Review: Justice League #34

“The People vs. Justice League” Part 1: “Three Rooms”

Stan Lee has a great quote about comic books.

“Every issue is someone’s FIRST issue”.

That sage-like advice is a great rule of thumb for creators. It doesn’t matter if a writer has been in the industry for three decades, or an artist is one hundred issues into their own creator-owned title; there will be brand new readers that pick up your work for the first time, unaware of who and what the characters and creators are all about and jump into a comic headlong.

With Warner Bros. recent release of the Justice League movie you can bet that there is a whole new crop of readers picking up the comic for the first time. So what will new readers and old readers returning to the fold find waiting for them?

The team’s roster from the movie is all here, plus not one, but two Green Lanterns! The consistency from film to comic page is a comfort to new readers, while older fans get the benefit of their favorites taking on another adventure. This is a smart move on DC’s part to not confuse newcomers with B and C level Justice Leaguers right out of the gate; that will come later I’m sure as fans take their own journeys into the titles five decades plus history.

This issue begins in the depths of space. Green Lantern Simon Baz has to head-off an incoming fleet of space invaders, (not the old video game you’re thinking of) who are making their way towards Earth. The emergency call goes out to the rest of the League and from here we are cast headlong into a tale that reads more like a “day in the life” of the JL.

Simultaneously the group of heroes deals with the space armada, an earthquake and a tsunami in South America, and a hostage situation that involves a group of elderly and nuns. Just another day for the League, but herein lays the problem. Batman is not himself. Bruce Wayne has been running nonstop for days without sleep. As the field commander Bruce is responsible for directing the team to the appropriate locations to fight and confront the correct disaster. But in his compromised state Bruce is making serious mistakes that cost lives. The stakes are far too high for Batman to not be at the top of his game.

Priest writes a story that is interconnected and shows the League’s best attribute; teamwork. The plot weaves together all the team members into one cohesive storyline that builds on the action and moves the plot along. To see Bruce at the end of the issue questioning himself and his place in the League is new for readers. Batman is always sure of himself… perhaps to a fault. To see the caped crusader doubt not only his abilities but his place on the premiere super team is shocking.

Pete Woods takes on the art chores for this issue and handles the pressure of DC’s flagship title with effortless aplomb. As always Woods provides visuals that are crisp and dynamic. There is plenty to visually enjoy on each page. My favorite panel comes from a single glance that Superman delivers to Jessica Cruz (The other Green Lantern). Without saying a single line of dialogue Woods conveys Supes thoughts to the reader. It takes one hell of an artist to pull off moments in the plot without the aid of the written word.

There is a ton to like about this issue of the Justice League. I think fans new and old alike will be more than willing to pick up the next issue to see where the world’s greatest superhero team is going next.

Story: Christopher Priest
Art/colors: Pete Woods
Letters: Wille Schu
Publisher: DC Comics


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