Justice League #17

by BradBabendir on February 20, 2013


In writing, be it for a movie, a novel, or in this case, a comic book, it’s always really easy to get characters into trouble. Bad things happen all the time, and it’s only expected to be amplified when you’re, say, the Justice League. Getting the characters out of the conflict, though, is not nearly as simple. Though many people were disappointed with the way “Death of the Family” came to a close, I pretty vehemently disagree. And I’d direct any of those dissenters to the “Throne of Atlantis” conclusion to see why.

(I don’t tend to care about spoilers in my reviews, but there are definitely going to be some here, as there really isn’t much of a way to effectively talk about it without them. So, you’ve been warned).

Justice League #17 has style and action in bounds but little to offer in terms of logical decision making or consistency, Batman and Aquaman being the worst offenders. The way the war comes to an end is entertaining and I have no problem giving Johns a fair amount of logical leeway in the the course of these events. The how isn’t necessarily important, but Arthur’s brother yields the throne, and Aquaman takes over. The battle scenes are nice and the tension is built well. It’s hard to convince the reader that Boston actually might be blown off the face of the earth, but Johns made it a believable plausibility with this book.

After the war, though, things start to get messy. Vulko comes to Aquaman, turns himself in, and says that he only started the war as a way to get Aquaman to retake the throne. Besides all of the problems with somebody actually wanting Aquaman on the throne (seriously, if even the king doesn’t want the damn job, he probably shouldn’t have it), it’s a fair enough scene. After that, though, things start to get a little shaky. Aquaman flips back and forth between being compassionate and being an incomprehensible dick, seemingly at will. His treating of his brother wasn’t really consistent with the character that Johns had created, and unless him being put back on the throne causes a drastic shift in who he is in the coming issues, the way he handled that isn’t going to sit well with me. Arthur condemning him to earth seems like a rather terrible move, as the Atlanteans see him as a martyr and will most definitely stir up some dust to get him out, and it isn’t like Aquaman or the Justice League really give half a shit about the legal system anyway. It was an odd move for Arthur to hand the punishment of his brother off to somebody else, and unless it pays major dividends, it won’t have been worth it.

    Then we get to Batman, and the single biggest “What the fuck?” moment I’ve had reading a comic book in quite a while. On the last page, Johns juxtaposes his setup for Justice League of America with Batman talking about new recruits for the Justice League... the first of which is Scarecrow. I don’t know how DC’s editing and approval process for storylines works, but this is a major gap that somebody should have caught. No Batman would consider bringing someone like that into the Justice League, and especially not The New 52 Batman, the one who just had all of the people that he holds close nearly ripped away and the one who has a son to take care of. It’s an explicable move, and it serves only to setup a bigger need for the Justice League of America.
    It’s an entertaining book, but Johns too easily forgoes character for excitement within its pages. Clearly something big is coming from his corner, as having control over Justice League and Justice League of America will eventually lead to an epic, but to end a big crossover event like this is a disappointment, especially when the first half of the book was good.

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