“Your belt is empty, Batman.” – Superman
After the nice cliffhanger where I was left, the question remained: where could we go from there? An all out, drag out fight between the Last Son of Krypton against the First Son of Gotham? Would a city be leveled?
With all the anticipation that was mounting, I regret to inform you that is not what happened. Instead, the live broadcast of the two most famous super-heroes was interrupted to a scene of Barry Allen in a crime lab. His supervisor is pointing out that they need to be working on the identity of the Flash.
Immediately, I must say that the direction taken was not where I preferred; however, as a continuation from the last issue, I found it nice that they were reinforcing that the world did not trust super-heroes because this is not a story about Superman and Batman. This was a story about the entire world and the heroes that protected it. That includes the human lightning bolt, the Flash.
It was a nice transition for a world. Sometimes, like in Marvel’s Civil War, the world has an animosity to people wearing a mask. This difference is in Marvel’ story, the world did not trust people with powers and wearing a mask because a vigilante hurt some people. In the animated series, Justice League Unlimited, the heroes were disliked because of the unwillingness to work with the government, so the military and government created a general stigma towards people with abilities.
Here, however, the entire world does not trust people who have superhuman abilities or wear a mask. This includes Batman. Their reasons for distrust has not really been revealed yet, but the assumption of this reviewer is their powers cause people to be afraid of what they do not understand.
Anyway, I have digressed enough. The confrontation of Batman and Superman is on the turn (of the page). Unfortunately, confrontation is not the correct word. It was more of a conclusion of a battle. The city had been damaged; Batman was in retreat, and Superman stood before him saying, “Your belt is empty Batman.”
I am not going to lie, after such a great start from Justice League Issue 1, I was just completely let down. From the lack of action to that line from Superman to the lack of anything substantial, Justice League Issue 2 almost seemed burnt for me. But I persevered. However, I was it said, with the build up for the Caped Crusader vs the Man of Tomorrow, I expected more, much more.
As I moved forward, more like trudged through, the story of the Justice League proved to have both depth and substance for me as a reader.
Now, by depth, I mean it had something like a background and a foundation to build off for these characters and situation. It is pretty much their past. And by substance, I mean where they would go, the present of the plot.
Each character had a nicely described background, which would be a good attribute to their individual abilities and skills. All of this culminated beautiful to give a nicely put together plot of the Justice League. Everyone from Cyborg to Superman to Batman to Green Lantern all had a vital role in the plot, which only intensified the story.
Cyborg’s transformation from a senior football player with the fast track for a scholarship to one of the world’s great super-heroes could have been mishandled so easily, but the truth is it was not.
The productive of overachieving to impress a distant father, Cyborg was one of many victims of the attack on Earth by Apokolips. It really shows how human this world that the Justice League is protecting. With men like Superman – who can not be hurt – and guys like Batman – who avoid any fatal damage – it is nice to see that there is a reason for people to be standing up and fighting. It is good to show that not everyone is a Superman.
Now, Cyborg’s side story did not seem too important, but it still turned pages and made me sympathize with him before he became a living juggernaut. Even in the beginning, he had to deal with his father who was always too busy for him. It came into question whether or not Cyborg’s dad even cared. It was not until a life and death situation where a distant father had to make the choice.
Make his son a living weapon that is designed to combat the threat of super-humans, which is something Victor’s father despises, or allow his only son to die.
In the end, the choice made itself.
Now, unlike certain incarnations of this Amazon Princess of the past, this version is a battle hardened warrior. In some cases in the past, Princess Diana used to be merciful sparing to her enemies bot in comic and animated form. I will not be mentioning any kind of live action television show from the seventies because, well, it hurts.
Here, though, we are given a tall, strong beautiful woman who will snap the neck of any warrior who opposes her. That counts sociopathic generals that have a battalion with the intent on taking over the world.
She is a prime example why the public would have a problem trusting super-humans. Here is a woman who has powers comparable to Superman. What is she doing? Killing any person that she deems a villain. To any rational person, she would be a threat that has no foreseeable weaknesses.
As I noted in my prior review, see Justice League Issue 1 review, Hal Jordan seems new to the job of being the Lantern. He is incomplete in every way. He is brash, arrogant and is prone to mistakes because of his attitude. If you doubt me, you’ll notice after Justice League 4 hat Hal has a green construct cask on his arm. Why? This little trollop thought, “Hey, let’s tank Darkseid.”
Obviously not his brightest day in that darkest night.
It is his experience, or inexperience really, that lends his character credence. If I was human then randomly given the powers to make things that were as strong as my will with my mind, I would think I was pretty invincible. That is pretty much what happens to Hal. He does what almost anyone would do once they discovered that they had super-human powers.
And that’s why this comic book is so necessary. It is through Hal that we truly start to see how these heroes affect one another. As it turns out, he and Flash had worked together before. Sure, they leveled some of Central City, but what is a few million dollars in property damage between friends?
Here, it i the Flash that cautions Hal to watch out for others. And it is Batman who shows Hal that maybe saving the world means more than doing it for yourself. It is not the idea of self that matters, but the saving of the whole. It does not matter who saves the world, who gets the credit; just so long as the world is saved.
In just as much as Cyborg was transformed from a kid with a football to Skynet with a body better than a terminator so too did Hal Jordan transform from some fighter pilot with a ring that gave him power to a true hero, standing up for everything that makes a Green Lantern.
