Tuesday, January 24, 2012

JUSTICE LEAGUE #2

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Associate Editor: Rex Ogle
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Synopsis

A “misunderstanding” between Superman, Batman and Green Lantern turns into an all-out brawl in the middle of Metropolis that is quickly joined by the Flash.  The quartet of heroes soon realizes that they are all on the same side and must put aside their differences to deal with an invading horsed of Parademons.  Meanwhile, Victor Stone’s argument with his father at S.T.A.R. Labs is interrupted by a Parademon attack which leaves Victor horribly injured…





Notes

Page 1:  First appearance of the Flash.  Historical first appearance in Showcase #4.  Real name Bartholomew Henry “Barry” Allen.  Due to his connection to the Speed Force, able to move and think at superhuman speed as well as control the vibration of his molecules. 

As with Batman, this post-Flashpoint version of the Flash technically first appeared in Flashpoint #5, but since this story chronologically takes place before that one, I have named this issue as his “First Appearance.” 

First appearance of David Singh.  Historical first appearance in The Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 #1.  Director of the Central City crime lab. 

“This man was a husband and a father, Director Singh.  Don’t let him become a cold case.”  In The Flash: Rebirth, it was revealed that Barry’s mother Nora was murdered when he was a child and his father Henry was arrested for the crime.  Barry believed that his father was innocent, and later learned that is was Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, who had killed his mother.  Barry returned to work at the Central City crime lab, working on cold cases. 

This all applied to the pre-Flashpoint Flash; how much of this continuity applies to the current Flash remains to be seen, but one can assume that, at this point in his career, Barry is still working to prove his father’s innocence and doesn’t know about Thawne’s involvement in his mother’s death. 

Note that Barry's face is partially obscured, as if hiding his identity as the Flash. 


Pages 2-3:  The battle between Superman and Batman isn't going well for the Dark Knight.  No matter what Batman throws at Superman the Man of Steel doesn't slow down.  Obviously, Batman doesn't have a chunk of Kryptonite in his arsenal at this point in time. 

Page 4:  “I was attacked earlier by someone with one of these boxes.”  The “box” in question is a Mother Box; Batman and Green Lantern recovered one of them in Gotham City in Justice League #1. 

This “attack” occurred before Batman and Green Lantern arrived in Metropolis at the end of Justice League #1.

“A friend of yours, I assume?”  Not exactly, Superman.  Those were Parademons, one of which had a bit of a scuffle with Batman and Green Lantern that ended in said Parademon erupting in a big ball of flame.  Quite spectacular, really. 

The New 52 Superman is a bit more ruthless and hands-on than his pre-Flashpoint counterpart, at least in his early years. I think he's mellowed out a bit.

Page 5:  “Both of you, hold on -- !”  Batman is emerging as the voice of reason within this group of heroes. 

Pages 6-7:  This two-page spread of Superman breaking Green Lantern’s ring-generated chains reminds me of the cover to Superman (first series) #233.  (Cover from comicbookdb.com)

This little brawl between Superman, Batman and Green Lantern really gives the Man of Steel a chance to shine.  Too often in the past few years, Superman has been shown as a bit of a weakling, especially in group scenarios.  He’s been easily incapacitated and taken out of battle so that other heroes have had the opportunity to justify their importance.  See past issues of Justice League of America and episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited for examples of this.  It’s good to see Superman flexing his muscles, as he did in “Destroyer,” the final episode of Justice League Unlimited, in which he had a massive, city-wide throw down with Darkseid. 




Page 8:  

Note how the small, ring-generated blocks come together to form a bubble around Batman and Green Lantern.  Usually we just seem the whole bubble form; is it shown in this manner because Green Lantern's concentration has been broken?

The presence of cell phones just underscores the fact that this story takes place in a contemporary setting. 

Page 9:  “You need to focus here, Lantern!  You stop concentrating again and that shield’s going to break apart.”  In Justice League #1, Batman mentioned to Green Lantern that he had researched Superman’s power levels.   Apparently, he has done the same with Green Lantern himself. 

“Batman’s real?”  As mentioned in the annotations for Justice League #1, Batman is regarded by most as an urban legend, even by other heroes. 

“What’d you do?”  Barry seems to know Hal well enough to know that he can be a pompous jerk at times. 

“We beat up a talking gorilla and saved Central City.”  The “gorilla” in question is probably Gorilla Grodd, a hyper-intelligent, telepathic gorilla with the power to control the minds of others.  Note that Green Lantern and the Flash did this the last time they teamed up; it wasn’t necessarily the first time they joined forces.  It’s cool to see that their friendship has carried over into the New 52 DC Universe. 

Page 10:  And now the Flash joins the fun…

Page 11:  “I think this is a big misunderstanding.”  This remind me of a 1960s  Marvel Comic in which two heroes would have an obligatory fight before teaming up to battle a villain. 

It's probably not a good idea to taunt Superman like that...

Page 12:  Like Green Lantern, the Flash is a bit cocky and untested.  He has yet to actually meet someone who can hit him, until he meets Superman, that is. 

“Ow.”  Imagine if he had hit you with more than his finger, Flash. 

Page 13:  Batman has taken on the role of mediator between all of these alpha personalities. 

“Are we still fighting?”  Somehow, the fastest man alive is just two steps behind in the conversation.

Page 14:  “I’m not a vigilante.  I don’t want to get lumped into this.”  It’s funny that, despite the fact that he has the entire Central City Police Department after him, the Flash doesn’t see himself as working outside the law, as the others do. 

