JUSTICE LEAGUE #11

STORY: Geoff Johns
ART: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Jonathan Glapion

The problem with writing for an ensemble is making each character interesting and a part of the story. This is hard enough to accomplish in film, TV, or even books, and it’s even harder to do in a comic book such as Justice League. Not only does Geoff Johns feature each member of the League – at least a little bit – in nearly every issue, he’s also been doing a fantastic job conveying each character’s personality through their behavior while part of a team dynamic. Ever since DC relaunched it’s entire line, a big complaint from many critics and fans alike has been Hal Jordan’s brash and jerky behavior as opposed to his traditional ‘All-American’ personality that defined him for so many years. I’d like to argue that Hal Jordan was getting boring, and Johns has finally given Earth’s preeminent Green Lantern a reason to be interested in him, even if that means loving to hate his asshole tendencies.

A big part of what makes Justice League so interesting to read, whether you think it’s a good book or not, is that it presents each hero in circumstances out of their comfort zone. For Diana, it means working with others and compromising when it makes logical sense. Steve Trevor is hostage to Graves, and Diana wants to go after them alone, while Hal tried to talk her into sticking with the League and tracking down Graves together. Hal and Diana’s face-off is great and gives a great deal more meaning to their working relationship. Us readers haven’t seen much of the time between Darkseid’s attack and this current Graves situation, which leaves a lot of room open for Johns to play around with each members’ relationship with the others. “You’ve been dying for this, haven’t you?” asks Hal to Diana, obviously rhetorically. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman apparently have some built-up tension that finally manages to break their respective patiences and they proceed to get into a fist fight that Graves somehow manages to broadcast across the globe. Of course, Hal’s only the first one to stop Diana from making a mistake by going off alone, and soon, Superman is on the ground, too. Cyborg finally teleports the entire team north to David Graves’ writing cabin, where they hope to find Graves himself as well as poor Steve Trevor. 



At the beginning of the issue, Graves goes to torment Tracy Trevor, Steve’s sister, for some unexplained reason. Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be any actual motive for Graves’ visit other than to tell Tracy that he’s going to kill her brother and that she should be grateful that she wont have to witness it. The League follows Graves’ only to be berated by Tracy about their irresponsibility with her brother, not only professionally, but also intimately. While I understand that this scene facilitates Wonder Woman’s eventual lashing-out at the other Leaguers, it really feels clumsy, like this scene came together at the last moment and inconsistencies – like the villain’s reason for his actions? – were simply overlooked.



The problem with writing for an ensemble is making each character interesting and a part of the story. This is hard enough to accomplish in film, TV, or even books, and it’s even harder to do in a comic book such as Justice League. Not only does Geoff Johns feature each member of the League – at least a little bit – in nearly every issue, he’s also been doing a fantastic job conveying each character’s personality through their behavior while part of a team dynamic. Ever since DC relaunched it’s entire line, a big complaint from many critics and fans alike has been Hal Jordan’s brash and jerky behavior as opposed to his traditional ‘All-American’ personality that defined him for so many years. I’d like to argue that Hal Jordan was getting boring, and Johns has finally given Earth’s preeminent Green Lantern a reason to be interested in him, even if that means loving to hate his asshole tendencies.


A big part of what makes Justice League so interesting to read, whether you think it’s a good book or not, is that it presents each hero in circumstances out of their comfort zone. For Diana, it means working with others and compromising when it makes logical sense. Steve Trevor is hostage to Graves, and Diana wants to go after them alone, while Hal tried to talk her into sticking with the League and tracking down Graves together. Hal and Diana’s face-off is great and gives a great deal more meaning to their working relationship. Us readers haven’t seen much of the time between Darkseid’s attack and this current Graves situation, which leaves a lot of room open for Johns to play around with each members’ relationship with the others. “You’ve been dying for this, haven’t you?” asks Hal to Diana, obviously rhetorically. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman apparently have some built-up tension that finally manages to break their respective patiences and they proceed to get into a fist fight that Graves somehow manages to broadcast across the globe. Of course, Hal’s only the first one to stop Diana from making a mistake by going off alone, and soon, Superman is on the ground, too. Cyborg finally teleports the entire team north to David Graves’ writing cabin, where they hope to find Graves himself as well as poor Steve Trevor. 

Not even Graves can describe himself in a simple way…

At the beginning of the issue, Graves goes to torment Tracy Trevor, Steve’s sister, for some unexplained reason. Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be any actual motive for Graves’ visit other than to (again, inexplicably) give Tracy his abridged life story and power set origin, then tell her that he’s going to kill her brother and that she should be grateful that she wont have to witness it…What?  The League follows Graves only to be berated by Tracy about their irresponsibility with her brother professionally and also intimately. While I understand that this scene facilitates Wonder Woman’s eventual lashing-out at the other Leaguers, it really feels clumsy, like this scene came together at the last moment, so  inconsistencies – like the villain’s reason for his actions? – were simply overlooked.


On top of that, Johns takes even more time – later in the issue – to finish giving us Grave’s origin story. At the end of it all, Graves just feels like a villain that’s too forced for his own good. Darkseid: evil alien warlord whose search for the anti-life equation leads him to become an intergalactic conqueror. See? One sentence to describe one of the most iconic Superman villains of all time. Graves: author whose family died as an indirect result of a Justice League-related battle, so he seeks out haunted gods who will  fuse him with the spirits of his dead family, thus giving him a weird, alien-lizard look…and he can use his powers(?) to make people see their dead family members, and take away their energy, I guess. If that sentence was as painful to read as it was to write, you’ll understand how silly of a character Graves really seems.


I like Justice League. You get to see a different side of your favorite heroes and, more often than not, it’s exciting and fun to read, which is the real goal of all comic books. “The Villain’s Journey” started out strong, with a path that had the potential to produce an awesome new nemesis for the League. Instead, we got Graves, a whiney writer who has deluded himself into believing the Justice League is responsible for his family’s eventual death.


SCORE
7.7/10
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s