The Flash was honestly the biggest surprise to me. In all honesty, he was the hero I knew the least about. His only relevance to me in recent years was causing the Flashpoint that led to the reboot of DC Comics.
But, immediately, he seemed to be the most heroic individual on the team when he made his appearance. In his introduction, showed no interest in helping Hal Jordan fight Superman, but it was when he rationalized it to himself that he showed up. And his first thoughts were to contain collateral damage and undo what damage had be wrought. He did not blink to put his life in danger to save others. He did, however, blink when he realized Batman was real.
He seems to work like the reader but inside the mayhem. It is Flash who sees the changes in Hal caused by both Flash and Batman. It is also Flash who considered every person vital to the role of the Justice League before it is even formed. When Darkseid fires his Omega Beams, which destroys matter, Flash instinctively jumps to save Superman.
You know? The more powerful than a locomotive Superman. Flash proves to be concise, straight to the point and is every much the hero from start to finish. Every bit of him is necesary on this Justice League.
The King of Atlantis. Aquaman is not the stereotype handed to the public by the media. He arrives on the scene in Justice League killing Parademons with his bare hands and trident. With first lines like, “So who is in charge here? I vote me,” it is to see why he is the King of Atlantis.
This guys takes the dumbest power of telepathically moving sea creature, powers described as of Aquaman Issue 1, into such an asset. In Justice League 4, he summoned an army of sharks to take down a squad of Parademons.
Am I allowed to say badass?
There really is no development for Aquaman. Instead, he shows up, he says his name and he kicks some ass all the way to the finale of Justice League 7.
Batman is well…Batman. He is far from perfect; he has got problems. He can come off as brutal or cold. Need proof? Read anything in Justice League. An actual example takes place in Justice league one when he shoots a grappling hook through a Parademons leg before he even knew it was a Paradmon.
However, it is as plain as night that Batman is one of the good guys in every way. He proves that every man can be Batman. That’s something Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy failed to do.
A problem I had with Green Lantern is Hal gives Batman such a hard time for being a normal man suiting up in a bat suit to help people. But that complaint shows us why Batman is Batman. It was there that Batman took off his mask and showed Lantern, hell almost showed the world he was Bruce Wayne. he showed it was not about gods and aliens and demons. It was about a battle, a never ending battle that normal men could fight. Someone has to stand up and stop oppression, cruelty and fear .
And it was the inspirational spirit that shows Hal Jordan that maybe he should set aside his pride and be a hero.
“What are you trying to prove?” – Batman
“I’m not trying to prove anything…You and I are nothing alike.” – Green Lantern
“We’re alongside an alien, an amazon, a human lightning bolt, a cyborg, an aquaman. As far as I can tell, you and I are the only normal people here.” – Batman
Justice League 5 page 21
He showed that it was the normal person who recognized the idea of a team, which has its own strengths and weaknesses. This man saw their threat and made a realization. He knew it would take all of them. He knew if they lost a single member that the battle before them might become impossible.
That is why the Dark Knight, and stay with me, saves Superman. That’s right a mortal saves the god who beat him and two other individuals. He proves that yes a normal man, one without a cape and cowl can help save the world.
He jumped into the scene at the end of Justice League 1. Immediately, it became clear that this was not a thirty year old Christopher Reeve nor was it really any live action version of Superman seen. He seemed closed off and distant, much like Batman. Suddenly, Superman looked like a loner.
To show how much he did not need anyone, in Justice league 2, Superman fights off Green Lantern, Batman and the Flash. And he does it so arrogantly. In a battle with Flash where Flash insists that Superman can’t hit him, Superman just smirks and flicks Flash away with his finger as though Flash were nothing more than a nuisance.
What I like about Justice League and the story of Superman’s involvement with the League is they show how it is not all about him. How do they do this? By doing the smartest and dumbest thing ever. They allow Superman to be defeated and kidnapped.
The reason it is good and bad is because of how it is done. One Omega beam to the chest and suddenly Superman is out of commission. However, the reason it is good is it shows that Superman is not the entire Justice League. It shows that no matter how powerful one man a tam is always greater than one man.
And when the Man of Steel is kidnapped, it takes the smart man, Batman, to save him. Batman proves that it would take a group to save the world this time. Batman said it best:
“We need Superman.” – Justice League 7
It may just sound like he was stated that they only need Superman specifically, but it is much more than that. It was Batman who inspired the idea of team to Green Lantern. He would know that it would take all of them to defeat the armies swarming the Earth. That’s right the Earth, not just Manhattan.
Anyway, it was something special to see Superman not only lose but to lose in one shot. His powers failed him as he was trapped on Apokolips. And it was until he was saved by the human that he was allowed to be free. Then it was not Superman who won alone. It still a team effort.
And that is what the Justice League is all about.
The idea that it is no longer about the self is really pushed in this story line. And if mishandled, I could have seen this story being blown. DC knew what they were doing though.
The story line is at the right pace. everything is said and done at the right time. Having Superman being taken down in one shot seemed anti-climatic, but it worked out well for the plot, so I cannot complain too badly. Every other character was handled especially well. All but one really. Aquaman just seemed generic and one dimensional. He was absolutely amazing. He was strong, loud and a natural born leader.
That was about as far as it went. It really took away from the character that DC was trying to change. He was changed for the better just not as much as he should have.
And, personally, I think they focused too much of the comic on Green Lantern, but he did need the time one him, so I accept what they did to him.
It is absolutely an amazing read. It is the best I have had in a long while, but it was not perfrct, which is what I was hoping for.