By: James Robinson (story), Nicola Scott (pencils), Trevor Scott (inks), Pete Pantazis (colors)
The Story: Our heroes ignore the first lesson of invasion—watch out for Hounds.
The Review: If I can be Real here for a sec, we all know the main reason—if not the only reason—we all hopped on board this title in the first place was to see the Justice Society live on, right? Unceremoniously dumped from primary DCU continuity, the least DC could do to honor its first superhero team was to give them a title, universe, continuity, and standing of their own. And for most of Robinson’s run thus far, he has frustrated our wishes.
Instead, he has spent a lot of time individually introducing all the characters who will eventually end up in the Society, rarely allowing them to gather in a group. This wouldn’t seem like such a waste of time had Robinson managed to offer us more than a brief glimpse into more than a few of these would-be Wonders and had he done more with the Wonders he did explore. Nearly a year’s worth of lackluster issues seems a long wait to see your favorite team come together.
But, as the cheerful optimist in me* would say, at least the team has finally come together—or, at least, it’s starting to. With Green Lantern, the Flash, and Dr. Fate agreeing to work in tandem, we have our first official sighting of the Society. Even Alan seems to agree they’re a unit now (“And here’s to teamwork!”), which is a marked difference from his insistence on remaining a solo act in #6. In fact, we have no idea when, how, and why the trio gathered to begin with. Robinson opens with them in the same room, nonchalantly discussing their mutual plans, as if there’s been some kind of lead-up to this—which there hasn’t.
It’s also worth pointing out that the last time we read this title, we had left off on Captain Steel, emerging quite the worse for wear from a firepit in Rio, babbling incoherently about the Red Lantern. Whatever happened with that? Not that every issue has to immediately address the going-ons of the issue prior, but it seems a tad eccentric to leave on us such a melodramatically dire note and then not even mention it afterward.
Indeed, Khan, the man who sent Steel to investigate the pit in the first place, appears to have forgotten this mission completely. Instead, he spends a few pages giving General Stormy Foster of the World Army blinding flashes of the obvious: “There’s more to [Steppenwolf’s sudden reveal of himself], Stormy, that’s all I’m saying. I urge caution.” Utterly useless as his “wisdom” is, Khan will at least serve to be of some kind of value to the story by escorting another Society mainstay to the fun. It’s about time, after the undignified way he went down in his own title and in #2, that Mr. Terrific gets a chance to prove himself.
While the issue is grossly inefficient, accomplishing little in the way of giving us some new information to work with, at least it provides Scott plenty of material to strut her stuff with, big-time. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that without Scott lending her artistic strength to this title, it’d be hard to believe DC takes this parallel universe seriously at all. The way she lets the characters leap into action, peacocking their powers with as much spectacle as possible, is enough to convince you of their legitimacy, the weak script be damned. If she, Trevor Scott, and Pantazis can make Alan and Jay, despite their ridiculous costumes, look this good, it’s hard to imagine how she can be any better.
Conclusion: Once again, Scott’s art saves the issue from total mediocrity, but you can’t overlook Robinson’s bizarre storytelling choices.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: * Which somehow continues to survive all of the world’s constant attempts to crush it—even after working for a couple years in dependency court.