In this issue, we get a little bit more background into what happened in the “missing five years” between the Justice League’s first story arc and everything that’s happened in this series since, specifically, after they fought Despero and was nearly destroyed by him. The one vital member that saved the day was J’Onn J’Onzz the Martian Manhunter, who then, for mysterious reasons, left the team. Now Despero has returned, but instead of finding his previous foes, he encounters the team’s new recruits, The Atom, Element Woman and Firestorm, who are no match for the telepathic brute. Also, one of these newbies is lying about their true identity and motivation.
This issue really works as an introduction to the new characters. Atom describes the wonky Element Woman as having “skin like chalk, hair like silly string, voice like a cartoon.” The last description is aided by all of EW’s word balloons being surrounded by pink bubbles, although, honestly I still wasn’t sure what to make of it. Also, the issue opens with EW picking up fast food for the League. The Atom actually narrates that entire storyline, so we get a bit more embellishment on her character as well, since she is brand new.
As for the core team, they are still reeling from the discovery that Batman’s cave was broken into and robbed of its Kryptonite, however, there is still no explanation of who committed the robbery or how they knew so efficiently how to locate it.
The art, I will be honest, was all over the place. The entire book was laid out by Zander Cannon, but then three different pencillers provided the finished art and their styles are wildly disparate. At no point is the art bad, mind you, it’s just extremely inconsistent.
So in all, it was wise to showcase the newcomers a bit, since only two of the three have made limited appearances up until now. You do get some fleshing out of the League’s history and some development between the characters. You also get a pretty major development that leads to a nod to the team’s former history, as well as a hint at the upcoming Trinity War storyline. So despite the crazy art, it was a pretty decent read.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #20
Written by Geoff Johns
Layouts by Zander Cannon
Pencils by Gene Ha, Andres Guinaldo and Joe Prado
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis