Monday, August 20, 2012

JUSTICE LEAGUE #11


“Atonement”

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams with Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: Alex Sinclair with Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

As the Justice League recovers from Graves’ initial attack, they realize that this new foe has kidnapped Steve Trevor.  Tensions run high and the team is pushed to the breaking point, but they pull together long enough to learn that Graves has ties to their past.  After a trip to his writing cabin, they visit the Valley of Souls under Mt. Sumeru, where the Leaguers are confronted by visions of their dead loved ones…including Trevor himself…





Notes

Page 1:  Batman is reliving the murder of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, at the hands of Joe Chill. 

This is how Batman overcomes misery and pain, by refusing to dwell on it.  He simply buries it and moves on.

Out of all the Leaguers, Batman has the best relationship with Superman; as such, the Man of Steel is the first one he notices is incapacitated and rescues.  Also, Batman knows to make sure that the team’s big gun is back in action first after being attacked. 

Page 2

Both Jonathan and Martha Kent are deceased in the New 52 DCU.  Although Pa Kent's heart attack has been referred  to several times, his actual death has yet to be seen.

“I couldn’t save him.”  Echoes Clark Kent’s sentiment in Superman: The Motion Picture after he is incapable of saving Jonathan Kent from a heart attack.

“My dad’s plane…it crashed.”  A young Hal watched helpless as his father, Martian Harold Jordan, died in a plane crash as seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #29. 

“It doesn’t matter.”  Batman’s not really up for sharing his emotions.

Tracy “Trace” Trevor was last seen in Justice League #9.

Page 3:  “You have some of my books.”  David Graves has written quite extensively about the mysteries of the world and the unknown.

Graves mentions that becoming an Asura is one of the “four unhappy births” that results from a soul being punished and denied an afterlife.  How did these Asuras reconnect Graves with the souls of his family?  Were they denied the afterlife and condemned to one of these “unhappy births”?  And, if so, then why? 

Graves in convinced that the Justice League sees themselves as gods, despite the fact that he is the one who referred to them as such in his book, Justice League: Gods Among Men.  Does he now have a change of heart because he feels like a false prophet?

“Where’s Steve?”  Steve?  You mean Steve Trevor?  Oh, he’s locked up somewhere after being tortured by Graves in Justice League #9.  Yeah, Steve, poor Steve, he’s not doing so well…

Page 4:  

So it Graves' family actually there?  Or are they just figments of his imagination, or manifestations of his power?

Page 5:  “Did you see that shimmering?  Graves just disappeared.”  And from where, I must ask, did Graves get teleportation technology?  And why didn’t he just use this technology to sneak onto the Watchtower on his own?  Is the League’s satellite shielded from just such a thing? 

“You already broke his heart.  You crushed his self-worth.”  Tracy’s a bit peeved that the Diana-Steve Trevor relationship didn’t work out.  Or rather, as it seems, that Diana strung Steve along with the hope of a relationship that would never happen. 

“But he still dedicated his life to you.”  Steve Trevor, as the head of A.R.G.U.S., still works closely with Wonder Woman and the Justice League, and doesn’t seem to have much of a life otherwise, as seen in Justice League #7

Page 6:  

And just how close did you get, hmmm Diana?  Still insisting that you and Steve are "just friends," as you did in Justice League #10?

To be fair, as the flashback in Justice League #9 shows, Diana did not have a great understanding of male-female relationships after leaving Paradise Island.  Given that she came from an all-female society, this was to be predicted.  Even simple things like hand-holding to show affection were new to her.  So it’s not out of the question that she would give Steve the wrong signals or otherwise inadvertently screw things up with him. 

Also, it should be noted that, as of Wonder Woman (New 52) #11, Diana is twenty-three years old.  That would make her around 18 at the time of her debut in Justice League #3.  Steve, a colonel, was presumably not 18.  Probably closer to his early thirties, if that.  So he’s old enough to know better, and just because she’s a demi-god doesn’t mean that she’s infallible in the ways of love.  Actually, if you've ever reading anything about mythology, you know that it it probably reinforces that fact. 

“The author.  We saved him and his family during Darkseid’s invasion.  Then he wrote the book about us.”  As depicted in Justice League #6.

“But you know it catapulted us into the public’s favor.”  The book was Justice League: Gods Among Men, which solidified that idea in the public’s mind that the Justice League were “the world’s greatest heroes,” an image they continue to uphold to this day, for better or for worse.    

“David Graves disappeared a few years ago.”  After the events seen in Justice League #9.

“They thought it was some form of cancer.”  Was this cancer caused by caused by the Apokolips invasion?  Or something else?

There Wonder Woman goes again, talking about cutting off the heads of her foes.  Must be a Wednesday...

Page 7:  “And we don’t cut off anyone’s head.”  A little bit of patronizing from Batman.  What a change...

“So you don’t trust us to help?”  Green Lantern’s question is a bit meta-textual, as it is at the very heart of this entire storyline. 

“Lantern, I have this.”  Batman just knows, deep down, that no matter how good-intentioned Green Lantern is, that this probably will not go well.  That, and he has severe control issues…

Green Lantern is actually trying to be sincere and supportive with Wonder Woman, making an effort to appeal to her and get her to listen to reason.  Too bad it doesn't work...

Pages 8-9:  Hunh.  Seems like Wonder Woman’s fist is stronger than Green Lantern’s will.

Page 10:  
Once upon a time, there might have been one lone photographer -- Jimmy Olsen, probably -- who was able to snap a few shots of a super-hero fight.  Now, in the age of social media and cell phones, everyone and anyone can shoot a crappy video and take sub-par pictures of a super-hero fight.  Ah, progress...

“Like hell she did.”  Green Lantern might think that Wonder Woman’s hot…but he’s not going to let her make a fool out of him without a fight.

Page 11:  “You’ve been dying for this haven’t you?”  This comment from Wonder Woman would make more sense had we seen any kind of real conflict between her and Green Lantern before now.    

“This isn’t giving me any pleasure.  But I’m sure you’ve heard that before.”  I can honestly say that this is the first time in nearly thirty years of comic book reading that I have read a blatant, sexual joke from Wonder Woman.  Anyone else? 
It seems like Wonder Woman doesn't really appreciate Green Lantern's jokes and more light-hearted nature.  That being said, it would have been far more appropriate if she kicked his ass while he was being a jerk and not when he's trying to help her out.

Pages 12-13

Yeah, Superman, that will teach you to butt in and try to help stop a fight between your teammates.  A good foot-in-the-jaw will learn ya...
Graves knows where the cracks in the Justice League are and is exploiting them to his benefit.  As he wrote back in Justice League #7, “I know the key to destroying the Justice League, and it’s not an object or a weapon.  It’s Colonel Steve Trevor.”

Page 14:  Cyborg has Boom Tubed the League to Grave’s cabin, last seen in Justice League #9.

Page 15:  “Some cabin.”  My thoughts exactly.

“I don’t need help from someone who treats everything like a game.”  In these moments of stress and crisis, true feeling begin to emerge ad get spoken when they would otherwise be hidden.

Within the Justice League, the members should be able to  reveal their true selves to one another, as a hero among other heroes.  For Hal, being in the Corps is a job; the Justice League should be where he goes to be among friends, but the team isn't quite there yet.

“We all want to bring Trevor home, but we’re going to do that faster if we work as a team.  A crazy idea, I know.”  Aquaman is pointing out the fact that this “team” doesn’t operate as one.  The façade that surrounds them is falling apart, and the group doesn’t have enough structure and support to survive.

“Superman’s better with words than you.  And he’s more charismatic.  Smarter.  Taller, too.”  For being the straight-arrow, the Flash can definitely give Green Lantern some well-deserved grief when he has to. 

Page 16:  “What if Graves is right, Lantern?  What if he was exposed to something?”  Then, as Superman surmises, others would have been.  Now, did that happen, or did something else occur to kill his family?

Page 17:     
Batman's awfully casual about discounting the fact that Cyborg might be partially dead, isn't he?

Pages 18-19:  And, in the Valley of Souls, the Justice League is visited by the souls of the departed…

Batman sees his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne…

Green Lantern sees his father, Martin Jordan…

Superman is visited by Jor-El and Lara, his Kryptonian parents…

Flash shares moment with his mother, Nora Allen…

Aquaman watches as his father, Tom Curry, vanishes (and why does that image disappear when none of the others do?)…

Cyborg sees…himself, giving credence to the idea that he is at least not totally alive… himself? 

Page 20:  And Diana sees Steve Trevor.  Is he really dead, or is this all a trick?  Is Graves’ power reaching into the minds of the Justice Leaguers and showing them those they long to see, so that it can play with their emotions?  Or are these, in fact, the souls of their loved ones?

“Shazam!”

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

Billy and Freddy enact their plan against the Bryers, but things go awry when the car alarm goes off, alerting the family to their presence.  After he hides Freddy in the bushes, Billy leads the Bryer brothers on a chase through downtown Philadelphia, where he evades capture by hopping on a subway.  The lights flicker, and Billy is on a different train altogether, one that soon transports him to the mysterious Rock of Eternity…

Notes

Page 21:  Black Adam really doesn’t appreciate being called a “demon”…

Page 22:  “”  The Wizard is, of course, one of the surviving members of the Circle of Eternity that imprisoned Black Adam millennia ago.  We last saw him in Justice League #7.

Page 24
It seems that Black Adam's lightning bolt chest symbol isn't just for decoration...

Page 25:  
Nice to see that Billy and Freddy are bonding over their mutual juvenile delinquency...

Page 26:   
Admit it, Billy...you've wanted to knock Freddy down since you first met him.

Billy had a fight at school with the Bryer Brothers, and later, a verbal sparring match with Mr. Bryer, in Justice League #9.

Page 27:  So, either this story is taking place around Christmas…or Philadelphia keeps its Santa Clauses working twelve months out of the year.

Uh-oh.  Billy Batson and subways can only mean one thing…



You got it!  Turnstile jumping!

Page 28:  But, seriously, looking back over the years, anytime Billy gets on a train, a subway, or any other similar type of transportation on rails…

Things start to happen…


Like lots of lightning…

Page 29:  Some redecorated, possibly Art Deco or retro-inspired railcars…


Page 30:  Only for the kid to end up at a station that’s not on the map anywhere…


The Rock of Eternity, which we last saw in Justice League #7.  About time Billy got here, hunh?