Saturday, 8 March 2014

Justice League Vol. 2: Villain's Journey (The New 52)


Justice League Vol. 2: Villain’s Journey (The New 52)

When face with a threat, The Flash makes
stupid faces!
Writer: Geoff Johns

Artists: Jim Lee and Scott Williams

Collects: Justice League  #7-12

Background Information:

It’s the fourth and final in our Geoff Johns week!

The last volume of Justice League saw the league form no so much out of a desire for justice, but in order to stop the public from hating them. For those not in the know, this iteration of the team consists of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. Last time we saw them, they took on the galactic evil-dude known as Darkseid and won, earning the world’s trust, even though they don’t really trust each other.

Review:

The last volume, Origin, was fun, but in the end, it was mostly popcorn-munching stuff. Hardly a deep story, I compared it pretty heavily to Marvel’s Avengers film back from 2012. In Villain’s Jorney, Geoff Johns offers much of the same, but unfortunately, as readers, we’re ready for something meatier.

By now, the Justice League is adored by the whole world. There are many civilians calling for them to lead the US government. They believe that the League could put on a united front and fix every political problem in the world. The League, however, are at best overvalued in reality. They still do not trust each other, even though they work together better than they used to. And they haven’t yet become actual good guys. And now, a man by the name of David Graves is out to show the world just how unheroic these heroes really are.

I’m pretty sure every superhero franchise ever created has had a story like this. I can think of two Batman movies and a Spider-Man videogame that have had the “make the public hate the hero” storyline. The difference here, though, is that Graves isn’t trying to lie to the public; the league are not yet united and they aren’t able to fix everything.

It sounds like the story is going to offer plenty of depth, but don’t be fooled. This is another fairly shallow plot in reality. That was fine in a book like Origin, where we were just getting used to the team and were probably more interested in what the team was capable of than in complex storytelling, but the status quo in Justice League has already been established. Johns should have offered something a little deeper for this second story, and as such, the whole book feels pretty dismissible.

And that’s even considering the Wonder Woman/Superman kiss at the end of the trade (I’d give a spoiler warning, but it was advertised like crazy when it happened- that isn’t a spoiler). I’m not too concerned that there was little substance given to the moment- even though Superman and Wonder Woman barely exchange a word before they meet on the rooftop and then make out. I’m not even that keen on a Wonder Woman/Batman relationship. To me, the only person in the DCU that could be considered “Alpha Male” enough for Wonder Woman would be Superman, so the relationship makes perfect sense. But that’s the part that bothered me. There was nothing that seemed adventurous about the kiss; nothing that seemed like it would be a defining moment because I’m pretty convinced most new reads thought it was happening anyway. As such, it’s hard to really care about the kiss at all. I was actually more interested in what happened to Green Lantern at the end of this collection.

The art is just as good here. Jim Lee now shares writing duties with Scott Williams, but honestly, I couldn’t see any drop in quality. There are all of those trademark “big moments” that the last volume did so well. It’s great to look at and Johns gives Lee and Williams plenty of awesome things to draw.

By the time you start reading Villains Journey, you realise that you are done with stories of this calibre. The third volume in this series is supposed to be spectacular, but this one only gets three out of five over-advertised kisses.

 ***

+ Story is a clever idea

+ Art is still really good

- It’s still too shallow- we need depth by the second volume

Alternate Option: Teen Titans: Its our Right to Fight

Okay, so it’s hard to really recommend this, but if you want another team book, this one also has some big-name heroes. They’re just younger.