Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Justice League of America #7

"Trinity War Chapter Four"

Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire Writers
Doug Mahnke Penciller
Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Marc Deering, Doug Mahnke and Walden Wong Inkers
Nathan Eyring, Pete Pantazis and Gabe Eltaeb 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 Doug Mahnke and Alex Sinclair. It's the first part of another three-cover image. While I don't think Mahnke is as good as Ivan Reis, and I'm not a big fan of the red/purple background, I do think these covers are better than the first Trinity War covers. I think it's better to have the climax cover at the end instead of the middle, and I like that the heroes aren't fighting each other. The big selling point of this crossover was that all the Justice Leagues would fight each other. But then that didn't really happen. Nobody really seemed like they wanted to fight, and when they did, it was only for a moment. So it's nice to not have misleading covers anymore.

Our story opens with Lex Luthor in prison. His team of high-priced lawyers has arranged for his release, but he's more interested in the news of Superman's "murder," so he fires his six lawyers. Pandora then visits him, hoping his purely dark heart can be the key to open her box.

At A.R.G.U.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C., Plastique takes advantage of the chaos to sneak into the morgue and place an explosive on Dr. Light's corpse. In Pittsburgh, Dr. Psycho is preparing four victims for his dastardly experiments when he's discovered by Superman's team.

Dr. Psycho tries to use some telepathy tricks to escape, and he even comes close to discovering Superman's secret identity, but in the end, he's captured by Martian Manhunter, who begins to probe his mind. Meanwhile, the remaining members of Batman's team are locked out of the House of Mystery. Simon Baz tries to use a battering ram to break down the door to no avail.

Even Vibe's powers have no effect, but Catwoman finally opens the door by asking the house politely. Once inside, the Phantom Stranger appears in a mirror and tells them his mission to retrieve Dr. Light's soul failed. Batman, Katana and Deadman are able to return, but the Phantom Stranger must pay the ultimate price.

Back in Pittsburgh, Martian Manhunter learns that Dr. Psycho was sent to Kahndaq by the Secret Society, but it appears he was set up as a fall guy. Atom then admits she's been spying on the Justice League for the Justice League of America and Amanda Waller. Everybody suspects Waller arranged the death of Dr. Light, so they decide to return to ARGUS and confront her.

Back at Luthor's prison cell, Pandora is about to hand him her box, but is interrupted by Wonder Woman and her team. Wonder Woman seizes the box and gains a third eye. The Phantom Stranger is able to tell Batman's team that Madame Xanadu knows what the box really is. And Superman's team returns to ARGUS just in time for Plastique's bomb to go off.

The Good:

Fun story still. The epic feel of this crossover continues, and it remains a must-read for DC fans. The inclusion of Lex Luthor was an absolute necessity, as was shifting the blame from Dr. Psycho back to Amanda Waller. Dr. Psycho is probably a C-list villain at best, but Waller conceivably could have orchestrated this whole conspiracy. The mystery would probably be a bit more fun without all the cutscenes to the Outsider, but it's still an entertaining ride, all the same.

The Bad:

Mishandled Flash. It seems whenever I'm upset with the Flash, Geoff Johns is involved. I really wonder  why he's forgotten Barry Allen's personality. He wouldn't be so rude to compare Simon Baz to Hal Jordan like that. His quick apology only helps a little. Also, why can't anyone remember that Flash has been to the House of Mystery before, and recently, too? A simple fix would have been to have Flash explain to Simon Baz that the house is magical and he can't pound his through it. You could still have Catwoman be the one to open it, and it would have helped make the Flash a little less worthless than he has been in this crossover.

Final score: 5 out of 10

Next time: Justice League Dark #23

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