One of the better titles (but maybe not best) to come out of the “New 52” initiative of DC Comics is Justice League. It’s difficult to believe that the title is already at issue #7. For this issue, the “regular” artist Jim Lee took a break and we had a guest artist, Gene Ha. I believe that Jim Lee still was the artist who drew the cover for this issue, however. Geoff Johns remains the writer.
Overall, I think this series has been average. It pains me to say this, because I truly want to love this title and give it high marks all around. However, when I am not being a comic-sentimental-sap, I admit that it’s only average fare. And this is even more glaring when I compare it to the stellar job that has been done with the Batman and Red Lantern titles. Frankly, Justice League (with its star characters and mega-cool creators) should be much better than this. Now, I do not say it is a bad title – it is worth the cover price.
I was not sure what to make of Jim Lee’s art when this title started. After a few issues, I felt that it definitely grew on me and I looked forward to seeing it. However, compared to Gene Ha’s art, I can see I was settling. Many readers/reviewers disdained this batch of Ha’s art and griped about not getting more Jim Lee work. Frankly, Lee is very good, but there was something about the artwork in this issue that really appealed to me and I enjoyed it a lot. In the middle of the comic, there are three pages that depict a “video” conference between Steve Trevor and the Justice League Watchtower. All of these frames are excellent – and the layout is phenomenal. In fact, these three pages are really, really well done and all of the stars that I am giving this issue are because of these pages.
Wonder Woman “answers” the video conference call and we see her via Trevor’s monitor. In the first frame, Ha captures the beauty, sexiness, and charm of Wonder Woman. In the next series of frames, Ha draws her with expert mastery. The body language, facial expressions, and so forth in these frames is really good. I know it may seem to be a “minor” thing to be able to draw a couple of frames of a superhero – after all, shouldn’t all DC/Marvel/Dark Horse/Image artists be able to do that? But it’s not the drawing of a superhero that is good here, rather the very natural, human, and alive-ness that Ha brings out in the drawing. I feel like he must have studied a lot of…. people… and must be rather intuitive and perceptive in order to render the drawings so well.
This same skill is seen earlier in the comic with Batman, although I feel Wonder Woman is a more obvious example. In the Batman frames, the reader can almost feel the frustration/aggravation Batman is feeling. Can comic book art really evoke a response in the viewer like traditional fine art? These frames in this issue prove that they can. The stigma against comic book art fails here.
The writing is okay. Johns gives us some witty moments and some good dialogue. He also writes a straight-forward story with each character having their own voice and personality. He manages to give each member of the Justice League seemingly equal “facetime” (although, perhaps a little less with Superman) and they all seem balanced in the storyline. The little asides characters have with each other is amusing.
However, I feel the storylines are so…. decompressed (it’s the word all the comic reviewers are using these days)… that it verges on boring. There is nothing wrong with it – and I really understand the goal Johns is working toward and how there is a lot of responsibility to make this title, of all titles, accessible and workable. However, I feel it needs more life in the writing. Not just quips, but a more powerful story. Again, this is not bad, but it is average. Of course, I am going to keep pulling this and reading along. And wow, I need to find more Gene Ha in the world.