Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
I remember the criticism for the first Justice League issue being that the story was too decompressed, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee decided to focus the story more on introducing the characters and personality of Hal/Green Lantern and Bruce/Batman instead of just throwing the team together. While I actually liked the focus in the first issue, the assumption was that the duo would slowly add new members to the team. Sadly, that plan kind of falls to the wayside in issue 3.
Issue 3 of Justice League starts off with an introduction of Wonder Woman. No real build-up, no tease at the end of the last issue, nope it just starts off with Wonder Woman in Washington, D.C. I don’t hate this segment, and we actually get a fun moment with Wonder Woman, a little girl and an ice cream vendor. But it just stands out because it really curbs any momentum built from the end of issue 2, by starting in a different location with a new character. Eventually, the story does tie in when the Harpy Wonder Woman was chasing turns out to be one of Darkseid’s minions.
We then cut back to Detroit to pick up on the Vic/Cyborg storyline that has been running through the first two issues. At the end of issue 2, Vic was in bad condition, and his father with the help of Dr. Morrow, look to save Vic before the virus or whatever kills him from the inside. Lucky enough for Vic, his father happens to work in a lab with experimental technology that could prove to be the key to his survival! I will note here, I LOVE the visual near the end of the issue when Vic is becoming Cyborg while also sharing the page with the latest emergence to the series. It was a fantastic visual delight!
Finally, we come to the story that has been dominating the page of the comic for the first two issues, and that’s Batman, Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern taking on the parademons. And much like the first two issues, I think the personality and dynamic between these heroes is what really shines. I love Hal’s reminder to Batman that he has no powers, and The Flash’s reactions about believing him to be a vampire. I love how Batman notices Hal’s lack of concentration based on how weak his constructs are coming out.
The real star of the segment though is Superman, who actually doesn’t say much, but is really able to stretch his wings sort to speak. Being the strongest member of the team, it seems like Johns/Lee were intent on showing exactly what that meant in the first arc. He handles a dozen or more parademons in some interesting ways that even has Hal jealous.
The plot lines start to converge on each other when Wonder Woman apparently chases Parademons from Washington, D.C to Metropolis. To be fair, I don’t know how far those two are in the new 52 so maybe its a shorter journey than I imagine, who knows!
The real hook, of course, is we finally see the face behind the mysterious threat our heroes have been facing, as Darkseid makes his first appearance in the series. Oddly, that isn’t the cliffhanger as we have a new “captain” for the team.
I’ve said it with the first two issues, and I’ll say it again, Jim Lee has been on the top of his game with this series. This is perhaps some of his best work to date, and while I’m actually kind of iffy on the number of splash pages used in this comic, the art still stands out. I mentioned the scene with Vic earlier, so I will mention something else that stood out to me. I don’t know if its customary, and I’ll probably be looking now, but I just found it odd that you can see Barry’s eyebrows through his costume. I always assumed a mask covered most of your facial features, but there they were blond eyebrows just poking out.
New Reader Accessibility: 3– It seems that these scores run inversely with the issue number, and it kind of makes sense. As more issues come out, the creative teams sees fit to build on ideas, characters and settings already introduced. There are some things namely Vic’s condition, and the Parademons that make much more sense if you’ve read the prior 2 issues, but aside from that, very little will confuse or baffle you.
Recommendation: Borrow It– Originally, I wanted to go with a pass, but as I wrote the review, I realized there is a lot to like in this comic. My biggest personal beef is that there are really 3-4 storylines running throughout the issue, and its rather compressed for having so much going on while the first two were such slow burns. It feels like they could have introduced several of these ideas early and built on them in this issue instead of forcing everything to happen here.
That said, it is a fine issue with some solid art.