Review: Justice League #2

The superhero slap-fighting continues as DC's premiere superteam feels like it's populated by jerks.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Justice League #2

Man, it's really weird seeing the Justice League running around like a bunch of incompetent boobs.

Yes, this is supposed to be a brand new origin story for DC's premiere team of heroes, showing us Superman and Our Gang getting together in a period of distrust of superhumans who don't even trust each other, but the cognitive dissonance between the storied history of the JLA and the ridiculous idiots slap-fighting each other in Justice League #2 is really difficult to pierce through.

Last issue was nothing but Green Lantern Meets Batman, with Hal Jordan being an insufferable douchebag.  Here, it's mostly Superman fighting Batman and Green Lantern and then the Flash, when Hal calls in Barry Allen for help, because of course the Hal/Barry dynamic is still intact since that is canon Johns likes.  It all feels like the most standard superhero team-up/mix-up boilerplate story when they all fight each other before realizing they're on the same side, which Batman finally figures out.  Then, as soon as they stop fighting, the army shows up, and they all run and hide like they're the Little Rascals and somebody just yelled "Cheese it!  The fuzz!  Meet back at Spanky's mom's house in an hour!" 

Then Parademons show up to murder everybody.  Or at least frag the hell out of Vic Stone to give him reason to become Cyborg. 

I'm generally trying to keep an open mind about all this hopey changey stuff, but something about Geoff Johns' 'comedy of rookies' is trending towards being grating rather than amusing.  Hal's douchebaggery is a little more diluted since he gets to bounce off of Barry, but he's still a complete tool.  Superman comes off as a jerk as well, which really shouldn't ever happen – although that's still pre-reboot thinking, I suppose.  As evidenced in Action Comics so far, Superman is free to be more of a fight-happy aggressor now.  I try to make allowances for the setting and the fact that no one is really born as a shining beacon and moral compass to humanity at large, but it's proving difficult to watch him not be anywhere close to that.  It may just take some more time to get used to, or more issues of George Perez's modern-day Superman (soon to be Dan Jurgens' and Keith Giffen's Superman). 

When the Parademons finally do show up, though, it's pretty damn awesome, for a number of reasons – not the least of which is that it finally shuts the bickering super-dorks up.  But more importantly, Jim Lee's savage rendering of Boom Tube functionality is really damn impressive, and it ties Cyborg right into the founding story of the Justice League irrevocably (if there is indeed anything irrevocable about the New 52, which wouldn't be surprising, given how the New 52's job is to prove all the previous irrevocable continuity quite revocable after all).  As noted in the last issue's review, Lee sets the standard for straightforward superhero comics when he's on his game, which he generally is.  Although in this issue, he's got a little bit of the 'sameface' problem, where the same face seems to be on every character, just with different colors and masks and scratchy-looking lines necessary to differentiate them.  Plus, the first page has what appears to be a colossal inking error on the part of Scott Williams, making what's supposed to be the half-shadow face of Barry Allen looking a lot more like some kind of weird cycloptic half-Question.

Hopefully, when #3 comes out, the fact that Parademons are attacking will get things down to brass tacks and less… this.  It's really weird seeing DC ape the Marvel 'fear and distrust' themes they use for most of their heroes and try to apply them to the Justice League, who have traditionally been much more accepted and respected.  It just doesn't feel right.  That might just be a factor of newness and it's worth sticking out this first arc to see, but it could also mean the mark is being missed here.