Tuesday, February 28, 2012

JUSTICE LEAGUE #5


Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin & Joe Weems
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

Darkseid is here, and no one, not even Earth’s greatest heroes, can stand up to him.  After Parademons abduct a fallen Superman, Green Lantern attacks Darkseid, only to have his arm broken.  In a last ditch effort, Batman reveals his identity to Green Lantern and instructs him to rally the rest of the heroes while he tries to save the Man of Steel.  But after traveling through a Boom Tube, Batman finds himself overlooking the fire pits of Apokolips…

Notes

Just an overall note – the art on this issue was far inferior to that of the four previous issues, presumably because there were four separate inkers as opposed to one.  The first few pages looked great, but most of the issue looked rushed, with the artwork appearing sketchy.  Please, Scott Williams, come back…

Page 1:  

An example of Darkseid's Omega Effect.
Page 2:  I just want to point out that Darkseid looks a whole lot more imposing without the loincloth he sported for thirty years.

“I’m not that good at making chitchat.”  Don’t sell yourself short, Flash.  You might not be as good a chitchatter as Green Lantern, but you’re ten times better than Batman.

Page 3:  


And thus begins the first, unofficial Superman-Flash race of the New 52 DCU.  
































Past races took place in...

Superman (first series) #199
The Flash (first series) #175




World's Finest Comics #198-199
The Adventures of Superman #463
DC Comics Presents #1-2




















All covers from comicbookdb.com.


Page 4:  “His beams are locked on us, Flash!”  Darkseid’s Omega Effect beams track and follow a target wherever they might go until they hit.

“You’re moving fast, Barry.  Think fast.”  Barry has begun “thinking fast” in recent issues of The Flash, exploring different aspects of his Speed Force-derived abilities. 

Page 5:  “Who are you?”  At first, I thought that it was strange that the Metropolis Police Department didn’t know who the Flash was.  I mean, aren’t superhumans a recent phenomenon in the DCU, individuals that garner both fascination and fear, kind of like the Kardashians?  Wouldn’t everyone, police included, try to find out everything they would about these new and exciting individuals?

And then I remembered – duh – the Flash moves at super-speed.  Odds are there aren’t all that many clear pictures of him, if any pictures have been taken at all, so most people probably don’t have any idea what he looks like at all.

Page 6:

Looks like those Omega Beams sting a little.

Page 7:

As seen last issue, the Parademons harvest "organic materials" -- in this case, people -- so that they may be transformed into more Parademons.  Cyborg learned this after interfacing with a Mother Box, but the rest of the heroes don't know any of this yet.  


Page 8:  “Green Lantern’s got this!”  Joy.  Green Lantern’s going off half-cocked again. 

Note that the demolished taxicab is number “5252,” a reference to the New 52 DCU.  Also, the advertisement on the roof reads “Panic Room,” which was apparently the secret codename given by DC Comics to the upcoming Before Watchmen titles. 

Is Darkseid manifesting the Omega Effect from his hands?  When did he learn that trick?

Page 10:  Darkseid’s no pushover.  Note now he’s strong enough to overcome Green Lantern’s not-inconsiderable willpower. 

Page 11:

Well now, that just totally sucks...

Page 12:  “Don’t need you.  Don’t need…anyone.  I can handle this.”  Green Lantern is still trying to prove his worthiness.  Think he has some issues with that?

Batman has such a warm bedside manner, doesn't he?


Page 13:  “Then who are you trying to live up to?”  As seen in Green Lantern: Secret Origin, a young Hal Jordan watched helplessly as his father crashed his plane and died in front of him.  He is constantly trying to live up to his father’s legacy, with mixed results. 

“We’re just somewhat…alike.”  Batman has some familiarity with parental issues. 






This echoes some of what I talked about in Justice League #1, about how both Batman and Green Lantern are two humans, neither with superhuman abilities, living in a world of superhumans.  Despite the fact that they come at life from different directions, they are far more alike than they are different.

Page 14:  “Who the hell’s Bruce Wayne?”  Like the issue about the Metropolis Police Department not knowing who the Flash was, my initial reaction was, “how does Green Lantern not know who Bruce Wayne is?”  I mean, he’s a multi-billionaire playboy.

