By: Too many to list—check out the review.
The Story: If Arrows wants in so bad, you should at least give him the honor of hazing him.
The Review: If anything proves that relentless flash and glam can’t make up for ill-conceived, incomprehensible storytelling, it has to be the Garry Marshall-Katherine Fugate series of star-studded, holiday-themed films, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Despite being veritable cornucopias of tabloid regulars, these easily count as some of the least watchable films of the decade, completely lacking in personality, depth, and novelty.
Justice League may be the Valentine’s Day of comics right now. Eight months after its explosive premiere, the title may still be selling like hotcakes, but it has failed to establish a consistent tone or agenda for itself. Somehow, having six of the most iconic heroes of all time (plus Cyborg) in one convenient bunch has resulted in the most pedestrian storylines and the flattest of group dynamics. True, their image of friendship was intended from the start as a public face, but surely Geoff Johns doesn’t mean to subject us to their bland interaction forever.
Perhaps this issue signals a turn for the better. If the League as a unit lacks personality, Green Arrow has a dripping surplus, practically enough to make up for his would-be colleagues. His shameless attempts to impress the Leaguers in hopes of getting an invitation to join them is quite entertaining for his audacity. After the team defeats Amazo, Arrow doesn’t hesitate to point out his contribution to the battle: a single arrow protruding from the android’s left buttock.
Arrow’s boldness has the effect of bringing out the League’s collective straight man, making them more enjoyable to read than they’ve ever been. Even Green Lantern’s obnoxiousness rubs a bit better when not directed at his own teammates. He tells the emerald archer, “If Batman sprains his ankle, we’ll call you.” He then whispers to Batman, “Totally lying. We wouldn’t call him.” Batman replies with an ambiguous “Thanks.”
If the League’s treatment of Green Arrow seems cold, they have good reason—other than Arrow’s incessant persistence (“So what do you say? Am I in?” In response, they leave him on a deserted road some miles outside of town.). Some of them already have bad history with him (read: Aquaman), but all of them share a dark experience of letting in just anybody onto the team, particularly ones who can psychically ferret out all their secrets and ghost it out of there.
Carlos D’Ando and Joe Prado have similarly cartoony styles which mesh well and do much to bring out the comedy of the script. Their style of facial expressions is Amanda Connor-esque, which is high praise indeed, and they invest Arrow with so much charm that even his smirks come off rather winning. As for Ivan Reis, well—he’s such a superstar that it’s no surprise he gets to draw the two-page splash of the League taking on DC’s most famous Martian, which should probably go down as one of the best moments for the character in this renewed universe.
As for the back-up, it moves Billy’s story one step forward, introduces us to his supporting cast (all the adopted kids you saw back in Flashpoint #1), and once again straddles him between being unlikable and sympathetic—though mostly unlikable. How can you like a kid who makes a little girl in coke-bottle glasses (who’s wearing multi-colored leggings, for heaven’s sake) cry? Gary Frank’s ultra-humanistic art (with Brad Anderson’s rich colors) spackles over the cornier, more distasteful parts of the script, however, and convinces you there are depths to be explored in these clichéd kids: the big shy one, the nerd, the troublemaker, the motherly one, the cute innocent).
Conclusion: Who knew that the addition of a completely obnoxious, self-involved archer would actually lead to one of the most readable issues of this series in a while? If Johns can build on this, we just might have a worthy League title on our hands.
- Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: “I’ve got a power ring and you shoot arrows.” Oh, really, Green Lantern? You have a power ring? Because you haven’t mentioned it—in, like, half an hour.
- You can clearly see why Arrow is a corporate bigwig as he makes the hardest possible sell of himself, kissing Wonder Woman’s hand while reciting his offensive specs: “Over thirty different types of arrows—from cryo-bombs to good old-fashioned razor-tips—so we both bring a lot to the table.” By “we” he means him and Green Lantern, by the way.
Filed under: DC Comics, Reviews Tagged: | Alex Sinclair, Amazo, Aquaman, Arthur Curry, Barry Allen, Batman, Billy Batson, Brad Anderson, Bruce Wayne, Carlos D'Ando, Clark Kent, Cyborg, DC, DC Comics, Freddy Freeman, Gabe Eltaeb, Gary Frank, Geoff Johns, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, J'onn J'onzz, Joe Prado, Justice League, Justice League #8, Justice League #8 review, Martian Manhunter, Mary Batson, Oliver Queen, Princess Diana, Shazam, Steve Trevor, Superman, The Flash, Victor Stone, Wonder Woman