Sunday 29 September 2013

Justice League #23.4 Secret Society Review

Writers: Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates
Artist: Szymon Kudranski

With this being the Villains Month issue that's tied into Forever Evil the most I was really looking forward to it. I was also looking forward to seeing how the Secret Society of Super Villains were built, as well as more of The Outsider's background.


The Outsider recounts how it was like on Earth-3 and how he would do anything for Owlman.


This was an amazing issue, and one of the best issues from this weeks Villains Month. Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates do a brilliant job of taking us into the word of the Crime Syndicate prior to Forever Evil. The tone of the issue was simply perfect, as Johns and Gates managed to give a very dark story that had a mysterious overtone to it. I also loved how Johns and Gates managed to show how Earth-3 was nearly the exact opposite of the normal DC Universe, with the villains appearing more noble than the supposed heroes. Johns and Gates also did a great job of adding a lot of suspense and drama to this issue, and although this was a fantastic issue I wish it had more to do with the Secret Society.

The art in this issue was simply outstanding, as although I had a few problems with Szymon Kudranski's artwork in last weeks Scarecrow issue, he redeemed himself here. The detail in his artwork was simply amazing, being very consistent throughout. Kudranski's dark style also suited this story perfectly, adding brilliant tone and atmosphere to the issue, and also showed the gritty nature of this word perfectly. I also really liked the layout of Kudranski's artwork, as it managed to add a lot of depth, as well as adding even more tone to the issue. Kudranski also did a great job of showing the characters facial expressions, as they were very realistic, adding amazing emotion to the issue.

This issue would focus quite heavily on Owlman, as with the Outsider telling the story it's only natural that the man he'd die for would be the centre of it. I quite enjoyed seeing this different side to the Batman style character, as with Batman being my favourite character it's natural that Owlman is the character from the Crime Syndicate that interests me the most. I also liked how this issue would show probably the most famous Batman sequence ever but in a different fashion, and found the way it was handled so impactful. I also enjoyed the interaction between Owlman and the Outsider and how other Batman characters were referenced throughout.

We'd also see the Earth-3 version of the Joker in this issue, which was a pleasant surprise. Now I doubt I'm going to like this version over the normal any time soon, but I did enjoy seeing how due to the equivalent of Batman having a different personality, that Joker would too, and that in this universe he is more towards good than Owlman is. Another thing that I enjoyed about this was that besides the attitude change Joker was very similar to the one we know, looking the same, and laughing all the time, just having different goals.

Now although I said that this issue didn't focus on the Secret Society as much as it could have, it still would feature them, showing how the Outsider came to the regular universe and formed the Secret Society. Now this wasn't really anything special, and it actually acted really quickly. I did however still enjoy reading it as it made the title a bit more appropriate as although it still should have been simply the Outsider, it was good to see some connection, even if not much of one. I will however add that I probably would prefer this story over one that focused on the Secret Society more, just that the title wasn't aptly named.

Final Verdict

Although this didn't focus on the Secret Society as much as I hoped it would, it did an amazing job of showing how The Outsider and Owlman lived on Earth-3. The story itself was also very dramatic, being both dark and mysterious. The issue also had brilliant artwork from Kudranski which added the perfect tone and atmosphere that this issue needed. Considering all this I'd highly recommend this issue, especially to anyone who enjoyed Trinity War or is currently reading Forever Evil.

Rating: 8/10

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