Justice League (vol. 2) #3

Standard Cover

Solicitation Blurb

The superstar team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee continue to make history as they unleash the amazing Amazon, Wonder Woman, who joins the battle against a bizarre threat! And the not-yet World’s Greatest Heroes need all the help they can get!
This issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of the issue.

Quotes

Wonder Woman
Steve, this place, your home, is filled with so many wonderful things. Ice cream and rock and roll and… many wonderful things. But there is also a darkness that lurks here too. One I’m going to fight. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why I’m staying. To fight.

Innocent bystander
Don’t hurt me!
Flash
I’m only here to help, Ma’am.

Wonder Woman
CREATURES OF EVIL! BACK TO HADES!
Flash
Uh… wow.
Green Lantern
Dibs.

Synopsis "Justice League -- Part Three"

Main Story: “Justice League — Part Three” (22-pages)

Previously: It is five years ago and Earth’s newly emerged superheroes are feared by a populice who cannot yet tell them apart from the super villains. During their first team-up, Gotham City’s Batman and Coast City’s Green Lantern find themselves fighting a Para-Demon. They follow-up the possibility that it is an alien creature by questioning the “alien” Superman in Metropolis. A misunderstanding between them leads to a brawl and Green Lantern calls in the Flash to back them up. The four heroes have only just got their personal misunderstandings sorted out when a Mother Box they seized from the first Para-Demon starts “pinging”. A massive Boom Tube suddenly opens and a hoard of Para-Demons pour through. A second portal opens in STAR Labs, Detroit severely injuring Victor Stone, the son of Silas Stone, a scientist who had been studying the alien Boxes.

Diana, the Wonder Woman from a society of immortal Amazons, had come to Man’s World to bring search-and-rescue pilot Colonel Steve Trevor back home. Her arrival and her eagerness to battle monsters has played into the general public hysteria surrounding the emerging super-humans. Wonder Woman had been a “guest” of Trevor’s superiors at the Pentagon, but she goes AWOL to investigate reports of a flying monster. Along the way she discovers the delights of “ice cream” from a young child. However, her conversation with Trevor is cut short when a third Boom Tube disgorges Para-Demons over Washington. Diana tells Trevor, “But this is a fight. Excellent! Leave them to me.”

Other Boom Tubes have opened across the world. In Detroit, the monsters have kidnapped most of the occupants of STAR Labs. Doctor Silas Stone and his colleagues Sarah Charles and Thomas Morrow are left behind to try and save the life of Silas’s son Victor. His body is still smouldering with an unidentified energy as the scientists get Victor into STAR Lab’s Red Room — the store house where Silas has gathered recovered alien and super-human technology from around the world. They hurriedly replace Victor’s damaged body parts — using promethum skin grafts, motors, and nanite regulated biology — in a desperate attempt to rebuild him before his entire biology is consumed by the fire-like energy. Victor’s mind races as he makes contact with the technology that is rapidly becoming part of his body. Through the cybernetic link he sees nightmarish face of the Para-Demon’s master.

In Metropolis, Batman, Green Lantern, the Flash, and Superman are still battling against the Para-Demon hoard. They have also noticed that the creatures are carrying away rather than killing their foes. Wonder Woman joins them after following the Washington hoard to Metropolis. The growing band of heroes continues to follow the Para-Demons to the edge of the ocean, but a booming sound signals that another gateway has opened. A massive alien fortress (a Para-Demon Hive) appears in Metropolis harbour. They barely have time to contemplate its arrival, before a green-and-orange clad Aquaman climbs out of the harbour and tells them “They were in the water too.”

Text Piece: “The Secret History of Atlantis” (4-pages)

The opening pages of a book called “The Secret History of Atlantis” by a writer called David Graves. He mentions Dane Dorrance of the Sea Devils and a scientist called Dr Stephen Shin. His series of books includes one on the Justice League called “Gods Among Us”.

Justice League Sketchbook (2-pages)

Character designs and notes for Green Lantern.

Continuity

  • Steve Trevor is Wonder Woman’s Pentagon Liaison.
  • Thomas Morrow and Anthony Ivo worked for STAR Labs in Detroit at the time the Justice League formed. Morrow participated in the creation of Cyborg.

Commentary

Covers and Variant Editions

This issue shipped with three first print covers. The regular cover and combo cover featured identical Jim Lee art, but different colour trade dress. There was a normal 1:25 variant cover by Greg Capullo and a 1:200 retailer exclusive featuring the pencils of Jim Lee’s regular cover. All the variant covers are included in the digital edition.