But then I thought about it.  Bruce is a multi-billionaire playboy…in Gotham City.  On the other side of the country from Coast City.  While Bruce would be a celebrity to those in Gotham City, most people probably wouldn’t recognize him outside of his hometown.  I know, in my personal experience, that I read about so-called “celebrities” all of the time and I have no idea who they are, especially if they live nowhere near New York City.  So I think that Green Lantern’s reaction is quite natural, the more I think about it. 

And this is just proof that I rationalize comics too much…

Page 15:

To paraphrase Linus van Pelt, this is what the Justice League is all about, Charlie Brown.

So here’s what I don’t get – why did Batman feel the need to take off his cape, cowl and Bat-insignia?  What purpose does this serve?

Page 16:  So did Batman think that the Parademons wouldn’t take him if he had his full costume on?  I’d say that he’s totally blown his secret identity, but, if Green Lantern’s reaction is any indication, no one has a damn clue who Bruce Wayne is in the first place…

Page 17:

You ever hear that patience is a virtue, Flash?

“My…eye…”  Cyborg is still learning the extent of his new abilities. 

“It’s settled then!  We blind him!”  It makes me happy that Wonder Woman is so enthusiastic about cutting out Darkseid’s eyes.

“And once we get in striking distance, Aquafresh, I’ll be the lure you want me to be.”  As Aquaman suggested last issue.

Page 18:  “We got this!”  It’s no “Avengers Assemble!”  Or even “Titans Together!”  In fact, as far as battle cries go, it’s incredibly lame.  Perhaps it’s to underscore the fact that the Justice League doesn’t need any stinking battle cry?

“Stay focused, Barry.  This is the end of the world, remember?  This isn’t about me.”  It’s funny -- last issue, after the Flash said that they were facing the end of the world, Green Lantern told him not to overreact.  Looks like Batman’s little pep talk instilled a bit of common sense and maturity in Green Lantern. 

Page 20:  Welcome to Apokolips, Batman.  Enjoy your stay.

Oh, I see.  Now I understand why Batman stripped off his cape and cowl.  Apokolips has a strict “no cape or cowl” policy.  It helps to wee out the bad element and keep crime down. 

 Pages 21-22:  Sketchbook of Wonder Woman’s new costume.  Concept art by Cliff Chiang, design by Jim Lee.

I do like Wonder Woman’s new costume, although I think that I liked the originally-solicited version more, the one with long pants.  Not that I’m offended by a woman’s bare legs or anything like that, but the long pants were one of the things that I did like about the Wonder Woman costume that appeared during the year-long “Odyssey” storyline that began in Wonder Woman #600. 

I do want to point out that Wonder Woman’s tiara and chest emblem are drawn differently in Justice League as compared to Wonder Woman.  I assume that this is because she altered her costume between “then” and “now.”

The one thing that I did like about the first few sketchbook pages was that fact that Cully Hamner’s concept art looked more like model sheets.  With both Wonder Woman and Aquaman, the “art” is from covers or panels of their respective titles, as opposed to a sketch designed to highlight and point out design elements as well as being a reference for other artists.  Just an observation. 

Pages 23-24:  Sketchbook of Aquaman’s new costume.  Concept art by Ivan Reis, designed by Jim Lee.

A back-to-basics approach to Aquaman, that is similar to his Brightest Day costume.  Nothing much to note here, except for the fact that, despite the color orange having nothing to do with “water” or “the ocean,” I think that Aquaman pulls it off well.  And the trident makes him all the more badass.

Pages 25-26:  Sketchbook of Cyborg’s new costume/armor.  Concept art and design un-credited, but I assume they are by Jim Lee. 

We’ve seen this new design the least, but it does it’s job, in my opinion.  With the exception of an upgrade or two here and there, Cyborg’s technology really hasn’t changed all that much in the past thirty years, so it’s nice to see him brought into the 21st century.  He looks even more “robotic” than before, with less visible flesh than in earlier incarnations, without sacrificing his humanity. 

Any comments?  Thoughts?  Links to a good chili recipe?  Let me know!