In the finale to ‘Justice League’ #10, new villain Graves proved himself to be quite a threat when he appeared aboard the JL watchtower and pretty much took down the entire league in one spirit-tossing memory-digging attack. You see… Graves travels with some sort of demonic spirits that have the power to incapacitate people by digging up their deepest and most depressing memories of the deaths of their loved ones.
In the opening page of this issue it’s Batman (who’s had a lifetime of dealing with deaths) that forces his way through the mental anguish and starts bringing his JL pals around. By the time the gang realize what’s happened, Graves has vanished but Cyborg quickly traces his teleportation to the home of Tracy Trevor… Steve Trevors sister!
At Tracy’s house, Graves explains his origin again. I don’t know why he tells Tracy this but it serves as a good reminder for people who have very short term memory from last issue or for new readers just picking up ‘Justice League’. As soon as Grave gets through his retelling of the tale, the Justice League shows up via Cyborg’s teleporter. Tracy immediately tells them what happened and nearly attacks Wonder Woman, who Tracy blames for Trevor’s kidnapping. Now it’s up to the League to find Graves before Trevor’s time runs out.
Now be warned, there are some SPOILERS below.
After the incident at Tracy’s house, Wonder Woman is dead set on finding Trevor and chopping off Graves’ head, and she intends to do it alone. When the League try to convince her that going alone is a bad idea, the obviously upset Wonder Woman gets even more angry and turns on her teammates.
While the League scuffles in the middle of a public street, Graves somehow takes a video feed of their fight and broadcasts it to every screen on the Earth, cellphones, TVs, computers, you name it. Graves isn’t out to win against the League. He wants to destroy them and killing their public image is part of that revenge.
It’s not long before the League realize what’s happening and band together to formulate a plan of attack against Graves but when they travel to his place of origin in the Valley of Souls, they discover… well… that would be too many spoilers, eh?
I thought this was a tense and very well written issue from Geoff Johns who seems to do no wrong on the DC front these days (after last week’s amazing ‘Batman: Earth One’). And Graves is definitely a villain that I hope sticks around for a few bouts with the Justice League after this origin arc.
As good as that main story was, my favorite part of this issue is the backup story. I’m a huge ‘Shazam!’ (formerly known as Captain Marvel) fan and Geoff Johns’ reimagining of the character’s origin, while probably off-putting to some, is a wonderful way to bring the “gee whiz” mentality of the old Cap into the modern era.
In this issue, Dr. Sivana has just freed Black Adam from the cell where he was imprisoned by the Wizard Shazam and Black Adam proves himself to be just as ruthless as his pre-New 52 counterpart. Meanwhile, Billy Batson (not yet Shazam!) and Freddy Freeman are getting back at some rich bullies from earlier in the origin tale. When the bullies nearly catch Billy and Freddy, Billy shoves Freddy into a bush (to keep him safe because he can’t run with the crutches) and then leads the bullies away on a chase that ends in the subway. Yeah… I saw the origin turn coming as soon as he went down the subway entrance. In the subway, Billy escapes the bullies but ends up in a mystical cavern and delivers a single phrase that perfectly encapsulates the change that Johns has brought to the character, while paying homage to his past. Brilliant!
JUSTICE LEAGUE #11
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Jim Lee & Scott Williams
Backup Art by Gary Frank
Cover by Jim Lee & Scott Williams