By: Geoff Johns (writer), Jim Lee (penciller), Scott Williams (inker), Alex Sinclair, Hi-Fi, Gabe Eltaeb (colorist)

The Story: Those ain’t no flying monkeys!

The Review: One of the more intriguing elements to this version of the Justice League is the youth they project.  Appearance-wise, they all look around their late twenties or early thirties, and anyone of that age knows the immaturity hasn’t quite worn off by that point.  In fact, from my experience, by that point you’re still essentially a very grown-up teenager.

So it should come as no surprise how the interaction among the “Leaguers” (since officially, they’re not a League of anything just yet) feels almost like the banter you’d expect more from the Teen Titans or Young Justice.  They just seem rather unaware of the peril they’re facing—and that makes perfect sense, given how raw and new to the business they are at this point.  Presumably, this would be the very first world-threatening crisis they’ve ever had to face.

Indeed, you can’t underplay the danger here.  Anyone can appreciate a full-scale, global invasion of demonic creatures with unearthly weapons, even if you don’t recognize the Apokalyptan figure foreshadowed in Victor’s “vision.”  For those who do recognize it, you can easily predict why these invaders seem less interested in conquest and more focused on pillaging, by which I mean kidnapping humans and flying off with them for some no doubt nefarious scheme.

But even against these grim odds, our heroes plugs away gamely, even jovially in some scenes.  If the current League comes off like a bunch of post-post-grad students, Green Lantern and the Flash are the guys who still have some of the frat boy in their systems.  Hence, you get such amusing moments as, “Whoa! Superman used that truck like a baseball bat.”  “I can do that too.  See?”  Or, upon Wonder Woman’s sudden appearance, “Uh…wow.”  “Dibs.”

Yes, the first great lady hero herself shows up in this issue.  Unlike the quietly self-assured woman telling off gods in her solo title, this Wonder Woman has a more girlish bravado and innocence.  Newly arrived in Man’s world, she goes through the whole “Look at this stuff—isn’t it neat!” routine over such commonplace things as ice-cream and rock and roll.  Very charming, although her constant piping out looking for “a fight. Excellent!” wears thin very quickly.

Interestingly, the most serious, heartfelt moments center on Victor Stone and his father’s attempts to save his life using any means possible, including a great lot of unproven technology secreted away in S.T.A.R. Labs’ ultra-classified vault.  Considering the iciness which Silas leveraged on his son last issue, it’s moving to see him so emotionally distraught, vowing, “I’m not leaving you, Victor. Don’t leave me.”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the last-minute arrival of the final member of the core team.  Aquaman makes a very splashy (wah-wah) appearance, having apparently taken care of all the invaders who made their way into the water.  Hilariously unaware of the other super-powers he’s talking to, he brashly boasts, “So, who’s in charge here?  I vote me.”

Lee’s flexible style translates Johns’ straightforward, adventurous script with ease, but with so much going on, his delicate lines occasionally get a bit lost amidst all the hubbub.  Williams might want to get more aggressive with the inking, if only to keep the action clearer.

Conclusion: The story doesn’t quite succeed in achieving the epic tone it so obviously wants to have, but it’s all the more enjoyable for its straightforwardness.

Grade: B

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Honestly, that chain Aquaman’s got wrapped around himself seems completely superfluous, and makes him look like more like an escaped convict than king of an ancient city.

– A lot of cameos from DC mainstays in this issue: you have Dr. Thomas Morrow assisting Silas Stone in operating on Victor; Professor Ivo getting carried away by one of the flying invaders; and Steve Trevor exasperatedly acting as Wonder Woman’s handler (“You need to come back to the Pentagon.”  “You sound like my mother.”  Yowch.)