Trinity War Review: Justice League of America #7 by Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire, and Doug Mahnke

jla7

Justice League of America #7

Written by Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire

Art by Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Marc Deering, Walden Wong, Nathan Eyring, Pete Pantazis, and Gabe Eltaeb

 

The short of it:

A group of lawyers stand around Lex Luthor telling him how they’re going to get him out of jail, clear his name, give him back his company, and just whitewash the past few years of his life so that everyone forgets he was a bad guy. He doesn’t really care though, he’s too busy looking at the newspaper headline about Superman killing Dr. Light, and his only interests remain in the curiosity of how someone pulled it off. He even fires his lawyers to get more thinking time, but that’s when Pandora shows up with her box to see if he can open it. Then you’ve got Plastique walking through ARGUS to do something with Dr. Light’s corpse, before we go see another Doctor…a Psycho. Dr. Psycho is preparing a murderous experiment when a combined force of Justice League members shows up to stomp him and he makes a break for it while playing mind games with everyone to cover his escape.

Alas, they brought a Martian, and a pissed off Superman that is weaker than a kitten. Thankfully he has that Martian. Meanwhile there’s another team trying to gain access to the House of Mystery, which means Baz tries to smash his way in, and Catwoman asks the house nicely and the doors open. A mirror shows them the Phantom Stranger, who can’t return himself, but he sends back his team. Because you can’t not have Batman. Anyway, J’onn is digging into Psycho’s head and he admits to being in Kahndaq, to being sent there by the Secret Society, but that he never did anything but sit in his room waiting for a call. That means that there are only more questions to be asked, and more confessions from Atom to be given as she comes clean to the team about her purpose, and the JLA, but never clarifies whether or not she was actually friends with anyone when they ask. But these new answers, now with the revelation of the JLA’s true purpose, point Superman at Amanda Waller.

Back to Lex, who was conveniently not forgotten, but he’s stopped from getting to Pandora’s Box by Wonder Woman and her team. Of course, since Diana wants the box, Lex now wants it more, and all kinds of things happen as the issue goes to close. Explosions, the vanishing of the Phantom Stranger, and SOMEBODY GETS THE BOX!

 

What I liked:

  • Hey look, Lex Luthor! And he isn’t being written like a Bond villain or silver age supervillain so….improvement! He’s a Lex who is more obsessed with who bested his greatest foe than his own freedom, and that’s…well, that’s Lex!

  • Psycho goes through Superman’s mind, finds out everything, so J’onn reaches in and erases all of it. Great little moment of telepathic one-ups-manship.

  • Doug Mahnke and company make the absolute most here. The book looks great, from the characters, to the action, and especially sickly Superman. Not to mention that Simon Baz looks like Simon Baz again, but hey, what do you expect when his visual creator gets his hands back on him?

  • Or, even better, Mahnke draws a beast of a J’onn. I’d love to see him do more with him.

  • Catwoman gaining access to the House of Mystery, outsmarting all the guys, and not even needing to be the master thief to do so. Selina manages to bond with a house, of all things, and gets more accomplished than the four guys she’s with. Catwoman love! And to think, a few issues ago everyone was freaking out about her fake death.

  • Man, this event has been paced out perfectly. Four issues in, things have yet to start to drag, nor have they felt rushed. It’s a rarity, an event that is as long as it should be, and not just long enough to pad a hardcover.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • This is, I think, four issues in a row of Atom admitting she’s a traitor, though this issue was the first time anybody else bothered to notice.

  • I do not like the redesign of Dr. Psycho, just like I didn’t when I first saw it in Superboy. It just looks…well, terrible.

  • Barry and his “Hal could do it” moment of total and complete immaturity.

  • Lex is cool and collected until Wonder Woman shows up, and then all of the sudden he dips into “if you want it, then I want it” and gets a bit cheesy.

 

Final thoughts:

So Justice League was part one, JLA was part two, JLD was part three, and JLA is part four? DC is generally pretty good about getting their books out consistently and on time, so this made me scratch my head. Thankfully there’s a big ‘part 4 of 6′ on the cover that made it clear that I hadn’t missed an issue.

I totally just remembered that I bought the Phantom Stranger tie-in issue and forgot to read it.

Of course Barry would look at Baz and point out that “Hal could do it”. Because he’s a twelve year old propping up his best buddy.

The Justice League proper needs a Green Lantern, can they have Baz?

After several issues in a row of making jokes about how Atom can’t stop apologizing and revealing her traitorous nature, and this issue it finally matters. Unfortunately all it does is lead to confusion as, while Rhonda outs herself as being a planet, she fails to bother to acknowledge whether she actually liked her teammates or if it was just a job that felt guilty doing. Why is this important? Because now we have the potential for Element Woman to be all like “you said we aren’t friends”. Really, I’m just glad that the hidden traitor bit is over with. They played the trump card way too early, and with Rhonda being outed as a traitor inside of her first six issues, there was no real chance to build her up and do the “OMGWTF” reveal later.

Pandora looks way too much like Zealot for me to accept that Zealot actually exists in the New 52 and totally sucks.

Yeah, like the Phantom Stranger is actually dead. They’ve tried that same swerve in his own book a few times, and I struggle to understand why these people would have given him immortal punishment, and then later he would have been granted a mission from a higher power, if he’s capable of just being killed.

Just like how he makes the revelation that Madame Xanadu is still alive. No shit, she’s (also) immortal. Her shop got blown up with her inside, I imagine she dealt with a million times worse at any time over the last eight hundred years.

Marvel should read this story arc and take notes on how to write an event. Relatively self contained, no one shots, no dozen and a half tie-ins (just one, thus far, to my knowledge), and the end result is something very easy to follow. Even with my not reading Justice League Dark for the last six months didn’t hurt my ability to follow along.

Seriously, this has been an incredibly enjoyable read thus far, something I really didn’t expect when they first announced Trinity War. I expected a lot of padding, a lot of fan service, and no real looming threat. Instead we’ve got a well paced story, multiple threats on the horizon, and the continuing feeling that this is only the first step.

I mean, the Secret Society stuff is unfolding at a perfect rate. I can’t wait for Forever Evil.

Overall: 8/10

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