Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Justice League of America #2 (May, 2013)

Colonel Steve Trevor had gone to great lengths to create the Dark Hunter cover identity for Oliver Queen, and hoped his swift turn of bad fortune could be chalked up to bad luck rather than a leak. A.R.G.U.S. found Queen near dead at the edge of the Kielder Forest in Northumberland, England after a twelve hour communications blackout, and he didn't convey much of his findings before passing into a coma. Amanda Waller insisted that facing the Secret Society of Super-Villains would be the perfect trial by fire for the new Justice League of America. Trevor worried for the safety and unity of an untested team, not to mention that they'd at least have more intel if they waited for Queen to come out of surgery. Tensions and accusations mounted, with Waller determined that the JLofA was needed immediately and if Trevor couldn't follow orders, she would find someone who would.

Most of the members of the new Justice League of America met at their new headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hawkman turned up covered in someone's blood, so Trevor told him to get cleaned up before the press conference where the President Barack Obama was set to introduce the team. Stargirl interjected "That's so exciting! I would've voted for him. If I were old enough." Col. Trevor started the short briefing without Simon Baz, who might have been the only Green Lantern that Amanda Waller could "put on a leash," but was still off in outer space.

Catwoman wasn't allowed at the press conference, so as the rest of the team started off to their appointment, she gave Trevor a big ol' kiss. She claimed it was for luck, but Steve ordered "Don't do that again." She'd actually picked his pocket, but found only a license, $30, a coupon for Chinese takeout, and a picture with Diana in better times. Steve's getting dumped by Wonder Woman reminded Catwoman of Batman's dismissal of their relationship. At the conference, Stargirl gave a sappy speech about Johnny Appleseed that barely related to the team's debut, but likely won the crowd.

Steve Trevor asked the Martian Manhunter to telepathically probe Oliver Queen's mind to learn as much as possible about the Secret Society, and was shocked when J'Onzz offered to make some behavioral adjustments. "What? No. Read his mind, don't change it. You haven't really done that, have you? Not to anyone I know, at least?" No answer was forthcoming, and beyond the circumstances of "Dark Hunter's" escape, no further information could be safely extracted.

Queen awoke briefly, at a vague point following his encounter with the Manhunter. Steve explained that while Green Arrow had uncovered the Society, the situation had gotten too big for them to handle, and that Amanda Waller had disallowed Queen to join the team. Ollie called Steve a sell-out, while Trevor protested, "I'm the guy who rebels against authority!"

The Justice League of America landed their jet a mile outside the forest in England, then traveled on foot. Katana vanished from the group, so Trevor asked the Manhunter to get a lock on her. Not only was J'Onzz's telepathy blocked, but Catwoman disappeared next. A golden lasso caught Trevor around the neck like a noose. "Steve," said a figure who appeared to be Wonder Woman, "You shouldn't have come here." She was flanked by approximations of Superman and Batman...

"World's Most Dangerous, Chapter Two" was by Geoff Johns & David Finch. Boy, Finch's proportions were awful in some scenes, but I'll still take his dark mood and detailing over most of the flashier Image-style artists DC now employs. I've always had a fondness for the Secret Society of Super-Villains, so I'm happy to see them get a steady, ominous reveal, as opposed to the bait and switch that was Villains United almost (God help me) a decade back. Besides missing Amanda Waller's girth and her ability to walk the fine line of anti-heroism without falling off, it also seems like a good portion of her brains went M.I.A. as well. In a world with a finite number of powerful, viable super-heroes that the government could wrangle to serve their purposes, you don't throw a whole team at a wall to see who sticks versus splatters against unknown hostiles. A lot of that seems to be in service to rebuilding Steve Trevor, so I'm torn between being glad a classic himbo is back in the game and one of the few female African-American comic book icons being ruined in favor of a blue-eyed, blond haired white male. The lead story is rife with "because" with insufficient "why," and what's the point in teasing a conflict with the main Justice League if you draw their facsimiles as obvious robots?

New 52's Day

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