What I Got For Christmas – Justice League: Origin + Justice League #5 & #6 Review (SPOILERS AHEAD)
So yeah, got some money and gift cards for Christmas, which means I’ll likely be getting what can be considered more stuff for Christmas. I’ll cover that later on, obviously. Also, I got The Dark Knight Rises for Christmas, but since I already gave my thoughts on that movie a long time ago, I’m not gonna bother here, so if you wanna know what I think, go read it. In the meantime, let’s dig into Justice League #5 & #6.
We open to Darkseid blasting the shit outta military aircraft. Flash gets up from Darkseid’s previous attack at the end of Issue #4 and yells at him to stop. However, he realises he was the first one up and is pretty much royally boned. Superman gets up next, but Darkseid fires his Omega Beams, Barry deciding to grab Superman and run for cover. They split up, but unfortunately the Omega Beams do too, and while Flash is able to vibrate through a Parademon to get it to take the blow, Superman isn’t so lucky. While Superman lives through the ordeal (because he’s Superman), the Parademons take him away while GL tries to take on Darkseid. It doesn’t go so well, Darkseid pummelling Hal and actually knocking him through the others before breaking Hal’s arm and walking off like a boss.
Batman finally tells it like it is to Hal Jordan: If he continues like this, and that if he doesn’t get out of his own way, he’s going to die. Batman unmasks, revealing himself to be Bruce Wayne (which results in what I personally find to be a hilarious panel where Hal has to ask who in the hell Bruce Wayne is), and Bruce tells him his story, of how his parents were murdered in front of his eyes when he was 10, and how he’s spent every day since training to fight the same criminals as those that took his parents’ lives. But Bruce notes, while removing his cape, the blades on his gloves, and even the Bat insignia on his chest (I guess it’s taped on? Maybe Velcro?), that this is bigger than him, bigger than any one of them. He tells Hal to rally the others while he goes to save Superman, letting the Parademons take him away while Hal admits that Bruce might just be crazier than himself.
Hal manages to get the others up and tells them what Batman said, that they need to start working like a team. He’ll turn the light up to get Darkseid’s attention so that the others can blind him, thus robbing him of his most powerful weapon and giving them a chance to take him down. Meanwhile, Bruce lets the Parademon lead him to where they were gathering before taking it down. However, what he finds is another Boom Tube, leading to their true gathering place, Darkseid’s homeworld, and if Hell was its own planet it would be this: Apokolips.
Issue #6 opens with a family taking cover from the Parademons before Darkseid himself arrives to slaughter them, the father narrating that he thought they were going to die until he saw THEM: Green Lantern and the others assaulting Darkseid. Diana wraps him in the Lasso of Truth and demands that he tell them why he’s there, but Darkseid cryptically replies that he’s there “For her” before punching Diana away. Meanwhile Cyborg continues to intercept transmissions between Darkseid and the boxes, called Mother Boxes (actually they were originally called Father Boxes, whereas New Genesis had similar boxes called Mother Boxes, take a shot). Through them, Cyborg can see many worlds, all burning under attack like theirs, but finally manages to get his sights on Batman.
On Apokolips, Bruce has found Superman being tortured by Steppenwolf and DeSaad…who have never been revealed in the New 52 prior to this and new readers have no idea what their deal is. Take two shots! Apparently they plan to use Supes to assist in the search for Darkseid’s daughter…and now I’m confused. His daughter? Do they mean Bekka? Possibly Big Barda? What’s going on? So yeah, since this point confuses ALL readers, I present the final rule of the New 52 Drinking Game: When everyone, be they new or old readers, are confused by a plot point, take 3 shots! Btw, I would just like to note that while anyone else reading is likely drunk off their asses right now, I get away with not taking any shots because I’m a Straightedge. XD But yeah, apparently that’s who “she” is, Darkseid’s daughter, and he’s wrecking his way through planet after planet trying to find her.
Back on Earth, Diana and Aquaman manage to put a sword and a trident through Darkseid’s eyes, but the big mo-fo is still coming, so Cyborg decides the only way they can stop him is to send him back where he came from. Tapping into the Mother Boxes, he opens Boom Tubes all around them, which also opens the door for Superman and Batman to make it back to Earth, Superman messed up and talking about seeing the Multiverse and another version of himself (see Earth-2). As soon as he’s back on Earth and sees Darkseid though, he hits him with a flying double punch so hard it causes it to become a two-page spread.
Y’know, as awesome as this is, and it IS awesome, I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen a far more epic beatdown to Darkseid before…
God, I love JLU. 😀 Anyway, Cyborg’s systems start overloading, but Batman tells him it’s him that’ll be doing this and not the computer, mind over the machine, heart of the cards, yada yada, and Cyborg finally manages to suck Darkseid through the Boom Tubes and shuts them, the Mother Boxes getting fried in the process. They notice that the civilians have gathered around them and Flash thinks they should leave before they get out the burning pitch forks. However, it seems that the people have finally figured out that the seven are the heroes who just saved the world and cheer for them.
We cut to a while later at Washington D.C., where President Not-Bush is giving a speech about the recent crisis while the heroes stand by, chatting to each other. Aquaman resents the suggestion that his armour is a costume, saying he’d never choose orange for it while Hal tells him he doesn’t mind the orange but that the necklace has to go. Cyborg isn’t sure he should be with them, but Barry says he should and should be proud, motioning to the crowd where Dr. Stone is watching, proud of his son. Steve Trevor is shown too, I guess just to show that he survived the battle, and the father from the beginning of this issue is shown typing a story while narrating what’s happening. Hal can’t believe the people think of them as a team of friends, but Batman tells him that they need to make the world believe they are. Plus, they need to be working together in case something like this happens again. Hal wonders what the chances of that are, but suddenly the President gets word there’s trouble and they need the seven again, Barry saying they can refer to them as the Super Seven. Hal is unamused by the name (for once, we are of like minds), and Flash says they’ll think of something, ending with the father, David Graves, finishing writing his book, “Justice League: Gods Among Us”.