“I never break the law.”  I would imagine that wearing a mask and operating outside of the control of the police would constitute breaking the law in Central City. 

“The military.  That means Lex Luthor won’t be far behind.”  As seen in Action Comics, Luthor was working with the U.S. military to capture and study Superman. 

“Not a fan of Lex Luthor either?”  Batman’s (or Bruce Wayne’s) involvement with Lex Luthor in the New 52 has yet to be documented. 

“No one’s like me.”  An example of how alien the New 52 Superman feels, even among a group of heroes like these.

Page 15Detroit is Victor Stone’s hometown; it was also Cyborg’s base of operations in Flashpoint

“It was recovered from the wreckage of Superman’s battle earlier this morning.”  But Batman and Green Lantern seemingly arrived in Metropolis shortly after Superman’s battle with the Parademon, so how did S.T.A.R. Labs get the Mother Box from Metropolis to Detroit so quickly? 

First appearance of Dr. Silas Stone.  Historical first appearance in The New Teen Titans #7.  Research scientist for S.T.A.R. Labs.

First appearance of Sarah Charles.  Historical first appearance in Tales of the Teen Titans #57.  A S.T.A.R. Labs intern. 

First appearance of S.T.A.R. Labs, or The Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Laboratories.  Historical first appearance in Superman (first series) #246.  It is a chain of privately-run research facilities located across the United States

“And we’ve found similar broadcasting coming from New England, Washington, D.C., Central City and Coast City.”  Those areas being the bases of operation for Aquaman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and Green Lantern respectively. 

Pages 16-17:  Victor and Silas have a little heart-to-heart.  Silas doesn’t exactly deserve the “Father of the Year” award, now does he?

Page 18:  “An abandoned printing press?”  Did this printing press belong to the Daily Planet or the Daily Star?  Or some other Metropolis newspaper?

“You don’t wear a mask so apparently you have no identity to protect.”  Batman can’t seem to fathom the simplicity of Superman’s disguise, or lack thereof.

“You can see through things.”  It’s hero-bonding time, in which we all learn a little bit about each other and our powers…

“Most of the time.”  Except for lead, of course.

Batman's "super-power" is that he can hold his own with this group of aliens, meta-humans and intergalactic defenders.  

Page 19:  “You sound like a cop.”  The Flash and Batman are finding some common ground upon which to work.

PING PING PING”  It’s never good when Mother Boxes begin “PING”ing like that.

Pages 20-21:  Those “BOOOOOOM”ing sound effects mean that those portals are Boom Tubes, the way in which the New Gods travel from their dimension to ours. 

And that’s a whole mess of Parademons waltzing through those Boom Tubes right now. 

“For Darkseid!”  They don’t seem to say much more than that, do they?

Page 22:  Ouch.  Poor Victor.  That looks like it hurts…

Pages 23-26:  Filling out the extra pages is this transcript of an interview conducted by Amanda Waller with Captain Steve Trevor.  Waller is the head of the Suicide Squad, while Trevor has been assigned to be Wonder Woman’s government liaison during her stay in Washington, D.C.  Some interesting notes from the transcript…

Page 24:  Trevor was involved in something called Operation: Pandora’s Box, but no details are mentioned.

He was sent into a storm to rescue a missing U.S. Coast Guard ship, but he claims that there was no ship to begin with.   He seems to think that he was sent into the storm so that he would “accidentally” arrive on Paradise Island

Page 25:  Trevor claims that Wonder Woman cannot (at that point in time) return to Paradise Island.  Obviously, given the events in here current series, that problem was rectified. 

As we will see in the next issue, the New 52 Wonder Woman doesn’t have a problem with violence against those who harm others.

Page 26:  “They’re saying Superman’s an alien, right?”  They are, in the pages of Action Comics.

Waller questions Trevor about Aquaman, whom we will meet next issue.

Waller also talks about some people who have reportedly been abducted and “tested” by a wizard to see if they were worthy of “Shazam.”  This is a hint to the upcoming “The Curse of Shazam!” back-up feature beginning in Justice League #7.

“Who’s David Graves?”  As Waller explains, he has written dozen books about the mysteries of the world.  An excerpt from one of his books appears as a back-up next issue. 

Pages 27-28:  Sketchbook of Batman’s new costume.  Concept art by Cully Hamer, design by Jim Lee. 

Overall, I like this new design more than any other.  The only thing that really irks me are the three lines that branch off from his bat chest emblem.  I don’t mind the recessed details lines that run up and down his torso, but what’s the deal with those random lines?

Pages 29-30:  Sketchbook of Superman’s new costume.  Concept art by Cully Hamner, design by Jim Lee. 

As much as I love Superman’s classic look, I don’t mind this new design.  I’m still waiting for the in-story explanation for why a super-powered Kryptonian needs battle armor under a yellow sun, but I’m sure that is forthcoming…

As a side note, I got to meet Cully Hamner at this year’s New York Comic Con, and got to spend several minutes chatting with him as he sketched.  Not only is he a fantastic artist, but he was a very friendly guy and I hope to see more of his work on a New 52 book in the near future. 

3 comments:

Kent G. Hare said...

Just want to stop by and say I really enjoy reading your in-depth commentary on Justice League related stuff. Good work!

Andrew Dowdell... said...

Thanks for the feedback! I just got back into this after a few months off, so I appreciate the kind words. Send your friends!

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