(p) Tony S. Daniel
Justice League #14 brings the conclusion to “The Secret of the Cheetah”, last month wherein Wonder Woman’s best friend, Barbara Minerva, was possessed by the Amazonian goddess of the hunt and driven crazy by the power. I’d never read too much that included Cheetah in the pre-‘New 52′ days (probably saw her in crossovers, etc.), but I can’t imagine she was anywhere near as cool as Geoff Johns’ reinterpretation — it’s like going from tofurkey to a honest-to-goodness Thanksgiving bird! This month, we discover how Barbara Minerva’s actions are more nefarious than we previously believed.
At the end of JL#13, Cheetah sank her teeth into Superman and turned him into a rabid man-cheetah bent on taking down his comrades. This is a cool plot development — the Cheetah is either as strong or stronger than the Man of Steel — but it’s not given the opportunity to go anywhere before the League discovers the Cheetah’s weakness and uses it on Clark. The appearance of the ancient tribe who worships the Cheetah as the goddess of the hunt isn’t interesting enough. Sure, they’ve got a lot of insight on the Cheetah as a deity, Barbara Minerva’s intentions, and how to save Superman’s life, but it all comes at the cost of too much expository monologue.
Instead of making this story arc a bit more fluid and organic — perhaps with a full issue of cheetah-controlled Superman hunting the League members — “The Secret of the Cheetah” feels rushed and compressed. Promotional material form DC states that the “road to ‘Trinity War’ is paved through Justice League #14‘. With nothing else to go on, I can’t really say what that connection might be. Then again, Johns is a master as subtle build-up to explosive results, so there’s a big possibility I’ll be reading “Trinity War” next year, and I’ll come back to JL#14 only to see something I’ll tell myself should have been obvious.