REVIEW: Justice League #4

Posted by under *like, Comics |

The latest issue of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s “New 52″ Justice League series appeared on shelves and screens around the world yesterday and ratchets up the action for the team’s first adventure. Aquaman is featured on the cover this month and gets some great panel time within, but once again a fair amount of attention is given to Cyborg. The new team, their new threat and all of their interpersonal conflicts really start to come together here as two top creators look to take DC’s top heroes to new heights.

Spoilers for Justice League #4 will follow.

PTB: Things jump right in with Vic Stone going through the final stages of his transformation into Cyborg in the S.T.A.R. Labs Red Room. Last time we talked about Vic’s connection to Darkseid and it looks like he was the conduit that brought the villain to Earth.

KevinMLD: I’m not really sure if that’s what happened or not. I’ve stared at the art and it’s all pretty crazy but I don’t see any reason to believe Darkseid didn’t just follow his parademons through a Boom Tube. I don’t really see why Darkseid would need Cyborg as a conduit.

PTB: A number of names are referred to as Cyborg’s operating system comes online and the back-up pages give some more detail regarding them. Should I recognize things like S.T.A.R. Labs, The Red Room, A-Maze or Tom Morrow? Any of this from the old DCU?

KevinMLD: S.T.A.R. Labs are super science facilities located all over the DC Universe. Thomas Morrow is presumedly the villain T.O. Morrow. He’s a super mad scientist involved in building androids I believe. The Red Room is news to me.

PTB: One of the systems running in Cyborg’s software was listed as classified. Do you think that’s part of the Darkseid connection or something to be explored later?

KevinMLD: I’m guessing it was a reference to Amazo. I’m wondering if they’ll tie Cyborg and Amazo together in some way as Cyborg’s systems are assessing threats and reacting, while Amazo’s systems assess threats and choose the appropriate Justice Leaguer ability to react with.

PTB: Before the appearance of Darkseid, Cyborg downloads the commands his demons are following which include locating, harvesting and repurposing organic materials on other worlds. Is this consistent with Darkseid’s usual agenda? The only time I recall reading about the character is in the X-Men/Teen Titans crossover.

KevinMLD: In the Darkseid stories I’ve read he’s been pretty focused on the Anti-Life Equation or just general domination and enslavement. I don’t remember him having a particular need for harvesting organic matter, but I’m hardly an expert.

PTB: I was wondering if the organic material might be a resource for making more parademons. What exactly does Darkseid do upon his arrival that sends the team reeling? What are his powers exactly?

KevinMLD: This issue definitely suggests people are bing turned into Parademons. As for Darkseid, I don’t know man. He’s a New God. He shoots beams out of his eyes that can cause Batman to get lost in time. He can punch hard enough to hurt Superman. He commands an army of really evil dudes and he lives on a planet called Apokalips. Isn’t that enough? I think here he’s pulled the ol’ Hulk stomp his feet and make the entire world shake move.

PTB: Even though much of the issue is dedicated to Cyborg, Aquaman is also a focal point for much of the action. He has a few pages to really shine, and his counter attack on Darkseid’s demons is impressive even if it requires access to fish.

KevinMLD: I agree. I kind of like the idea of him leading the Justice League. I think when Johns leaves Aquaman and that book inevitably gets cancelled, he should become the leader of the Justice League full time. It’s a good role for him and a nice way to keep him in the public eye. After all Cyclops hasn’t needed a solo title all of these years to remain an essential part of the Marvel Universe.

PTB: Aquaman’s solo series is honestly doing a lot to put his character over for me.

KevinMLD: I agree. I’m just not sure he can support a solo title long term.

PTB: That’s a valid concern. Speaking of that series, his statement “I found this creature in the ocean” is like saying “I found this creature on the land.” It seems to run contradictory to Aquaman’s resentment toward surface dwellers assuming he knows everything about the entire ocean over in his own series (which Johns is also writing).

KevinMLD: This is a great point and very hard to dispute. Maybe we’re seeing how his current rep was established?

PTB: Hal Jordan is really tough to take in this issue. Are we just seeing early career showboating and brashness here or is this the same guy portrayed in Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern series?

KevinMLD: I think we’re seeing younger, brasher, dumber versions of all of these characters. Wonder Woman seems kind of dumb at times as well with her whole “What a day for a fight!” shtick.

PTB: I’ve been buying the combo packs for this series and previously the only significant difference I’ve noticed between the cover images has been the coloring. I initially thought issue #4 just had a blue back background, but the scene has actually been moved underwater! Apparently Aquaman couldn’t stand Green Lantern either and has decided to drown him.

I’m also always amused at the words “Digital Copy Inside!” on the combo pack cover. No, it isn’t.

KevinMLD: I wish someone would drown this version of Hal Jordan. I wonder if we can sick the Allstar version of Robin on him.

PTB: Jim Lee and Scott Williams’ artwork looks far more dynamic to my eyes in this issue compared to previous ones. Everything has looked great, but there was a flatness to some pages and panels that I feel like I’m not seeing as much of in issue #4. Colorists Alex Sinclair and Gabe Elataeb also deserve a lot of credit for making this book look good.

KevinMLD: That’s interesting. I really felt this was his worst performance so far. Now we’re talking Jim Lee so his worst is still pretty fantastic, but there were more panels than usual in which I just couldn’t understand what was supposed to be happening. Mostly involving Cyborg and Darkseid.

PTB: I was a little confused about what exactly was happening with Superman, Flash and the military helicopters. Is Superman trying to down them? Is this his move because the pilots are in some kind of danger or because they were shooting at the heroes?

KevinMLD: I think Superman’s motives are very unclear. Especially in light of his feuding with the military in Action Comics. What does he care about the military shooting at them? Batman should be the one who’s concerned.

PTB: Darkseid’s arrival suggests they’ll bigger things to worry about in issue #5, but at leas the team for their first mission appears to be assembled.

After the back-up pages at the end of the issue, there’s a DC Comics New 52 spotlight piece on Judd Winick and Guillem March’s Catwoman. She’s in her underwear or hanging halfway out of her costume on every interior panel they’ve included.

KevinMLD: I dumped that book after the first issue. It’s like they took everything that was cool about Ed Brubaker’s amazing run, rolled it up into a ball and threw it, then sprinted in the opposite direction. Not a fan.

Read more about DC Comics’ “New 52″ on MyLatestDistraction
and keep up with all of our commentaries on Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League:

Justice League #3 / Justice League #5

Related Posts with Thumbnails