"Justice League" #6 has been half a year in the making, but the payoff isn't quite what you would expect for such a tale. It's a decent enough issue but it doesn't bring a great big "Wow!" factor unless you're a fan of Cyborg. His scenes in this issue put him in an enviable power set with a major role in countering Darkseid's attack.
For longtime DC Comics readers, Darkseid's appearance is essentially the promise of a bombastic tale involving superheroics, adventure and tons of action. This issue had plenty of action. With five of DC's heavy hitters fighting Darkseid, there is no shortage of Kirby Krackle, explosions and fists thrown. However, this Darkseid doesn't come with the immediate guarantee of adventure.
The assembled heroes (who still don't take on the moniker of "Justice League") never really seemed to be threatened in this story. I suppose part of that is attributable to this adventure occurring "in the past," but it goes beyond that. Darkseid is on Earth, rolling up his sleeves and trading blows with Wonder Woman. The two just shrug off the hits and continue the fight. Yes, that's a testament to Wonder Woman but it also diminishes the legend of Darkseid, if only a little.
Through the course of the issue, all the heroes are given a chance to tap-dance in the spotlight, getting character-defining bits of dialog. They all look forward to the future with smiles on their faces. Johns clearly has the voices of all of the characters defined but obviously has more fun working through a few of the characters.
After reading this issue, it occurred to me why Cyborg wasn't blessed with a series in the launching of the New 52: he had to be given a chance to prove that he belonged in the same league as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Flash. From here it will be interesting to see how Cyborg grows as a character, especially given the fact he's he only character to rely on this series alone for his development. Maybe that development will show him being trained by the other six. After all, who wouldn't want to see what Cyborg could do if he learned a little bit from Batman?
This issue is far from Jim Lee's best work, which in part or in whole can be credited to the quartet of inkers, each of whom is perfectly capable but no four inkers on the planet are going to blend together seamlessly. There is plenty of excitement and energy in Lee's work, but there are also some muddled storytelling choices played more for special effects than narration. More than once, panels have to be studied and deciphered rather than simply studied for their awesomeness. Lee has poured an amazing amount of work into this title and it shows. His energy is apparent on the pages of this issue, but it looks like he could use a breather. I'm certainly looking forward to what comes from him following a short break.
This issue has a backup story featuring Pandora, the hooded mystery woman who appeared in the first issue of all fifty-two relaunched DC Universe books. Honestly, the mystery surrounding this character was a bit more intriguing than the issue's main story. In the backup, we meet the post-relaunch Phantom Stranger and hear mention of the Spectre. Another probable cause is the brevity of this tale. In six pages, Johns and Carlos D'Anda hook the reader. This part of the issue might seem easily ignored, but the little clues offered up in Pandora's dialog with the Phantom Stranger have me thinking this yarn is in the right place at the back of "Justice League."
The first story is complete. Darkseid has been introduced. The Justice League has found the benefit to teamwork. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee have produced entertaining comics. Where does it all go from here, though? "Justice League" should be DC's flagship title and it very well could be on the ascent.