Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Justice League: The Grid HC

This was a bit confusing to me. The name of the collection is “The Grid,” but this sure reads like the Justice League/Trinity War I remember taking place in the many JL books last year. I dipped my toe back into the DCU with the Trinity War books, and I wrote reviews of those books at the time, so I won’t focus on those here (feel free to click on the Justice League keyword at the close of this review.) I’ll focus on the new (to me) aspects of the trade.

Geoff Johns leads off with a fun “try-out” issue, the kind that team comics have gotten miles of for years now. We see a quick snapshot of the DCU, both in Geoff Johns’ pet characters for later arcs (like Platinum of the Metal Men), characters getting “pushed” during that month (like Blue Devil and Black Lightning), and actual new members like Firestorm, Element Woman, and the new Atom.

Johns really had a wonderful take on the Firestorm character back before the reboot, and that new merging of Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch still works. I love the jock/nerd archetypes forced to work together, especially with the more intelligent Jason forced to try and maneuver simple Ronnie through complicated chemical compositions. (I will admit I miss the more good-hearted Ronnie of the Fury of Firestorm).

Element Woman is mighty weird. Her voice is described as amazingly high, and combined with her sunny personality; she’s a character where a little goes a long way. I still like her though, in the dreary DCU, it is nice to have such a positive character popping up.

The new Atom… well, she’s got her secrets, as we find out by the close of the collection. I don’t want to ruin it, but having a new, younger Atom who loves playing World of Warcraft is a pretty fun combo. I think she probably could have used a bit better taste in her friends, though.

The high point for me? Despero. Despero shows up and smashes his way around the Justice League satellite. There is no one around who can possibly stop him, and even better, the current league knows it. Having the Atom narrate the hopelessness of the overwhelming foe is a brilliant choice, especially when she realizes that the only reason the JL won in their first battle is thanks to the Martian Manhunter. It is clear that Johns must have affection for J’onn J’onnz; the guy does more than cast a heavy shadow here. I had a big grin watching the Despero battle play out in such an unexpected way.

The art on DC’s flagship title continues to set the standard for the DC house style. That said, Ivan Reis’ shows off some spectacular battle scenes and Jesus Saiz gets some quieter moments. Both artists do a great job with their pages; this is an attractive, exciting book. And man, that sequence on the satellite with Despero… SO good!

When the story doesn’t focus on the abbreviated history of the New 52, I find myself quite enjoying this title. It is a GOOD comic with some great heroes and classic villains. I just wish we didn’t have to pretend the villains and guest-stars were making their first appearances!

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