Writer: Geoff Johns
Art:Jim Lee, Gary Frank
Publisher: DC Comics
Despite the presence of Darkseid, I thought the first arc for Justice League was a little lacking in peril. There was plenty of mayhem and big action, but it never felt like anything was really at stake for the team. With Justice League #9, we get the start of a new arc with a new villain, and in this one issue not only do we get a greater sense of danger, but also get some nice character moments with each of the key members (except for Aquaman, who doesn’t even show up, sadly enough).
Perhaps of greater interest is how this issue deals with the fallout of having “gods” walk among mortal man. Despite the presence of the Justice League, is life any better? If the Justice League is so powerful, why do so many individuals still suffer? If the heroes are so good, then why does evil continue to cause chaos and destruction? These are tough questions, and questions that many people have about God. In fact, one of the most common problems people have with God is if he exists, and if he is so good, and if he is so powerful, then why is there still suffering and evil? It’s a thorny issue that often involves very personal emotions. It’s also a question that sidesteps the more important issue as it focuses on the immediate problems instead of the long-term one. The Bible is very clear that one day evil will end (take a look at the book of Revelation), but that day hasn’t come yet and most people want to know why. Well 2 Peter 3:9 makes that very clear, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (NIV 1984)
Why doesn’t God do something about evil and suffering? He did. He sent his son to die on a cross and rise from the dead. He paid our price for sin and evil in the world, and then offers us peace and eternal life. But it’s not something he’ll force us to do because of his great love for us, and evil lingers as he waits for people to accept his great gift. Does that solve the immediate problem of pain and suffering? No, I’ll readily admit to that and there’s much more to discuss on that than we have room to do here, but God has taken care of the eternal problem of pain, evil, and suffering; if we’ll accept his solution. Some, however, like the new villain about to face the Justice League, would rather take matters into their own hands and hold God to account for his apparent failure to deal with these issues. Well, that never ends well and doesn’t solve anything, just as I don’t expect it to end well for this new villain with a personal vendetta against the Justice League.
The Justice League isn’t aware of the new threat that’s coming for them yet, but it’s already attacked them in a very personal way. Suffice it to say, Steve Trevor is facing some hard times because of his connection to these “gods”, in more ways than one; and his suffering is just a taste of things to come, I think. Justice League #9 is a fantastic start to a new story arc that has some great character moments that really nail the personalities of the various members of the team, and these personal moments are exactly what the series has needed. More than that, though, these personal moments will likely have some big pay-offs as this story unfolds. The villain they’re facing has taken things very personally, and wants to make the Justice League feel his pain in deep, intimate ways. Here’s hoping it all lives up to the potential epicness such a story has.
Meanwhile, the Shazam back-up feature continues to plod along. If DC was so determined to bring Captain Marvel into the New 52, why they didn’t just do it in his own book I’ll never understand. I get that all this backstory and exposition is necessary, but getting it in these bite-sized bits as a back-up feature is kind of tedious, and it takes up valuable space that could be used for the Justice Leaugue’s better stories. Still, Justice League #9 is a solid issue, and a great point to jump on board if you’ve been hesitant to do so thus far.
Score: 6 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.