Jim Lee revealed at Comic-Con International 2012 that he used his wife as artistic reference for this issue’s cover. The cover shows Wonder Woman holding aloft a Para-Demon whilst partially kneeling. Lee asked his wife to pose for him so he could get the pose correct (“bent knees are tricky”).

Editorial Changes

Darren Shan (not the vampire author) becomes assistant editor as associate editor Rex Ogle leaves for DC to work with Harry Potter publisher Scholastic. Brain Cunningham replaces Eddie Berganza as Editor.

Sales

Justice League remained the stop selling comic book of the month.



Source Date Chart Units Notes
ICv2Nov 20111158700Est. Units. Normal
ICv2Nov 20111809979Est. Units. Combo Pack
ICv2 Total 168679 Est. Units

Opinion

My Thoughts

Justice League (vol. 2) #3 (Jan 2012) -- Reviewd by ()

I find the Wonder Woman’s first meeting of the other heroes rather telling. Back during the 1980s reboot she popped-up to punch a robotic dog (another Darkseid plot) in Legends, but vanished before Superman could ask who she was. This Wonder Woman smashes straight into the middle of the combat, and for that matter the banter, and doesn’t feel the need to demurely runaway afterwards. She is also younger than we’ve seen her portrayed in the past; Diana still has a chip on her shoulder about being treated as a child by the other Amazons. She is in awe of some aspects of Steve Trevor’s world, but she’s not naive about evil or about the need to fight monsters. This Diana has the enthusiasm for the fight that her older, normal DCU version has tempered with experience and the knowledge that a peaceful approach is usually the better choice (if available).

DC have been hunting for a persona for Wonder Woman for years and this one fits as well as any other they’ve tried. The Perez version was very regal, but over time had evolved into something almost untouchable and perfect. Gail Simone’s post-Infinite Crisis version brought a greater breadth to the character and showed a woman who was able to enjoy her work at times. The version presented here extrapolates that version further and shows an inexperienced Wonder Woman who is as eager to wade into battle as Hercules ever was. She isn’t unrecognisable, but there is certainly a long road between this character the more mature version we’re use to.

Jim Lee’s art is great as ever. The opening Wonder Woman sequence reminded me a lot of John Byrne’s style and his run on the character – particularly the camera angle on the second page. However, there are a number of inconsistencies in the way Wonder Woman is drawn. Her face changes quite a bit from panel-to-panel and she goes from wearing heals on page three to wearing flats on page four. I’m not sure why this issue need three different colourists, but the final work isn’t discernible from Alex Sinclair’s usual high-standards.

This is really comes down to the group of four male heroes treading water with even Superman’s stunts had beginning to feel routine. Its Wonder Woman’s scenes that carry the issue and give a boost away from the all-boy-club we’d had so far.

½.

Surveying the Internets

The third instalment of the new Justice League sees the introduction of the post-Flashpoint Wonder Woman and Aquaman. This series feels like it’s really getting into its stride. Mart Gray says this issue provides a “solid mix of story advancement, characterisation and action”, while the Heretic calls it “pretty hefty”, and Erik Norris (IGN) says it delivers on the promise of being “DC’s blockbuster action title”. Even CBR, which called last issue “weak”, says that the creative team have “found their groove” with this third issue.

Minhquan Nguyen picks up on the apparent youthfulness of the character’s dialogue:

…it should come as no surprise how the interaction among the “Leaguers” (since officially, they’re not a League of anything just yet) feels almost like the banter you’d expect more from the Teen Titans or Young Justice.

The comparison works well as these guys (except for the Batman) don’t yet have that focus which experience beings. However… I’m sorry, but this Hal Jordan is such a jerk. Desite Andy Hunsaker saying Hal’s “douchebaggery is at a minimum” Hal’s comment about Wonder Woman (“Dibs”) is undeniably crass (even by the low stands he’s set himself in this series). I didn’t mind the jerk version of Hal (and even defended it in the first two issues), but the joke is starting to wear rather thin. I’m beginning to wonder if they haven’t swapped Hal out of Guy Gardner.

