Rating: 4/5 – A great start to what should be an epic crossover!
What a start to a crossover! Since the release of the Free Comic Book Day issue of the New 52 to the launch of the Justice League of America book, writer Geoff Johns has been building a story that all leads to this. Justice League 22 is part one of the ‘Trinity War’ that puts the two Justice League teams against each other, while also throwing in the “Trinity of Sin” characters, (Question, Phantom Stranger and Pandora) as well as the Shazam mythos into the mix. Johns touches on multiple plot points from previous issues and definitely gives the reader their money’s worth as each page is packed with story and art.
Although the story jumps around to different locales and focuses on multiple characters, Madame Xanadu is the common narrator throughout. Her visions of the future hint at what’s to come and provides a connection to the reader on all the different scenes throughout. And there are a LOT of them in this issue. We see a villain’s death, a fight between Superman and Shazam as well as between the two Justice League teams, and great little moments that harken back to silver and bronze age DC story-lines. Johns is always able to capture those great little fanboy moments. Whether it be in a scene where the Atom finds a chess set with Justice League character pieces that’s a nod to the 1961 1st issue of Justice League of America, to a great character moment with Wonder Woman telling Superman why she doesn’t have a popular rogues gallery, Johns delivers great nods to DC continuity. The only thing I’d say was a miss in this issue is at times the pacing can be a bit off. There is so much going on and so much story to tell that it jumps around at time a bit too fast. For example, the big fight scene between the two Justice league teams takes place in Khandaq. How the two teams get there, and how quickly they both arrive seems a bit forced.
Although there’s so much going on, every scene and character are drawn beautifully by artist Ivan Reis. I do feel that Reis is one of the best artists working today. The amount of characters and detail that goes into each page in this issue is just staggering. Reis is able to show not only the big action pieces, but can also channel the emotion in the quiet scenes with his facial expressions and taking the time to have his characters all have a unique look. In a double page splash during the fight between Superman and Shazam, Reis puts 20 characters on the page and makes it look easy. Johns and Reis have been working together for years now and you can tell by how well the art and story flow together. They pack so much into this issue, but they leave you wanting more.
This is how a crossover should be done. Taking all the elements of previous story-lines and bringing them together with great payoff. It will be interesting to see if the pacing of this crossover will slow down a bit, or if the story beats continue at this brisk pace. I’m more excited for this crossover than I originally thought I’d be, and that’s saying a lot with the creative team involved. This is a showcase to the rich DC Universe and I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – firstname.lastname@example.org
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