Justice League #19
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Jonathan Glapion, and Rod Reis
SHAZAM! by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, and Brad Anderson
The short of it:
It all starts with a conversation nobody ever expected; Jason Todd and Alfred discussing the hanging up of Damian’s costume in the Batcave. Jason doesn’t think it’ll be a good idea, that Bruce won’t like it, but Alfred knows it’s the right thing to do, just like when he put up Jason’s suit. Jason questions his own importance, but Alfred will have none of that, every Robin was like a son to both Bruce and himself, and….Jason gets tazed. And Alfred gets thrown through a display case. Is that The Operative? Or just some dude in a black suit with the ability to pass through security like it’s nobody’s business? Either way, he finds the secret room in the back of the Batcave, and finds Bruce’s most secret of contingency plans.
Enough of that, our Brand New Atom is out living the Sword of the Atom lifestyle! Orcs! Monsters! Legions of evil! And a team of heroes by her side, but her alarm is going off and she has to leave…but what about their tiny civilization? What will they do without her….wait, it’s World of Warcraft? She can go into the game and play as herself? That is AWESOME! Anyway, meeting time, and the only other person at the Watchtower is Firestorm, and he’s talking to himself! Still, curious, today is the day they get their official League papers, and nobody from the League is there…
Maybe because Superman and Wonder Woman are in Kahndaq, saving lives during the struggles between the Kahndaqi government and the terrorist Sons of Adam…thing is, they aren’t supposed to be there. Kahndaq is ridiculously off limits, even when it comes to saving lives, and now the United States is being accused of spying thanks to the actions of two perceived Americans. It’s to the point where Batman has to leave the case of who broke in and stole an ominous box from the Batcave, despite having Cyborg and Aquaman there to help…because Bruce knows what’s been taken, and he’ll only tell Superman.
He’ll also try and explain that off limits to Americans means that the Power Couple shouldn’t go show up and destabilize regions, but one lesson at a time, right? No? Both at once. And who stole what? And what just boomed into the Watchtower? Oh….crap….sorry rookies, this first one is a doozy!
Meanwhile, in SHAZAM!, Billy takes his foster home friends to where he met the Wizard, but he doesn’t find the Wizard’s lair. Instead he finds out the origins of BLACK ADAM from the reflection of Francesca who only he, and apparently Mary, can hear. He believes that Adam’s origin holds the key to defeating the Black Marvel, but he forgets one key detail. BLACK ADAM isn’t a scared little kid….he’s BLACK ADAM!
What I liked:
Rhonda doing her best impression of Ray Palmer circa “Sword of the Atom”, only doing it better. Who needs to go find some subatomic civilization in the yard when you can jump right into an MMO and be a player character? So freaking cool. I think I may finally have a version of the Atom that I like!
Batman’s famous Tower of Babel contingency plans return, and that’s a fantastic thing as if he didn’t have them then I’d question where the Batman we all know and love is.
Superman and Wonder Woman go on ‘proactive’ dates. Some people go to dinner, or a movie…they go and change the world.
One of my FAVORITE Justice League villains shows up!
Ivan, Joe, Rod, and friends make this book look amazing. We’ve got setting from the Batcave, to an MMO, to Kahndaq, and even the Watchtower. We have characters in action, standing around, the works. And you know what’s impressive? Every beat is nailed perfectly. They are drawing superheroes, and the book is that much better because of it.
What I didn’t like:
Diana is WAY too defensive. Batman goes to talk to the most powerful couple of all time about the ramifications of their actions, Superman is ready for a discussion, but Wonder Woman flips out. Just really angry and defensive, and to be honest, a bit scary.
As much as I love the SHAZAM! stuff, it’s been dragging on a bit the past few chapters. Like treading water while waiting for a full issue to clear up to wrap it in.
There’s a Justice League and a Justice League of AMERICA. Superman is an alien, Wonder Woman is an Amazon, and yet they are viewed as creating an international incident? I mean, I get it, to the rest of the world they probably appear to be the heroes of America, but they’re about as ‘for everyone’ as you’re going to get in the superhero community.
Was the Green K Ring property of Lex Luthor first? It better have been, I’d hate for someone else to come up with such a simple and effective idea for handling Superman.
I never thought I’d see Jason “The Red Hood” Todd in the pages of Justice League, but holy crap, Johns does some nice work with him in the limited pages he appears in!
I also never thought I’d be eager to read more about any variation of The Atom, but here I am enjoying the crap out of Rhonda and knowing full well that after a few more issues like this I’ll be clamoring for an ongoing book for her.
Strong female leads are awesome, and DC needs a new Stephanie Brown, so why not Rhonda Pineda?
I really hope BLACK ADAM goes to Kahndaq and takes over in a violent display of power, that was one of my favorite moments by him in the old canon, and it would be even better here. An actual world power.
I like how little it bothers Bruce to see Clark and Diana together as a couple, that he understands, that he’s not jealous, and that he has far more concern for the things they do on their dates than what they do in the bedroom. Because international incidents aren’t the dates of normal people….THEY’RE THE DATES OF CHAMPIONS!
Tags: Batman, Clark Kent (Superman), DC Comics, gary frank, Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Justice League, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Shazam (Captain Marvel), Wonder Woman