Review: Justice League #32 By Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke & Keith Champagne

Editor’s Note: In addition to the earlier spoilers and capsule review of Justice League #32 found here, Paul Miranda decides to give this book the full review treatment for his sophomore effort with Comics Nexus! For Paul’s inaugural review, Paul told us what he felt about Superman #33 here.

Justice League #32 Review

Story by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Doug Mahnke and Keith Champagne
Colors by: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters by: Nick J. Napolitano
Cover by: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rob Reis, Howard Porter and HiFi
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

One thing that really irks me as a reader: the lateness of books. Geoff Johns writes some solid stories but to his managerial duties at DC, the readers suffer while time elapses until the book hits the shelves.

That being said, despite being almost two months late, JUSTICE LEAGUE #32 is an enjoyable read. What stands out the most this issue is the spotlight on the Doom Patrol, first mentioned in #24 before one line-up was revealed in #27 and then a full-fledged cameo in #30. To put it quite bluntly: Prof. Niles Calder is such a douche!!!

I’ll come back to that point shortly. “Birth” as the title is a bit misleading especially with the full page spread of a very pregnant Superwoman (from the Crime Syndicate) sitting against the wall humming ‘Mama’s Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird’. I thought we’d actually get to see her produce her offspring but she obviously hasn’t reached full term yet. Great tease on your part, Geoff!! Let the subplots simmer as the main story pushes forward. Nice little info on Superwoman and the fate of her teammates via the Justice League files.

There’s a sucker born every minute. Someone wet behind the ears. A babe in the woods. This could not be more evident in Element Woman. The newly introduced character had a very short stint with the League thanks to the events of Forever Evil. Nothing tragic happened to her since she is found encased in a globe being chastised by Prof. Caulder. Niles’ harsh tone and condescending manner is a brilliant contrast to Emily’s (Element Woman) naïveté and innocence. Whereas Emily sees the good and wonderful in the team, especially since she practically gushes upon meeting Rita Starr (Elasti-Girl), Niles sees the negative aspects of the ‘freaks’ and shuts down her observations and comments at every turn. Niles has a lot of nerve equating himself to the ‘freaks’ by telling Emily that they belong together, isolated in a lab, accepting each other’s appearances. The guy looks perfectly ‘normal’ to me!!

By its very name, the Doom Patrol doesn’t have a long life expectancy as a team. This was the case with the various incarnations before the New 52 and is the case now as was shown in issues #24 and #27 prior to this issue. Hence, the tragedy of each team member is spotlighted as Niles introduces Emily to his ‘freak show’. Former NASCAR driver Cliff Steele hates being called Robotman. Former pilot Captain Larry Trainor is grateful that the Chief saved him from an otherwise non-existence. Lastly, former actress Rita Starr (get it?) to me is the ‘face’ of Botox. I couldn’t help but laugh when Element Woman says “I love your smile…But you can stop now if you want.” Niles really drives it home that Emily is exactly where she belongs “with her own kind”. Ugh!! Talk about divisiveness!

Next up: Power Ring version 2.0 Geoff Johns really packs quite a lot of story in just 20 pages. At this point in time, it is unclear whether Jessica Cruz will become a villain falling under the influence of Volthoom, the First Lantern or a hero. I say the latter since she is struggling valiantly to shake off the ring and runs away from the fire she caused by warning Element Woman to run. Prof. Caulder really has a major chip on his shoulder. He resents the grandstanding of the League and can’t contain his anger when they arrive on the scene. He is such a callous bastard to let innocent lives perish while they attempt to take down Power Ring. Element Woman stays true to her goodness by blocking Niles’ bullets.
Cue the tape for another subplot. Cyborg manages to hack Volthoom’s ring thanks to Shazam’s magic lightning (I still don’t know how that works since it’s not technological) and is told of a destroy of worlds. Geoff Johns tweeted earlier today (July 31st) that “The Darkseid War is coming”. There you go! Zip! Boom! Bah! Superwoman’s child is mentioned in that this destroyer (Darkseid) will need him/her for some evil purpose. I especially liked the playful banter between Cyborg and Shazam as Geoff is determined in showing them as bosom buddies.

The very last page had me going “WHAT?!?” It was a very effective cliffhanger. Apparently, Lex Luthor and Niles Caulder have a past history and not a good one since Lex threatens to put a hole in Niles’s spine (foreshadowing!!) with his powered-up gauntlet.

OH! I forgot to mention yet another little subplot: Lex hires Captain Cold to be head of security at Lexcorp. Where that will take this particular character remains to be seen.

Doug Mahnke is a perennial favourite of Geoff Johns and one of his continuous artists. Doug’s art has vastly improved since his time on GREEN LANTERN but the faces he draws all seem somewhat misshapen with the sunken eyes. Lex’ forehead seems abnormally large, emphasizing his baldness more than usual making his actual face seem smaller.

All in all, I rate this 9 out of 10 Justice League Trouble Alerts!

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