Giant sharks, explosions, boom tubes, and Dar --oops. That’d be spoiling it, wouldn’t it? I mean it’s not like it hasn’t been spoiled all over the internet, right? There’s a secret or two still hidden in this issue of “Justice League.” Maybe. At any rate, I won’t say a single thing about the character at the end of the book.
I will, however, tell you that one or two of those surprises come in the backmatter following that final reveal. Readers of this series know that Geoff Johns has been providing some insights into the relaunched world surrounding the Justice League in the back part of each issue. This one is no exception. The reveals here tie back to Cyborg -- Vic Stone -- as well as his father and his father’s associates. Those reveals are more for the long-term DC reader than those readers who came in with the relaunch. Johns even puts a few of them into the opening pages of this issue amidst the continuation of Cyborg’s origin, a sampling of his powers, and further investigation of his relationship with his father.
Through those first five pages, Jim Lee’s art has highlights and uncomfortable spots. Cyborg’s armor -- particularly around his face -- seems fluid. The cutout under his left eye and over his nose isn’t the same from page to page or even panel to panel. Maybe that’s the nature of this metal (“promethium”), but for now it seems like Lee spent so much time overdesigning the look of the armor that even he can’t make an exact match to the original design. If that’s the case, how is anyone else ever going to handle the character?
The remainder of the issue is filled with Aquaman posturing in front of the surface-dwellers and showing just how cool he can be by suggesting a school of sharks rip into some parademons (off the coast of Metropolis no less). He even sees fit to stab a parademon through the head with his trident. Evidently he’s new to the superhero gig and no one showed him the secret handshake or told him that heroes don’t kill.
Overall, the book is starting to be what it needs to be: loud and bombastic. Unfortunately, it’s not very compelling and feels more like a recycled tale of yesteryear than a fresh new take on the Justice League. Cyborg is the most compelling part of this story, and his time in this issue certainly raises the bar on the character’s capabilities. Cyborg joins up with the other heroes as the big bad hits the mean streets of New York, setting up a major fight in the next issue. I’m not sure how well that fight’s going to go, though, seeing as the all-powerful bad guy leveled all six of these characters (Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Superman, and Green Lantern) with a single “CHOOOOOOOMM!!”
Johns sprinkles in some fun character moments, like Green Lantern’s dialog when he brushes against Wonder Woman’s lasso, Batman being a massive jerk, and Superman imparting some inspirational words of wisdom on Flash. The ingredients are all here for the “Justice League” recipe; someone just needs to figure out how to mix them and how to cook them up into something awesome.