Meanwhile in London, two creepy guys meet, talking about how new heroes are popping up every day, mentioning Green Arrow, Zatanna, and Hawkman. It’s at this point I should mention the fact that apparently at some point in the future, there were supposed to be new members to the League in the form of Deadman (Boston Brand), The Atom (Ryan Choi), Element Woman (Emily Sung), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Mera, Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond), Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), and a new revamp of the Golden Age character Lady Luck. To the best of my knowledge, this hasn’t happened yet, instead having Deadman (and Zatanna for that matter) being part of Justice League Dark, Mera mostly just sticking with her husband Aquaman (though she DOES appear in the crossover event Throne of Atlantis), Lady Luck apparently going to be appearing in The Phantom Stranger soon, Element Woman and Ryan Choi not having shown up at all, Ronnie becoming a new version of Firestorm that sees him bonding with Jason Rusch, and images of the upcoming Justice League of America shows Hawkman and Green Arrow being members of THAT team. This leads me to a few different conclusions as to what has happened, but I’ll get to that later. Instead, let’s just wrap up this page by explaining that these two men are members of the Religion of Crime from 52, thus hinting that they’ll eventually become important villains later on, but again, that hasn’t happened either.
Now, technically this isn’t the end of the comic, as we have a back-up story called “Pandora”. We see a man has been murdered in the streets, and among those in the crowd is Pandora. For those unaware, Pandora has actually been cameoing in the first issue of nearly every book in the New 52, the only exception to this that I’m aware of being Earth-2 (which actually makes sense, since it’s an alternate Earth). She takes a closer look at the body when she’s confronted by The Phantom Stranger, who says that “they” sent him to speak with her, “they” likely consisting of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett, and Jeff Hardy… … …God, TNA storylines are stupid.
Pandora doesn’t seem all that amused by this, and The Phantom Stranger simply remarks that she should feel glad they didn’t send The Spectre, but Pandora claims she doesn’t fear The Spectre, having been judged by forces far above him: The Circle of Eternity. All of this is explained in a book that was made available on Free Comic Book Day, but just in case you don’t have it, I will simplify what’s happening here: Pandora and The Phantom Stranger make two of three individuals that were judged by The Circle of Eternity and punished eternally for their sins, the third apparently being The Question. TAKE A SHOT.
Anyway, it seems that the Phantom Stranger is aware of the changes that Pandora made to reality, Pandora claiming she realigned and strengthened it while the Phantom Stranger feels that she’s dangerous and has been in possession of ‘the box’ for too long. However, Pandora screams at him to not touch her and that she won’t just be an observer anymore. They get into a short fight before Pandora shoots him in the head with what I can assume to be a magic gun (seriously, where are people purchasing these? XD), but anyone who knows the Phantom Stranger knows that trying to kill him is like trying to fold a newspaper over 1,000,000,000 times, it just can’t be done. However, Pandora says that while she can’t kill him, she can HURT him, and knows the ultimate means of doing so: Telling the world who he is. Yeah, y’know how The Phantom Stranger’s identity and origins were always a mystery that, let’s face it, should have stayed a mystery since it makes his character all the more intriguing? Well, while it’s hinted who he is in that Free Comic Book Day comic, it’s pretty much been confirmed exactly who he is after The Phantom Stranger #0. Would you like to know? He’s actually JUDAS…Yeah, THAT Judas. As in the man who betrayed Jesus……………Dan Didio is a sick man! And so our comic ends with Pandora saying that she’ll be released from her curse, but only after she finds ‘The Strange’ and imprisons it, and that the Justice League will be the ones to help her, “Whether they like it or not”.
Yeah, the back story kinda sucks, but the rest of the book is awesome. The biggest issues that this book has is in the way it can confuse, baffle, and on occasions anger readers that have been reading prior to the relaunch, or even just fans who have been reading info on the various wikis and watched the cartoons or movies. However, when you consider that this book is supposed to be an introduction to the New 52, it’s kinda hard to judge it for that. Besides, the story is solid enough that it’s easy to enjoy. One problem I have is that while the story does manage to establish who everyone is, what their powers are, and what their motivations are, the one who is kind of left out is Superman, as we really only know that he’s an alien with speed and strength that rivals and often outright towers over every other member of the Justice League. However, it’s worth noting that the first arc of Action Comics in the New 52 was also a prequel story that explains Superman’s origins in the new universe…too bad it apparently wasn’t all that great. It’s also worth noting that Cyborg is the only member without a solo title of his own, but considering his story is pretty much told within Justice League, it’s not THAT big a deal. Would still be nice, though.
Overall, I have to give this book props and recommend it, especially for new readers looking to get into DC Comics. Although, it’s not the BEST book of the New 52, at least not in my own humble opinion. What do I consider the best book? Oh, my friends, be sure to check in again in a few months, when I begin a retrospective of Scott Snyder’s Batman.
Posted on December 30, 2012, in Comic Books, What I Bought Today and tagged Aquaman, Arthur Curry, Barry Allen, Batman, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Cyborg, Darkseid, Diana Prince, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, Hawkman, Justice League, Orin, Parademon, Superman, Victor Stone, Wonder Woman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.