Justice League #23
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Eber Ferreira, and Rod Reis
The short of it:
It all began five years ago, when the League took on Darkseid and won. Holes in reality had opened up, nothing new, it’s how Power Girl and Huntress came over from Earth 2. The thing is, they weren’t the only ones, as the man who would be The Outsider came over from another Earth as well, along with someone else by his side. Over the last five years, while the League has saved the world, he has been acting and planning and working for the return of his Master. All he needs is Pandora’s Box, something that he knows far better than the heroes how to use.
But hey, first things first, Constantine has the Box and some Leaguer’s, and they’re in Greece trying to figure out what to do with it…when the rest show up. Angry, influenced, and ready to kill over possession of the mythical skull box. Everyone is pissed and under the spell, everyone is out for blood. Constantine loses the box, but Batman gets it and knocks out Simon Baz for it before Superman joins in. Everyone is mad, everyone wants people dead, even Superman wants to kill Batman rather than risk Wonder Woman hooking up with him. The anger isn’t justified, obviously, but it all goes away when the box quiets down and goes dormant. But Superman is still sick…because the Box isn’t making him sick. Kryptonite is. Kryptonite jammed into his brain by the traitor that the Outsider stuck into the Justice League.
Not to be a one trick pony, however, our traitor reveals a second one. Cyborg. Well, no, not Cyborg, his cybernetic parts. Which viciously expels what’s left of Vic’s body from the machine now known as The Grid. And now, with that distraction in place, The Outsider finally gets the Box…which he opens. Something only someone from his world can do, from a world that birthed evil. The Box opens a portal, and through it walks 90’s Aquaman with a hook, long hair, and a beard…but he dies pretty much instantly.
The Trinity isn’t what anybody expected. It wasn’t Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. It wasn’t Pandora, Question, and Phantom Stranger. Hell, it wasn’t even the Justice League, Justice League Dark, and JLA. It’s the number three, Earth Three.
The Crime Syndicate is here. Bring on the Evil.
What I liked:
There were some great flashback scenes in this issue. From the one panel fight with Darkseid to Starro to who I presume to be Kanjar Ro, and all the way to Ivo and Amazo. All stories I would love to read.
The ‘birth’ of Grid was positively brutal. I can’t imagine a way where Vic could really survive it. I mean, he will, but man, that was just nasty.
Sea King! 90’s Aquaman! Even with the purple shirt instead of the bare chest, it’s still the most badass that Aquaman has looked in ages!
The call back splash page, the big fight that was so familiar from the New 52 FCBD issue, was a great touch. I mean, yes, they kinda had to do it because they’ve already shown it to be a moment that happens, but look at it closely. How much really changed between the original teaser and the event? A few cosmetic tweaks and a few more characters, but this was 99% the same scene we were shown well over a year and a half ago. Kudos to those involved for not shaking things up to an unrecognizable degree.
Have I called Ivan and company a group of stud artists lately? Because even if this book wasn’t a phenomenal read, it would be worth the price of admission just for the art. This book is the epitome of big time. It’s exactly what Justice League should be.
Owlman is Thomas Wayne! Yay for not being Evil Bruce!
What I didn’t like:
How many times has Simon Baz been reminded that he isn’t Hal Jordan during this six issue story? His entire role in Trinity War has been to ‘not be Hal Jordan’.
Nobody knows what Kryptonite poisoning looks like? Has Superman never had it before?
J’onn as Mera felt…forced? Aquaman didn’t get enough screen time for the ruse to have any real effect, especially when Mera hadn’t been seen yet.
Owlman’s chest logo looks so dumb.
Alright, you got me Geoff, I didn’t see that heel turn coming. I should have! It should have been obvious with how hard it was being played off that Atom didn’t mean to be a bad guy! Of course she was evil all along! That’s a great swerve!
Though, I do have to say, she does her big “I’m evil” confession on Cyborg’s shoulder, and nobody does anything. I know he got turned into Grid pretty much immediately after, but this girl just admitted horrible evilness to you. Nobody does anything?
If I was Superman I wouldn’t even need an evil box of magical paranoia to make me question if Wonder Woman is going to leave me for Batman. He’s BATMAN!
The masked prisoner is Earth 3 Lex Luthor.
I love how Power Ring has zero confidence at all. He’s Hal’s opposite, and Hal is pure confidence and swagger, so he should be scared of his own shadow.
Deathstorm was the coolest thing to come out of Brightest Day, and one of the few things I was annoyed were dropped by that series when the New 52 hit. The design isn’t as cool as that Black Lantern Firestorm look, but it’s still not so bad. I can dig it.
Maybe it’s just me, but whenever Bleeding Cool goes out of their way to spoil the crap out of an event at Marvel, that event tends to lose any and all oomph. Like, there’s no fun at all if you know the direction the book is heading in. That hasn’t been the case with DC, because we’ve all known that the CSA would be debuting here to lead into Forever Evil, and despite knowing it was coming, the moment still managed to absolutely make the issue. Geoff took a well known spoiler and didn’t deliver it as a ‘well, you know it’s coming, so here it is’. He still made it matter, and now I’m more hyped for Forever Evil than I had been to date.
This is the book that DC envisioned when they launched Justice League with Geoff Johns writing it. It’s larger than life, has no troubles being blockbuster huge, and the pacing is spot on. It went from the overhyped book that was never going to live up to its own potential, to completely blowing any and all expectations out of the water. This is what Justice League should be.
BRING ON FOREVER EVIL!
Tags: DC Comics, forever evil, Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Justice League, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Superman, Trinity War