Justice League #9

I think I’m mostly reading this book for the Shazam backup stories, but there’s also a kind of thrill to be reading the flagship book for a whole comix universe.

Anyhow, this storyline, with superbadass Graves is really weird– because conceptually I think it’s great but on another level, it’s a mess and really panders to readers looking for something kool.

So, the good: the team as currently configured is very new, and the idea that there’d be someone who knows a lot more about them than they know about each other is very compelling. It shakes up the team dynamic in interesting ways, highlighting how right now, the team isn’t really a team but a bunch of strangers. And as this month’s issue shows, it’s also an elegant way to dump a lot on us– I loved the line about how Supes hovers in the air just a little above everyone, and the revelation that Bats and Supes have a side deal is also really fascinating.

In other words, Graves is just the right villain at this moment.

How ugly is that?

But his character design is so fucking ugly, it makes me feel silly. If his threat is knowledge, why does he need to have other people’s pained faces as part of his pumped-up musculature? It just looks silly, and I don’t even know what it means. And Graves’ motivations– which seem to be that superheroes don’t spend enough time fighting cancer or aging– are ridiculous. If he really knew a lot about these heroes, you think he’d know that, well, that’s not something you can really expect them to do.

It’s one half of a great storyline, and one half a total steaming turd. I don’t like to pick on old Wildstorm design tics, because it usually seems over-broad. But in this case, I don’t know– it seems on target.

Will Green Arrow save the day the way Connor did against Prometheus (or was that the Key?)?

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