Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Tony Daniel & Gary Frank
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t it Cool News)

It took a year, but I think Johns is finally finding his groove on this book. Well, let me be more succinct: I think Johns has finally found his groove to appeal to a broader range of comic consumers.

To say this book was a failure the first year is myopic and stupid, it was THE bestselling book for the first six months after launch. Also, kids are eating this book up with one of their stupid little safety sporks. The main grumblings have come from us old timers who compare the title to the volumes sitting inside our brain vaults. Even with the thin and often inconsistent characterization compared to the JL members’ main books, the New 52 JUSTICE LEAGUE after launch was 10x better than where the book was post FINAL CRISIS. Hell, I remember two issues in those dark days where in one issue the Holy Trinity were swapping hero pictures like baseball cards to form a new team. Exciting huh? Then there was the cover where the Big 3 were walking away from the JL logo with their shoulders slumped…some say it was a good-bye and fresh start…I firmly believe it was shame.

With the New 52, JUSTICE LEAGUE at least had a plan. All comic aficionados should appreciate this.  However the plan was heavy on art and very light on heart, Johns was given little space to do what he does best – turn a trope into a human. Not human human, but you know what I mean. Without humanity to these superbeings, we should all just keep rereading the Golden Age and call it a day.

Issue 14 succeeds for one reason and one reason alone…contact. No not the Jodie Foster movie. What I mean is the contact between SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN. If you read JUSTICE LEAGUE on its own, these are the loneliest characters on the team. They are Gods amongst mortals. Every fellow member of the team was once human in some capacity, they can at least relate to the human condition even if they no longer are mere mortals. SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN are true outsiders, yet they revere and long to be one with the human race. As comic collectors we always felt these two should be together and I applaud Johns for making this a courtship versus a wham bam thank you ma’am. Like most couples, the woman is never satisfied…I mean WONDER WOMAN isn’t satisfied with only knowing the Super and not the Man. So Supes introduces her to Clark. The part where he takes her to Clark’s favorite diner would have been awesome; it was a nice “show and tell” of the reason why Superman helps humanity. I say “would of”, because they wore their costumes. It’s tough to have a conversation when you are the two most powerful beings on earth. Would have gone civvies for this scene. However, the moment when they go to the Kansas farm that was perfect in tone and emotion.

The Cheetah storyline also ends before this event. It was all right. Daniel’s a more than welcome addition to this book, but one of WONDER WOMAN’S B-List villains simply doesn’t seem sponge worthy to me. Sorry.

Before we get into the SHAZAM there is an ominous last two panels that set BATMAN on a path he’s been down before and has always led to ruin. Will be cool to see how they twist it in the New 52.

Finally we have the backup SHAZAM story. SWEET HOLY FUCKITY FUCK WAS THIS GOOD. It makes zero sense to me why this isn’t a solo book yet. I can only guess it’s because SHAZAM is going to join the League in 2013. At least I hope so, because I want more, much more. For this vignette we see Black Adam discovering the world for the first time and his arrogance is amped up to 11. A little murder, a discovery that magic has been stolen from the world and the resurrection of the first sin of man, Sloth, made me scream at the page when this quick moment was over.

This issue proves JUSTICE LEAGUE is salvageable for Fangeezers. My personal opinion, they need a big bad guy to fight. The fallacy with the Darkseid arc was no development of Darkseid. Likewise the two arcs after never really explored the psychology of the villain. Slow it down guys; we’ll be patient with you I promise.