Thursday, November 21, 2013

Justice League of America #6

"Trinity War Chapter Two"

Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire Writers
Doug Mahnke Penciller
Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen Inkers
Gabe Eltaeb and Nathan Eyring Colorists
Rob Leigh Letterer
Kate Stewart Assistant Editor
Brian Cunningham Senior Editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster by special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family

The cover is by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis. This is the center of the three-cover image, and is probably the best. However, it can't entirely stand alone, as Superman's fist looks quite out of place.

We open our story with the Outsider talking into a special coin. He says, "My fellow society members … it's time." We then cut to the Question, who is still trying to figure out "who is the evil behind the evil." He believes that if he answers enough questions, then one day he'll learn who he really is. We then cut back to Kahndaq, where everyone — and I mean everyone — is fighting.

Martian Manhunter suspects Superman's been poisoned, so he phases his fingers into Superman's head. Flash doesn't like that idea, so he vibrates his hand through J'onn's chest. At the order of Steve Trevor, Vibe then attacks the Flash, and seems to actually cause some damage. While he's using his powers, Vibe senses something beyond their world. Eventually, Superman gets everybody to stop fighting by pounding the ground real hard and demanding to be locked up.

So everybody heads back the A.R.G.U.S. medical wing to get treated for minor injuries. Trevor suspects Amanda Waller had something to with Dr. Light's murder since it proves how dangerous the Justice League is. The Flash is still feeling wobbly after Vibe's attack, and Atom is feeling guilty about betraying the League. Waller asks Firestorm if he can make kryptonite, and Wonder Woman rebukes Trevor for not telling her about the Justice League of America.

Superman, who is looking very sick, has been locked up in a chair with a helmet covering his eyes. Batman believes Dr. Light triggered Superman's heat vision, and he has Cyborg and Martian Manhunter conducting Dr. Light's autopsy to prove this. Wonder Woman, however, believes Pandora's box caused Superman to attack, and she visits Hephaestus to prove her theory. But the god tells her that contrary to legend, he didn't make the box, and none of the gods know what it is. So Wonder Woman visits the Justice League Dark to ask for their help in unraveling the mystery of the box.

Back at ARGUS headquarters, the Question disguises himself as Trevor and releases Superman, asking him, "Do you want to find out who really killed Dr. Light?"

The Good:

Nice mystery. I like that Batman and Wonder Woman each have different, yet plausible theories about Superman's "murder." Even though I wish there had been some suspicion that Superman acted under his own will, I was happy that we quickly got into the true issue at stake here. We're going to be splitting up into different teams now, and we have plenty of suspects to choose from. The main goal of this comic book is to entice readers to pick up the next issue, and I think this issue succeeded on that front.

Flash vs. Vibe. Yes, this was a very, very brief fight — if you can even call it a fight — but I was happy that it happened. After a lot of build up in the first three Vibe issues, we've finally confirmed that Vibe can actually hurt the Flash. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like DC will follow up further on this, as the Vibe title is (unsurprisingly) being cancelled. So this is it for the big Flash-Vibe showdown. It should have been more, but I am happy we got something in a book with tons of characters that basically did nothing. I mean, poor Aquaman's big moment was telling a lady to not touch his trident. At least Flash bravely took on the Martian Manhunter before being attacked by Vibe.

The Bad:

Rather boring issue. This issue did a good job of setting things up for the next chapter, but what actually happened here? Everybody stopped fighting just as soon as they started, then they all happily went to the hospital to lick their wounds. It feels like this story originally wasn't long enough to merit the $3.99 price tag that DC demanded of this big event, so the creators had to hastily stretch some things out to meet the page requirement. It also seems like Mahnke had a hard time getting all his pages in on time, since his pencils required four inkers and two colorists. There is a big difference between carefully crafting a work of art and rushing a book out to meet a deadline. And this issue falls into the latter category. I had raised expectations for this issue because of the magnitude of the event, and DC let me down by presenting this story that felt like everybody was just standing around and stalling. Don't worry, we'll do something interesting next issue! I still consider this an above average issue, but only slightly so. I just thought it should have been something bigger.

Final score: 6 out of 10

Next time: Trinity War continues in Justice League Dark #22!

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