Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Justice League, Volume 6: Injustice League Review (Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis)


Spoilsies ahead!

Remember how the last volume ended? The Justice League were gone, the Crime Syndicate ruled the world, and Cyborg and the Metal Men were about to take the fight to the villains.

Cut to the opening of this volume: the Crime Syndicate have been defeated, the Justice League are back, and Lex Luthor is a hero. Wha happen? If you just read this series’ volumes, you wouldn’t know. You have to have read Forever Evil in between Justice League Volumes 5 and 6. I think most readers of Justice League would’ve read Forever Evil anyway but still... Justice League remains this weird dumping ground for extraneous issues making it very inconsistent.

So Lex is a hero and for some reason he wants to join the Justice League who are rightly suspicious. This storyline occupies a large segment of the book. The Justice League know Lex is working a subversive angle, Lex knows he’s faking being a hero, the reader knows Lex is faking - so why is there so much space dedicated to this pointless story?! It’s not interesting to read!

Besides Lex, Captain Cold and Shazam are now part of the League but there’s no discussion over their joining - they just seemingly show up at the Watchtower (which is miraculously rebuilt in no time) and everyone’s fine with it. Captain Cold - seriously? Nobody thinks he’s not up to something either?

Most of the Crime Syndicate were wiped out but some are still hanging around and the mysterious threat that wiped out their world in Earth-3 is still coming for this Earth - though that’s only background noise in this book. Superwoman’s in jail but preggers and crazy and Power Ring goes looking for a new host - a scared (and boring) woman called Jessica Cruz. Forever Evil’s stink is not going away just yet!

Geoff Johns gives the Doom Patrol some more pages in this book but writes them pretty poorly so they don’t come off as a very fun group. We do however see one of the rare occasions where the Justice League are actually saving people instead of fighting each other.

The second and final storyline in this book sees Neutron unleash the Amazo virus from Lex’s lab turning every Tom, Dick and Harry into a superhero zombie. Except most of the Justice League are taken out and it’s up to the trinity - Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman - along with Lex, to save the day. So it’s yet another Justice League story where only part of the Justice League are involved.

Amazo’s able to manipulate the powers of the superheroes he encounters so when he fights Superman, he can fly, use heat vision, etc. When he fights Batman he… sprouts giant bat wings?! Batman isn’t an actual bat, man! The superhero zombie crap also gives us page after page of bad clich├ęd dialogue, “You cannot stop us”, etc.

Captain Cold’s character design shifts with the rotating roster of artists, Doug Mahnke, Jason Fabok and Ivan Reis. In one issue Cold looks like a skinny teen, in the next he looks like Duke Nukem with lamer shades. Also, Power Ring’s logo looks like a four leaf clover for some reason!

I didn’t totally hate the book - Power Ring runs on fear and seeing Batman, who models his look on that emotion, talking Jessica into controlling her fear was good. Wonder Woman vs the zombie league was cool. And while I felt the book was overlong at 10 issues (the volume collects Justice League #30-39), I’m sure fans will appreciate getting two complete story arcs in one volume rather than just one or one and a bit (to be concluded in some other volume).

Despite specific problems with the book, my biggest was just a lack of interest. I didn’t care about seeing Lex joining the League or seeing a few of them fighting Amazo. Some fans might love it though - it just wasn’t for me. And this series has had worse volumes like Volume 3, which replicated a lot of Aquaman Volume 3, and Volume 4, which was a collection of random storylines.

In the end, Justice League, Volume 6: Injustice League is a bit too dull for my taste. Geoff Johns is running low on ideas and energy at this point and it’s probably best if somebody else steps in to give the title a shot in the arm.

Justice League, Volume 6: Injustice League

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