After the side story of Green Arrow attempting to join the Justice League last issue, a new story arc titled ‘The Villain’s Journey’ begins this issue and introduces a new villain to the DC Universe which will please fans who’ve been waiting for something truly new in the New 52.

The opening scene this issue is a flashback to four years ago when a man called David Graves is dying of cancer. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the writer of the ‘Justice League: Gods Among Men’ book that has made several brief appearances through this series so far. Mr. Graves is dying and, since the Justice League can’t save him, he decides to begin his “journey”. What that means exactly, we’re not privy to, but it looks like it means bad news for the League.

Cut to present day. We’re given several tales of the League battling old villains the Key and the Weapons Master. Through these stories, we’re given flashbacks to some of the key League members’ past and one can only assume this is some foreshadowing that whatever plan Graves is up to, he’ll be exploiting the personal weaknesses of the League.

Interspersed with the main League story is another tale that revolves around Col. Steve Trevor as he deals with the publicity of his relationship to the League and Wonder Woman in particular. As the issue closes, Col. Trevor’s journey crosses paths with that of Mr. Graves and it looks dire for the League.

Scribe Geoff Johns has crafted a story that is both action-packed and ominous at once. To aid in the awesome, Jim Lee returns this issue as artist and makes the opening chapter to ‘The Villain’s Journey’ look as beautiful as it reads. Since it doesn’t rely heavily on what’s come before, it also makes a great jumping-on point for new readers as well.

To add icing on the cake this issue, the Shazam! backup tale from Johns and artist Gary Frank continues this issue as well. It’s a slow burning story that is giving readers a new characterization of Billy Batson and the Marvel family without actually turning them into the Marvel family… yet. Also, this issue Dr. Sivana continues his search for magic, this time at the tomb of another villain who will be quite familiar to the Shazam! universe.

Verdict: Buy

Written by GEOFF JOHNS