Who do you call if the world’s greatest heroes go bad? That’s the question that Director Amanda Waller poses to Colonel Steve Trevor in the first few pages of Justice League Of America, Volume 1: World’s Most Dangerous. Deciding to build a response team is easy enough, but filling the roster is something far more difficult.
Kicking things off, they start the list off with Hawkman (one of my favorite of the DC Comics bunch) who is known for his brutality as much as for his moral code. The next addition is Katana, whose sword is far more than just steel. Next up they bring in Vibe, a hero that we haven’t heard about in decades (this version is a reboot, not the original one from yesteryear). Curiously, Waller insists adding Stargirl and her powerful Cosmic Staff, though not quite in the capacity you might think. The true powerhouse of this team is the always adaptable Martian Manhunter, though getting him on the team was more than a little work. To keep things balanced, Waller also has the new Green Lantern and Green Arrow on the team roster. But Trevor has an addition of his own, the always dangerous Catwoman. Not to be a public member of the team, she is intended for the behind the scenes and under the table jobs that pop up.
No sooner do they get the list together than things start going awry. It seems that Oliver Queen, Green Arrow to those in the know, was working undercover as The Dark Hunter before he was discovered and chased for days. Only barely eluding the villains he calls the Secret Society, he relays information to Trevor who is hesitant to send the newly formed (and untrained) team up against these new foes. The initial introduction of the team members goes as well as could be expected. Hawkman smashes something and Catwoman gets…well, catty for lack of a better term. My biggest question is still how does Katar Hol (Hawkman) manage to sit so comfortably with those wings? Because other than some peckish banter, not a lot goes on during this meeting.
Jump forward to the JLA making their way through a forest to be accosted by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Well, kinda…things are definitely not always as they seem at first glance. This goes doubly when we see Catwoman placing herself in jeopardy just to infiltrate the Secret Society. Plans often don’t go as intended but seldom do you see one that ends up with Catwoman dead on the floor with a hole in her head. However, comics being what they are you can assured that there was trickery involved and rumors of her demise are greatly exaggerated. There is, of course, a huge fight at the end of this chapter. Interspersed within the melee are bits of useful knowledge that don’t quite lead the reader to the end of the story but actually raise a few more questions.
And then the comic goes wonky. There’s absolutely no continuity between the ending of the first arc and the next part of this graphic novel. First we have the Justice League facing off with the new Justice League and merely a few pages later we have the Justice League Dark (who would ever call themselves that, by the way?). Limping along shortly after we have Lex Luthor, Pandora, Doctor Psycho, and a lot more of the Trinity War that really doesn’t directly tie into the first part of the book. I’m not a frequent reader of the JLA stuff so it was a big heaping mess to me. The coolest part of this section was The Question, one of my other DC faves. But even that appearance didn’t do it for me. It was just a hot mess with the disjointed story thrown in there.
The last chapter of this book is unmistakeably dedicated to Martian Manhunter, it’s definitely enjoyable to see his back story and what motivates his quest for justice. I have to say, this was my favorite part of the comic. J’onn J’onzz is an extremely complicated character, at least he is when he’s properly developed. This is the first time I’ve read an origin story for him and it makes me want to read him more. And honestly, that’s exactly what a good comic should do…build an interest for the reader and keep them begging for more. Sometimes, all it takes is a great writer to really make a character shine.
Having said that, Geoff Johns is amazing as always, really doing justice to my boy Hawkman and giving us a much better Catwoman than we’ve seen in quite a while. Katana seemed just as crazy as always and I liked Green Arrow more than I thought I would. I’m not too interested in Stargirl, Vibe, or this new Green Lantern. Though I must admit, that might just be me since I usually like everything Johns writes. I was also extremely happy with Davis Finch‘s art. That man has some serious skills with a pencil. These two make a pretty good team, I must admit.
Now that crazy Trinity War story didn’t tie into the first or last sections of this JLA graphic novel but if you disregard that part, this is a pretty decent comic. One for which I feel many DC lovers will be on the lookout. If you are a Justice League fan then you’re probably already going to buy this. But if you aren’t, then this might need to be supplemented with the other parts of the middle storyline, otherwise you’ll be pretty lost like I was. It’s my opinion that DC could have packaged this differently and it would have made more sense. However, since they didn’t, I would say it’s decent book but not a must buy. There are some great parts and awesome one liners but I’m seriously put off by the way it’s all thrown haphazardly together. Take it or leave it, I’m not going to recommend it for everyone.