, but there was no internal reasoning for it.  If Supes wanted to show Diana how ordinary people lived, they should have gone incognito.  As it is, how is this any different from her experience dating Steve Trevor, where everyone in the world had an opinion on their love life?

The SHAZAM back-up focuses on Black Adam and Sivana tearing around the country causing mischief and trying to get into the Rock of Eternity, which is blocked thanks to the Wizard having chosen a new Champion.  So instead, Adam decides to awaken the Seven Deadly Sins, which are sleeping in the bodies of ordinary humans.  Meanwhile, Billy and Freddy waste more time not thinking up anything cool to do with superpowers.

The idea that the Seven Sins will show up in this series as actual personalities and not just vague monstrous cartoon characters is an awesome one.  But I’m still waiting for Billy to do SOMETHING in this story.  And hell, I get that the notion of kid suddenly transformed into a superman is ripe for comedic moments.  So… let’s have some of those, maybe?  If he can’t fight anybody and insists on lazing about town, can those moments at least be funny, or move the plot forward in some way?


Pros Cons
Tony Daniel’s art has never looked better Shazam keeps meandering

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