Justice League Issue 20
The cover was eye catching as Justice League covers always are masterfully done by Ivan Reis. It was an added bonus that this cover was untouched by the Man of Steel advertisements that are a staple on a lot of other DC comics out this week. The story starts out with the new recruits of Element Woman, Firestorm, and the Atom taking on Despero in what is supposed to be their induction ceremony. The opening pages serve as one hell of a welcome to the majors moment for these rookies. Despero walks through the new leaguers with the ease that Casper walks through walls.
After Element Woman and Firestorm are incapacitated by Despero without even breaking a sweat the Atom is surprisingly saved by Martian the Manhunter. The Manhunter engages Despero in a psychic duel in which we are treated to one the few moments that he cuts loose and shows his true prowess. After dismantling Despero’s mind he disappears informing the Atom to tell no one he was ever there. With the Watchtower hurdling towards earth due to damage done by Despero and the systems being down it is up to Superman to do what he does and save the earth from potential destruction. Upon finding his recovering teammates Superman falls ill and the League discovers that Despero had on a kryptonite ring.
What follows is in my opinion the best part of the book, the dialogue between Batman and Superman in the batcave. The conversation the two have while Bruce reveals the plans he has in place in case any member of league ever goes rogue is one of those Kirk and Spock dynamics. The pages play out like a behind the scenes look into their friendship. Johns has alluded to a close friendship between the two but rarely is there ever any evidence of it in any of the pages until now. At the end of the issue the Atom is revealed to be a double agent for Amanda Waller and her own justice league team. The Shazam miniseries sets up the conclusion with the reveal of the ruthlessness of Black Adam. Readers find out that after his own nephew shared the wizards power to save him Adam killed his own nephew to be wizards only champion. With Adam taking Billy’s foster siblings hostage he has no choice but to transform and confront his rival.
All and all this was a good issue and did almost everything a fan could ask for from the writers. We found out there is a mole on the team and who she is working for along with plenty of action. The plot thickened with the discovery of the kryptonite ring on Despero, not mention adding to the anticipation of the Trinity War. Readers were reminded just how much tough the Manhunter really is when written properly. Provided a bit of a spoiler as to who could break into the batcave without leaving trace and has knowledge of batman’s true identity. It would probably have to be someone with say phasing and telepathic abilities right? The icing on the cake is that the Shazam miniseries is almost leading hopefully to a debut soon by the young Billy Batson.
This issue gets a 4 out 5