JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 features the return of Jim Lee on pencils and the beginning of the new featuring freshman villain Graves who’s had a few cameos in the past few JL issues. Sorry, but the name ‘Graves’ doesn't inspire much terror in me. But then again, I made fun of Anton Chigurh’s retro haircut in No Country for Old Men, and by the end of the first trailer he scared the crap out of me! So let’s see where this issue takes us, shall we?
We start with a flashback four years ago, where we find an enfeebled Graves near death as his doctor tells him to make his final arrangements. The whole time, Graves rants about how the Justice League can’t help him and how they are not gods. So he kills his doctor and sets out to show the world that the League are not gods.
In the present day, we see the League paired off in smaller missions, Batman, Superman and Cyborg containing another breakout in Arkham Asylum; Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern taking down the Weapons Master. During these missions, we see small flashbacks from the Leaguers’ pasts that shed more light on the characters.
- Clark Kent continues to pay the price of isolation amongst his co-workers in order to protect his Super secret. This has been the case for him even as a boy in Smallville.
- Batman remembers when he stopped by a child after his parents' death as Gotham critics think his efforts could do more good saving the world with the League on a regular basis. In their eyes, the Dark Knight is wasting his time on a city that has crime in its DNA.
- When he was normal, all Cyborg wanted was his dad's attention. Now the roles are reversed and Cyborg only wants his dad to shut up and upgrade his systems when needed.
You know, light and fluffy stuff like this.
Steve Trevor also gets a huge chunk of the spotlight, as he is the first person associated with the League to encounter the seemingly revitalized Graves—with rather tragic results. It seems that Graves’ goal is to expose the League and then destroy them. Never heard that plan from a villainous type before. How Graves plans to do this? Guess we have to wait and see next month!
We also get another Shazam short, which features Billy Batson still being surly toward everyone with a pulse. The difference this time is that he actually defends his newly adopted family against some school bullies. Meanwhile, the rather persistent archaeologist Sivana is in Iraq and takes the first step unlocking a not so friendly magic power. I'm sure it will be revealed how this ties into Captain Marvel.
Always good to see Jim Lee’s work in any capacity, though it was not his best work. As for the story, its far too early to have a firm opinion on Graves as we only know he is a former author with a grudge against the League. We haven’t seen exactly what his powers are or how he acquired them. Again, my judgment will be best reserved for when we get a fuller view of Graves' capabilities and his first encounter with the Justice League.
The Shazam stories are interesting, though young Billy Batson’s ‘asshole without a cause’ attitude is wearing thin. I’m not expecting a full personality transplant, but the kid needs to smoke a bowl or something. It was a small step to see him defend his new foster family. Again, we’ll see more next month. Till next time!