When last we left Justice League, it had been firmly established as a comedy of errors, first with Geoff Johns making the hotly-anticipated reboot nothing more than annoying douchebaggery and interpersonal slapfights, and then Jim Lee providing us with the stunningly inexplicable Fart of Darkness heralding the final arrival of Darkseid. Seriously, it's all in the facial expression.
So now that the bad guy is here and the whole team is assembled, maybe now we can pretend the previous four issues didn't happen and start with the big slam-bang throwdown we'd hoped to see since New 52 Day One. And in Justice League #5, it starts off well – with Flash being the only guy left awake after the FoD, and having to outrun Darkseid's Omega Beams – which he manages to do, and which Superman doesn't, quickly getting the big guy captured. Then, Hal Jordan goes apeshit trying to go one on one with the big ugly alien overlord, getting beat down hard, only to keep coming back until Darkseid finally breaks his arm.
But, sadly, it seems not one issue of this series can go by without something groanworthy happening, and in this case, it's Batman pointlessly revealing his secret identity to Jordan, who has been nothing but a bull-headed loud-mouthed idiot up to this point. My only guess is that, apparently, that head-butting sequence with Darkseid was supposed to have been fearless enough to impress Batman and prompt some secret sharing, but it comes off as completely forced and pretty ludicrous. What's more, Batman takes his cape and chest-insignia off (why is that removable?) and then runs off AS BRUCE WAYNE to go get himself captured by the demons who are capturing everybody. What? Why? SECRET IDENTITIES ARE SECRET AND YOU ARE BATMAN. WHAT.
At least Lee's back in form, despite last issue's misstep, although there's some weird irony to note in the fact that Rob Liefeld has tried so hard to be Jim Lee and failed so miserably and publicly that, when Lee actually goes to draw the angry face, it reminds you of Liefeld and undercuts its effectiveness. That's right, Liefeld sucks so bad he can torpedo comics he didn't even work on.
I don't know what it's going to finally take to get me to drop this title. I feel like there's some journalistic need to keep following it, at least until this first 'here's how we got together' arc mercifully ends, but this series isn't good. It's fair to middling, and that's sad, because it's supposed to be the damn flagship.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 6/10