January 27, 2012

REVIEW: Justice League #5

After an epic setup last month, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's Justice League #5 doesn't quite meet expectations.

Don't get me wrong, the issue was OKAY, but fell incredibly short in story and character usage and development. Last month in Justice League #4, the team was all but officially formed as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg were all ready to take on the Lord of Apokolips himself, the mighty Darkseid. The last few pages set up what was to be a superb issue #5 featuring what I hoped to an epic battle as we all had been patiently waiting for.

However, nothing really happens in JL #5. I'd yell spoiler alert, but there's not much to spoil: Flash out "runs" Darkseid's omega beams but Superman gets captured, Green Lantern tries taking on Darkseid by himself (and fails miserably), and then out of nowhere Batman reveals his secret identity to Green Lantern and proceeds to peel (yes, PEEL) the bat emblem off his costume. Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman get literally one or two lines of dialogue each as the remainder of the League regroups, and the issue ends with a cliffhanger.

Flash, Batman, and Green Lantern are the primary stars of this issue, and though welcome, it feels reminiscent of the lackluster issue #1 where it was more like a Brave and the Bold team up book and not JUSTICE LEAGUE. Aside from a nice display of Flash's powers, Green Lantern showing off (One on one versus Darkseid? Riiiiggght.) and Batman's big reveal, there's little to no character development for any of the team. We got a tidbit of Cyborg's story in each issue so far, but next to nothing here. He's feature prominently on this month's cover, so it's a really a bit odd. Superman gets captured early on, so he's gone the last two thirds of the book.

Another odd occurrence takes place toward the end of the book, between Green Lantern and Batman. The two share a cheesy heart to heart talk that somehow inspires GL, and Batman out of nowhere removes his mask and reveals his true identity. Really? Was Bruce Wayne unmasking really that necessary? It honestly felt like a cheap move to make the issue more relevant.

Despite the book's clear misses, the ending did leave me wanting to know what happens next. The art was also very much up to par, but hey, it's Jim Lee. Here's hoping that issue #6 makes up for the lackluster #5.

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THE GOOD: Fans of The Flash, Batman, and Green Lantern will have plenty to ogle this month. Green Lantern vs. Darkseid was actually a treat. And despite the issue's lackings, it did end with me wanting to see what happens next.

THE BAD: Not nearly enough story and little to no character development. Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg were barely even in the book. Batman's unmasking felt like a cheap move, and I'm not too keen on how Bruce literally peeled the bat emblem off his armor.

THE ART: Jim Lee's art pretty much saves this issue. Strangely, this month's issue featured a plethora of additional inkers and colorists. Can't complain because its great work.


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