Drew: Determining a level of focus is perhaps the most important step in evaluating a work of art. These foci are specific to the style at hand — harmonic analysis is likely going to tell you very little about a rap song, just as an examination of brush strokes wouldn’t add much to a discussion of da Vinci. Intriguingly, these styles often begin to resemble each other as you zoom in and out — abstract paintings may share concepts of form, color, or composition with those of the Rennaisance masters, for example — further increasing the importance focus in an analysis. Geoff Johns has always written “big” — he’s been at the helm (or at least sharing the helm) of some of DC’s most important events over the past decade — and his writing has often chafed at the analyses of his critics. Justice League of America 7 actually avoids many of the pitfalls Johns is often cited for (a lot of stuff actually happens here), but it still has me wondering if we’re simply using the wrong tool for the job of evaluating a giant, Geoff Johns-penned event. Continue reading →
Patrick: Did any of you guys ever play Warhammer? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a table top war game where you assemble an army from your race of choice and battle against your friends’ armies. It’s the least pick-up-and-play game you could ever imagine – understanding the basic rules means reading a 100+ page manual, and keeping a cheat sheet with charts and tables with you at all times. And then there’s understanding your own army, for which you need yet other book completely dedicated to that race. Then you need the little metal figures to represent the members of your army (sold separately), and if you’re really hardcore you can paint them. Then you need a surface large enough to play on – one time my friends and I took a door off its hinges and used that when we were denied the dining room table. Ideally, this surface will be populated with trees and terrain and stuff like that. Setting up the Trinity War has felt an awful lot like setting up a Warhammer game. Everyone’s been reading extra books they don’t really want to read just so they can play in the big game. Now the event is actually here and I can’t believe I’m surprised that all the characters feel like pieces in a game. Continue reading →
Spencer: A team doesn’t become a team just because a group of characters are assembled together. These characters truly become a team when they can put aside their individual goals, combine their distinct talents and work together as a cohesive unit, and doing so usually takes time and practice. Both of Geoff Johns’ Justice League books this week feature groups that are finally learning to be real teams; the real surprise is that the Justice League-proper isn’t one of those groups.
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Justice League of America 4, originally released May 29th, 2013.
Spencer: I’ll be honest: from the very start, Justice League of America has seemed more concerned with putting pieces in place for the upcoming “Trinity War” than it has with telling a compelling story. Unfortunately, for a story so focused on getting its players from Point A to Point B, the way writer Geoff Johns does so strains credibility. He makes several attempts to keep this issue engaging, but its biggest failing is simply that the heroes come across as really, really dumb.
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 →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Justice League of America 3, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Justice League of Americais a series starring the “world’s most dangerous” superheroes. However, since the start of this title, these dangerous heroes have mostly been sitting around, talking to one another. Some, like myself, didn’t mind this all too much, while others didn’t exactly feel the same way. Regardless, the last issue promised us some good old fashioned fisticuffs. This issue delivers on that promise, but it spends the rest of the issue in a virtual standstill as far as the overall plot goes. There have been some developments as far as the team itself is concerned, but is that enough to excuse the lack of significant plot progression? Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Michael are discussing Justice League of America 2, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Motivations, we’ve all got them. It’s what drives us to do whatever it is that we do. Geoff Johns is intent on letting us in on what drives his characters in his latest series. Not only that, but it seems that he’s using these motivations to drive the story forward. That leaves us with yet another issue that is mostly a bunch of characters yammering on. Fortunately, what they are yammering on about is fairly interesting, and the story that’s unfolding is getting more intriguing by the page.
Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Justice League of America 1, originally released February 20, 2012.
Patrick: Are you fucking ready? No, seriously: ARE YOU READY FOR THIS SHIT? Justice League of America has been hyped to high-heaven – apparently our appetite for books called “Justice League” and written by mega-creator Geoff Johns know no bounds (remember how he also wrote the Justice League International annual? You better remember that one; it’s referenced here.) So, okay, we’ve all done our homework as prompted by DC, right? We’ve looked at the line-up and been all like “whoa, Martian Manhunter’s going to make this group really strong” and “Catwoman’s really more of a bad guy” and ‘WTF is Vibe? LOL!” Issue one serves to put your questions into the mouths of Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller – almost perfectly emulating the experience of waiting for this series to come out.
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 Taylor are discussing Justice League Dark 14, originally released November 28th, 2012.
Drew: Chekhov’s gun — the principle that a writer should not introduce a story element in the first act unless it comes into play by the third — is meant to keep stories simple and efficient. Details that don’t matter can clutter a story needlessly, making for a flabby, muddy narrative. On the other hand, when handled obviously, knowing that every element introduced must come into play can ruin an otherwise good surprise. In Justice League Dark 14, we find Jeff Lemire applying Chekhov’s principle to the House of Mysteries, delivering a kind of comedic interlude in the midst of Zatana and Tim Hunter’s disappearance. Continue reading →