Friday, 20 March 2015

Justice League Volume 4: The Grid (The New 52) Review


Justice League Volume 4: The Grid (The New 52)

The guy with the Mohawk is dangerous...
Man, remember the 80s?
Writers: Geoff Johns

Artists: Ivan Reis and Jose Prado

Collects: Justice League #18-20 and 22-23

Background Information:

Since their first volume, the Justice League has lost a couple of key members. Green Lantern has decided that he needs to leave the team and Aquaman has left for the sea, leaving the league short a couple of guys.

What’s more, or what’s more important, is the history of Pandora. Every issue one that came out at the New 52’s launch has featured the strange woman in the background somewhere. Reading each issue #1 became akin to a game of Where’s Wally/Waldo (depending on where you live), and this volume will deal with who she is directly.

Review:

All these guys... and they got Element Woman.
Some writers I just don’t “get”.

I mean, Geoff Johns writes a mean Aquaman, an character-defining Green Lantern and I’m chomping at the bit to read his Superman run. His Justice League run though? Spasmodic is the highest praise I can give it. Origin was fair, Villain’s Journey was disappointing, but Throne of Atlantis was excellent. The Grid represents probably the lowest point in Johns’ run. Only five issues long, with mostly filler material before launching into Trinity War, and to be honest, it’s filler I could do without.

Okay, if you really want to know the story, the League has decided that it’s time to open membership to other members. Enter a female version of the Atom (cool), Firestorm (also cool), Zatana (very cool) and… Element Woman (the hey!?).

Let’s start with Element Woman, shall we. I can appreciate DC trying lighten their tone- they’ve been rather dark and grim in the early parts of the New 52- but Element Woman, a purple-haired, blue skin, clowny-kinda girl who’s skin has a rather “rusty” texture, seems a little too much in the other direction and doesn’t really fit. More to the point, I’m not really sure what her powers are, I know she can change the elements in her body, but I’m not really sure what that means. Johns definitely doesn’t give her much opportunity to use her powers. What is more baffling is that the league picked her over Blue Devil, Black Lightning, Black Canary and Vixen- all better choices.

Not to be outdone, Element Woman then becomes the narrator of a whole issue, and isn’t effective in doing so. This is partly because, until now, Justice League never really had a narrator, at least not a superhero as one. The whole thing comes off as Johns trying to force Element Woman down our throats.

This. This is why they shut down MSN messenger.
There is, thankfully, one positive to this volume. Johns takes some time to add some extra drama to Superman/Wonder Woman’s relationship- there’s now a legitimate reason to be concerned about these two together. I won’t spoil it, but it paints Wonder Woman as something more that an ornament for Superman, which I liked. It doesn’t, however, justify the whole volume.

The volume ends with two issues from the Trinity War crossover that I wish wasn’t there. Some of the Villains Month issues would have been far wiser, or maybe, heaven forbid, issue 21!? Instead, the tie-in issues spoil the crossover, giving the beginning and ending of the whole thing.

This is one to skip in favour of getting the Trinity War collection (which in itself, has its flaws, so get the paperback). It gets one and half out of five Element Women- Seriously, why?

* ½

+ Wonder Woman/Superman’s relationship made into interesting drama.

- Element Woman.

- Trinity War issues spoil the actual event.

- Mostly filler-content.

Alternate Option: Justice League: Trinity War

By no means perfect, but better than this mess.