Justice League #7: A Kick In the Junk

The lackluster origin tale is done, so it was starting to get on the right track... and then comes the Shazam backup story. Owch.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker


Up until now, Geoff Johns' and Jim Lee's Justice League has been a comedy of errors, starting with annoying people who are supposed to be "heroes" having slapfights and lame arguments, until the alien warlord showed up and immediately fart-bombed everybody. Just a completely laughable mess with mere flashes of coolness. Aquaman kicked a little ass, but Green Lantern was a douche, Batman was inexplicable, Superman was a non-entity, Flash was lame and Wonder Woman was one giggly sneeze away from My Stepmother Is An Alien. Now, at last, in Justice League #7, the origin story is over, and we're in the present day, and Johns finally gives us a character we actively like – and that guy is Steve Trevor, government liaison to the Justice League.

It's five years after the putz parade we've just waded through, and the only hope was that when we finally got to the present day, maybe Hal Jordan wouldn't be such a colossal, unending, relentlessly annoying big fat sack of Massengill, but alas, he remains the same. I swear to the New Gods that I never wanted Hal Jordan dead before he came back to life. Now, he can never get off-panel fast enough. He is quite literally the least interesting Green Lantern ever, and while he's supposed to be comic relief here by remaining the cocky jackass he was five years ago and annoying Batman to no end, but he annoys the reader just as much, if not more.

Steve Trevor seems like the only one in this entire mix who isn't an idiot, and it makes us realize how goddamned refreshing it is to have ONE PERSON WHO IS NOT AN IDIOT in this book. Trevor is the levelheaded badass who can keep the government off of the League's back by using the threat of them going rogue against paranoid senators seeking to controll them. While it's fairly stupid that, apparently, the public sentiment is that the Justice League should take over the American government and solve everything, Trevor seems to realize it's stupid, too. Then, when conferring with the idiots of the Justice League and listening to Jordan bicker with Batman like it's a bad sitcom, he realizes that's stupid, too. Finally, we have a point man in this ridiculous circus.

Steve Trevor is the best character in Justice League after seven issues. That should tell you all you need to know about this series. But it doesn't.  Because Justice League #7 begins the story of the New 52 version of Billy Batson, by Johns and Gary Frank.

And Billy Batson is a little asshole.

Let me say that again. Billy Batson is an asshole.

That's right. Reinvention for the sake of nothing more than reinvention, and the one kid you could trust to do the right thing, to be the good kid who defied pop culture convention and was just a heart-on-his-sleeve tug-at-the-heartstrings young man on the up and up – that kid is now a little dickhead manipulator, calling his newfound foster family idiots as soon as they turn their back, and snarling at his caretaker with pride that he's an unpleasant little snot. Great. One more character in this book we don't like – and it's historically the most likable character ever. Sure, he's being set up to 'learn a big lesson,' but we instantly don't give a good goddamn about him anymore. Oh, and Dr. Sivana is now a burly guy whose only difference in appearance from Lex Luthor is his glasses and a slightly more pronounced sneer.

Justice League #7 finally gives us a breath of reasonably fresh air – or rather, the fresh air of reason – and then kicks us right square in the junk. As it would with anybody, it leaves us mentally growling a long stream of cuss words. Maybe tomorrow I'd be more reasonable and less profane about my opinions, after I've had time to find an ice pack and catch my breath, but right now, it's nothing but anger.

At least the art's good. But the time has come to give Geoff Johns nothing to do but Aquaman.