Renegade Rack: Justice League: The Villain’s Journey

Justice League
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Justice League: The Villain’s Journey

Background

Last week, we looked at the first book in the Justice League New DC 52 series and learned how they formed. This week, we see them in the present day of the DC Comics universe as they face a man who believes they ruined his life.

Review

A lot of things happened since we last saw the Justice League. We get all of it in conversation, so if you skip dialogue, you missed a lot of information. The biggest info I will reveal here is that Martian Manhunter became a member but betrayed the team. That information will come back in later books.

There is one thing that bothers me about how this book starts. The Justice League has been together for a few years but they still act like individuals. Green Lantern and Flash still ignore Batman’s orders and Aquaman still disagrees about who should be the leader. This would all make sense in their first year, but this book takes place long enough after their first meeting that it should be worked out by now. That was just writing like a continuing book, and was a mistake on Geoff Johns’ part.

On to this story, the first thing we see here is that the government wants to control the team, or at the very least learn all of their secrets. The only person standing in the way is Steve Trevor, who is their liaison to the government. This is a theme that will run through the series as they try to do everything they can to save the world, but the powers that be refuses to trust them.

Then, we move on to the main story and the reason for the very creative “Villain’s Journey” title. Of course, a Hero’s Journey is what it is called when a man rises against all odds to overcome evil and become a hero. This book does the exact opposite. That man is David Graves.


At the end of the first book, when people were starting to fall in love with the Justice League, David Graves wrote a book about the group and helped not only make them stars but named the team through his book. He was the biggest fan of the team and believed they came to the Earth to save humanity from evil. However, thanks to the battle with Darkseid, many people died and both Graves and his wife and children were cancer stricken thanks to the fallout.

Graves lost his family and he is dying and he blames the Justice League. It is a perfect story and something that is poignant and tragic. Honestly, Justice League just takes a huge step up in this second book.

This is also where the distrust of the Justice League starts to rise. Graves plan is to prove to the world that the team that he praised so much was fallible and the world couldn’t really trust them in the end. To do this, he looked for their weaknesses. Wonder Woman’s weakness was her relationship with Steve Trevor, so he took Trevor from her. That caused her and Lantern to fight in public as he tried to stop her from committing murder.

There was also some great character development as Cyborg starts to believe he is really dead and just a robot who thinks he is alive. By the end, the biggest twist of all comes when Wonder Woman finally pushed Trevor away for good and then starts a relationship with Superman. This was also the issue where Green Lantern quit the team to take the blame for the big fight with Wonder Woman in the eyes of the public.

I also loved the fact that Green Arrow was doing everything he possibly could to convince the Justice League to let him in, but they wouldn’t budge. No matter what he did to help them, they continued to say no. It also didn’t help that Aquaman seemed to hate Green Arrow for a mysterious reason. The Green Arrow moments were just gold. This is also where we see that Martian Manhunter was once allowed membership, which went very wrong, a story that will hopefully be told one day.

There was a prologue where Pandora begins to put into motion what will eventually turn into the Trinity War.

Next Week’s Preview

Next week, a war with Atlantis begins.

As always, if you have any ideas for books you want to see reviewed in the Renegade Rack or you are an independent comic book creator with a book you would like considered, feel free to get in touch with me either in the comments or drop me an email.

Until next week, keep reading.

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
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