Scott: What is the greatest threat to the Justice League? For a group with the power to make neutralizing powerful villains and preventing catastrophic events seem routine, maybe they should be looking at one another as possible threats. It’s hard for the Justice Leaguers to believe that one of their friends could let power get to his or her head or, worse yet, actively be working against them, but that’s a reality they must face. Justice League 20 explores different types of threats to the Justice League, those present, pending, and merely theoretical. Continue reading →
Scott: Much like nations at political odds, the relationships between superheroes can be delicate. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Justice League 19, which finds our heroes causing a ruckus in the Middle East while also tending to some interpersonal matters. Writer Geoff Johns packs a surprising amount of story into this issue, which continues prior plotlines involving new Justice League inductees and the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman while introducing an intriguing new mystery. It skirts close to melodrama at one point, but the result is a satisfying mix of new questions and answers, a creatively packaged, fast-paced thriller. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Evan are discussing Justice League 18, originally released March 20, 2013.
Patrick: I’m always missing something when I read a DC or Marvel comic. The companies and the characters have been around too long and there’s just too much material for me to be well-versed in all of it. That’s not an apology or an admission of any kind – I think we should all accept that readers have a infinite amount of time and money and memory and interest. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone stares at me, mouth agape and says “Oh my God, I can’t believe you haven’t read blank.” Justice League 18 digs deep into the DC archives but also embraces brand new creation and mixes vigorously. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter what you’ve read before. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and guest writer Mogo are discussing Justice League 17, originally released February 20th, 2013, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Shelby: When I was in drama club in high school, we put on a lot of older comedies with the entire plot revolving around one basic misunderstanding. That one misunderstanding would compound exponentially (as misunderstandings are wont to do), and before you know it, you’d have a wacky, 2-hour situation involving mistaken identities and hiding in closets. At the end of the show, everyone would reveal themselves, and, with a good chuckle, the guy would get the girl, the plucky sidekick friends would hook up, and everyone lived happily ever after. In ComicBookLand, where two superheroes can’t bump into each other on the sidewalk without getting into a fight and destroying a city block, misunderstandings are never so innocently comedic. Justice League 17, the finale of the Throne of Atlantis, is no exception. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and guest writer Zach Kastner are discussing Justice League 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Drew: “What if there was a problem so big, Superman couldn’t solve it?” is the question the Justice League was designed to answer. This was something Johns managed quite well in this series’ first arc, justifying the League’s formation with a truly global threat. This issue effectively voids that answer by asking “yeah, but what if there was a problem so big even the Justice League couldn’t solve it?” Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Justice League 15, originally released December 26th, 2012, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Drew: Sitcoms and comics are notorious for featuring one- and two-dimensional characters. This isn’t the result of laziness on the writers’ parts — actually, it’s their desire to work indefinitely. Narratives that don’t go on indefinitely are free to give their characters actual character-defining arcs — that’s kind of the point — but those that have no defined endpoint must more or less tread water to avoid ending. This is why we know the status quo will always be restored. Sure, Bruce might stop brooding for a bit, or Hal might lose his ring, or Superman might die, but as long as people are willing to see their further adventures (and pay for them), they’re bound to return to their resting state. Individual titles focusing on those characters are free to bend the rules a bit, but cameos in other titles kind of rely on the platonic form of the heroes. Because Justice League essentially acts as a series of cameos, it is particularly invested in not giving these characters any sense of emotional arcs. Of course, that doesn’t stop Johns from trying to shoehorn those in from time to time, too.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Justice League 14, originally released November 21st, 2012,
Mikyzptlk: My complaint with the first 12 issues of Justice League was that there was too much emphasis placed on the action and not enough on the characters. Being a fan of Geoff Johns for many years, I’ve seen what he can do with characters big and small and have read many tales of his that were rich with deep characterization. As year 2 of Justice League is starting to rev up, I’m happy to see Johns starting to focus more on his characterization. Even though this issue isn’t perfect, I’m glad to say that it’s less a Jerry Bruckheimer summer blockbuster and more of a return to what I come to expect from Johns.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Justice League 12, originally released October 17th, 2012.
Drew: We’ve talked a lot about the five year rule here at Retcon Punch, and while we certainly have our gripes with how it affects continuity, I think we all understand why they did it. Giving every character some past allows them to maintain certain aspects of their pre-relaunch history, but does so without committing to anything specific. This gives writers a great deal of flexibility, without shutting the door for any future writes. Having a mysterious past also allows writers to pull out unknown details to add emotional weight to the proceedings. Doing this runs the risk of coming off as clumsy or cheap, but in Justice League 13, Geoff Johns provides an excellent case study in how to pull it off. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Justice League 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Justice League 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Shelby: What makes a superhero so heroic? I’m not talking about the enhanced DNA/gadgets/magic powers, it’s easy to see where that comes from. It might not make a ton of sense (really, a different color sun?), but it’s easy to see the source. No, I want to know what makes a hero, what are the inherent traits that would make someone suddenly imbued with immense power decide to fight the good fight and try to save the world? The same question can be asked of the super villains our heroes fight. Are our heroes filled with a sense of responsibility to do what’s right? Do our villains feel they deserve more than they’ve got? Is it as simple as heroes are good people, and villains are bad? Well, what if you try to be good, but are also a smartass 15-year-old who thinks you know best and is kind of a dick? Where does that put you on the hero/villain scale?
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Justice League 12, originally released August 29th, 2012.
Shelby: “Is this the end of the tried-and-true Justice League?”
This is the question the world is facing at the end of Justice League 12, and the end of the Villain’s Journey arc. I was really struck by this line, because my question is “What tried-and-true Justice League?” My biggest complaint with the Justice League since the reboot is the lack of cohesion to the team. The team starts out rough, and five years later still can’t work together. We’ve discussed over and over how they are such a bad team, and now at the end of the arc, Geoff John’s point seems to be… they are a bad team. Maybe my question should be, “What was the point of reading this in the first place?”