Last month’s ‘Justice League’ #6 wrapped up the League’s origin story. Now that the origin is out of the way, this issue jumps forward five years to catch up with the rest of New 52 continuity. When the issue opens, the team of heroes have been working together for half a decade. They’ve worked out some of the ego and individual strain that was evident over the past several issues. I say some because Batman still has control issues with the team, something at which Flash and Green Lantern love to take a few light hearted jabs.

As this issue opens, a new Justice League villain called Spore is unleashing miniature versions of himself all across the city of Baltimore. The small creatures look like grey-ish blobs with teeth, arms, and feet and remind me a bit of the Isz in the old ‘Maxx’ comic. The Justice League rush to the city and start smashing the little creatures while they begin looking for the main source. Since they’ve never faced Spore before, they aren’t sure what to expect other than his ability to make these mini-clones.

While all of the JL action is going on, Colonel Steve Trevor is holding a press conference to discuss the Justice League with the public. Apparently, in the New 52 universe, the Justice League is an entity that has connections, through Trevor to the US government. Trevor serves as a sort of liason to the League and both the bureaucrats and the general public. Even though he’s no leader, with Trevor in this position, the new Justice League is VERY reminiscent of Marvel’s Avengers team with Nick Fury as the government honcho.

Geoff Johns has crafted a Justice League that might do exactly what it intends and appeal to an audience that was turned off by the goody-goody associations of the original DC universe team. This team is still not Marvel gritty by any stretch, but they are much more grounded in the real world than in previous incarnations. It’ll be interesting to see where Johns takes his world-building on this book from here.

Gene Ha steps in as guest artist this month and let’s Jim Lee take a rest (except for the cover art). Ha’s work isn’t as vividly detailed as Lee’s and it looks a bit of a shock after the first six issues but, after I was a few pages in, I think I actually prefer Ha’s Justice League to Lee’s.

This issue also marks the starting point to a new backup story, also written by Johns, featuring the introduction of Shazam into the New 52 universe. And this time the actual character will be called Shazam and not Captain Marvel, as he was pre-relaunch. It’s not that big of a change for the general public since most of the people I know thought his name was Shazam anyway.

The ‘Shazam’ story explains that seemingly random people around the world have been disappearing and reappearing. Upon their return, these people claim to have been in a long cave with an old man on a throne. The old man mutters something about them being “not worthy” and the nonsense word “Shazam” before the people are hit with lightning and transported back to what ever spot they disappeared from.

Cut to the introduction of young Billy Batson. Batson is in an orphanage and meeting with some prospective adoptive parents. Batson seems very much the same goody two-shoes kid that he was in the previous universe. After a short interview, the parents decide to adopt Billy. But, before the story closes, it’s clear that this isn’t the Billy Batson that we’ve come to know and love… and this looks like it’s going to be an awesome origin story!

When I flipped to the backup story, I was very pleased to see that Gary Frank (‘Superman: Secret Origin’) was handling artwork on the tale. Frank is one of my favorite comic artists and his pencils never cease to amaze. I could just look at his art for hours. And to have him drawing one of my favorite DC characters of all time was truly a treat.

Verdict: Buy

Written by GEOFF JOHNS