Friday, 6 September 2013

Justice League #20 Review

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Gene Ha, Andres Guinaldo & Joe Prado

Since this series started the New 52 it's been nothing short of amazing, and although it may have had the odd blip along the way, it's always been fun, and unique, and well worth the purchase. With Trinity War creeping ever so closer I really look forward to seeing what's in store for the Justice League, and what causes them to clash with the Justice League of America, and Justice League Dark.


After getting food for the Justice League, Element Woman returns to the Justice League Watchtower to find the rest of the new recruits being attacked by Despero.

Shazam! Chapter 12

Now captured by Black Adam, Billy Batson finally learns the truth about Black Adam.


This was yet another brilliant issue, and although the series is still not quite to the highest level that it's been in the past, it's still much better than it was a couple of issues ago. Geoff Johns has been doing an excellent job with the Justice League over the last couple of years, and although it's not always been perfect, most issues have been very enjoyable. I loved how in this issue Johns was able to make it fun, and lighthearted in places, whilst also making it very dramatic, and suspenseful in others, and he found the right consistency in this issue. I also liked how Johns managed to add some mystery throughout this issue, as there were things that left you speculating as to what's actually going on, which was nice, and really added another layer of drama to this issue. I did however find it slightly disappointing that the Justice League didn't feature as much as I'd have liked in this issue, as although I know that Johns is currently trying to focus more on the new recruits to the Justice League, which is nice, I'd still like to see more of the Justice League that I've enjoyed reading over the last two years. Johns did however also do an amazing job with the action in this issue, and overall he did a great job on the issue, and I'm sure it will get even better with Trinity War.

I wasn't entirely sure what to think of the art in this issue, as although I was upset that Ivan Reis once again was missing an issue, it wasn't the worst art that I've seen, as Gene Ha, Andres Guinaldo, and Joe Prado's pencils were decent, as was Zander Cannon's layouts. Having not seen much art from any of these artists I'm not entirely sure about who did what in the issue, so I'll refrain from naming anyone when talking about a specific piece of art, and most of my comments will be about the collective in general. The art that I probably liked most in this issue was during the fight against Despero, as although it wasn't excellent, it was very dynamic, and dramatic, and really helped to make the sequence feel more alive. I also felt that along with this, Cannon's layouts were the next best thing about the artwork in this issue, as it really made the whole story flow smoothly, and yet again added more drama to the story. I did however notice that due to having multiple artists working on the same issue that the artwork was a little inconsistent, as there were parts that were very smooth, and others that were much rougher, and although none of these were bad, it would have been nicer if the art was more consistent.

This issue opened with one of the new Justice League recruits, Element Woman, ordering food for the Justice League. Now prior to her appearance in this series I've known nothing about Element Woman, and with her having not had a huge role until now I still didn't really know anything about her until this issue. I have to say she's one of the most wackiest character's that I've seen in recent years, and if there wasn't character's like Howard the Duck, and Doop out there I may have even classed her as the wackiest. I did however find her very interesting, and loved how she added a bit of fun to the issue, especially with the fact that she was buying food for the Justice League, which was a bit mad in itself. I do however question whether she'll be a valuable member to the team in the long run, but only time will tell.

The big thing about this issue had to be the presence of Despero, who was shocked with what he found at the Justice League Watchtower. Now Despero isn't one of my favourite villains, but there's no denying that he's a force to be reckoned with, and that's shown in this issue. The fight that Despero put up against these recruits was brilliant, and easily the best thing about the issue. I also loved how this gave the recruits the chance to get used working as part of a team, as they've not really had experience in that field in the past, so to have a villain of this magnitude face them was no mean feat. I won't go into any more details about this fight, as I'm afraid I'll spoil something, but I will say that it was very enjoyable, and especially the ending.

One of the things I notice whilst reading this issue was that Atom (Rhonda Pineda) kept thinking about a secret that she had, and how she didn't want it getting out, as well as feeling guilty about it. Now in fact it was during a second read through that I really noticed this, and was surprised that I didn't notice it the first time round (couldn't have been paying enough attention). Anyway I won't go into any details about this secret, as to yet again avoid spoilers, but the mystery that it added to the issue was brilliant, as it really added more drama to the issue, and I really enjoyed speculating what it was.

As I said a little earlier, the Justice League don't appear in this issue as much as I'd have initially hoped they would. Whilst the recruits handle Despero, the League are still in discussion as to how Batman got the Kryptonite Ring in the first place, and why he felt it his duty to plan for the worst case scenario. Now most of this didn't really do much for the issue, as the main chunk of the entertainment came from the Despero fight, but it was nice to see that the League wasn't sitting doing nothing, and I really look forward to seeing if any of them change their minds on Batman's actions, or whether things will stay as they are.

One of the things I've loved the most over the last year has been the Shazam! back-ups, and it will be a shame to see them end with the next issue. This wasn't the best chapter in this back-up story, not by a long shot, as although it was very entertaining, it was nowhere near as good as some of the previous chapters have been. The story in this chapter actually went along fairly quickly, as although each chapter only lasting about eight pages, this one felt a bit shorter, even though it wasn't. That was probably due to the story only focusing on one thing instead of a couple, with it mainly telling the true origin of Black Adam. Now I found this issue very interesting, and loved how Johns rectified the things that I questioned about the previous instalment, which was nice. The art from Gary Frank was also once again amazing, and I've been very happy that he's worked on this story, and look forward to seeing him produce a full issue worth of art in the next issue. His style just suits all the character's, especially Black Adam, and Shazam!, and his layout really makes the story that more dramatic. He also adds ton's of emotion to the character's, and he's truly a wonderful artist, and I will miss seeing him on these back-up chapters.

Final Verdict

This was an excellent issue, and a brilliant issue in the lead-up to Trinity War. This issue was very fun, and entertaining, whilst also being dramatic, and serious, also having a hint of mystery to it, which really made the issue diverse. It also had some amazing action, and dialogue, and if this is a sign of things to come, Trinity War should be amazing. I'd highly recommend this issue, and the entire series, as although it's had the odd poor issue along the way, in general it's been amazing.

Rating: 4/5