Verdicts

Stars
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TypeSiteReviewerRatingEquivalent
Grand Average 80.1%
Character Site The Captain's JLA Homepage Jason Kirk 3.5/5
Digital Comics Comixology 626 4/5
Reviews Portal Comic Book Resources Greg Elhatton 3.5/5
Reviews Portal Comic Vine (staff) Tony Guerrero 4/5
Reviews Portal Comics Bulletin Sunday Slugfest 3.0 & 3.5 & 3.0/5.0
Reviews Portal IGN Erik Norris 8.5/10
Reviews Portal Inside Pulse RJ Schwabe 8.5/10
Reviews Portal Newsarama David Pepose 6/10
Community Site Comic Vine 12 reviews 4.0/5
Community Site iFanboy 4.1/5
Magazine Crave Online Andy Hunsaker 7.5/10
Magazine Under the Radar Kyle Lemmon 7/10
Blogs A Comic Book Blog ACB 90%
Blogs Captain Bloggington Wade Christian 4/5
Blogs Comic Book Movie Destroyer14 9/10
Blogs Comic Revolution Emma Coverdale B+
Blogs cxPulp Blake Petit 4.5/5
Blogs Eye on Comics Don MacPherson 5/10
Blogs Fandom Post Chris Beveridge B+
Blogs Funks House of Geekery Super Marcy 3.5/5
Blogs Game FOB Joe T 9/10
Blogs Heretical Jargon Jimmy Trapp 10/10
Blogs Major Spoilers Stephen Schleicher 4/5
Blogs Modern Media Myth Sean Gerber 5/5
Blogs Multiversity Comics Brian Salvatore 6/10
Blogs My Comic Book Blog Dan Rovito 95%
Blogs Razer Fine Reviews Alan Rapp 4/5
Blogs Weekly Comic Book Review Minhquan Nguyen B
Blogs World of Black Heroes World of Black Heroes 3.5/5
Character Site Batman-News Andrew Asberry 8.5/10
Character Site Batman On Film Chris Clow A
Character Site Gotham Knights Online Brendan 5/5
Character Site Superman Homepage Ralph Silver 5/5

Annotations

Page 1. It looks like the West-borough Baptist Church are protesting at Wonder Woman in the DC Universe.

Colonel Steve Trevor is Wonder Woman’s Lois Lane. He first appeared alongside Wonder Woman in All-Star Comics #8 (Dec 1941). His exact purpose in her stories has changed over the years, but he is generally her excuse to become a superhero. In most tellings he’s a US pilot who crash lands on the Amazon’s mythical island home and has to be escorted back to Man’s World. Wonder Woman accompanies him and uses her Amazonian powers and skills to fight evil.

Mister Orr, first name unrevealed, is the man in charge of the troops who Steve Trevor is talking to. He is a mysterious black-ops mercenary who appeared in Jim Lee’s run on Superman and in the Lex Luthor: Man of Steel mini-series working for Lex Luthor. He was responsible for the creation of a couple of generations of OMAC prototype and general nastiness.

Page 2. Wonder Woman was created by psychologist William Moulton Marston All-Star Comics #8 (Dec 1941) in response to the apparent lack of female role models in the nascent comic book industry. Marston is famous as the inventor of the lie-detector – an invention that he invoked by giving Wonder Woman a Lasso of Truth which compels people to tell no lies. The Lasso also drew on Marston’s more colourful theories about how it was women’s place to pacify men via the bonds of love. Those pacifying bonds are made manifest by the Lasso, but were played up to such a degree that early Wonder Woman comics are known for having a certain bondage/domination subtext. The flavour of those early stories didn’t survive past Marston’s death and DC’s desperate attempts to make Wonder Woman appear as non-threatening (to men) as possible.

The Wonder Woman character languished for decades until George Perez completely restarted her history with Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #1 (Feb 1987). The latest relaunch by Brian Azzarello and Chiff Chiang is part of the New 52 and stays pretty true to the Perez version of the character. It nevertheless draws on a more Earthy and horror based version of the Greek myths than the toga-wearing academic version used in the 1980s.

A subtle development since the 1980s has been the evolution of Wonder Woman’s approach to lethal force as compared to that of her equals in the DC Universe. Her mythological origin gives her a parallel as a monster killer like Hercules. She sees nothing wrong in beheading monsters like Medusa or even humans like Maxwell Lord when she considers them to be monsters. Its not something she does casually or even frequently, but her willingness to cross that line puts her diametrically at odds with Batman.

Diana is asking about a Harpy. In Greek mythology a harpy was a monster who had the torso and head of a woman and the limbs of a eagle.

Page 4. Wonder Woman’s mother would be Queen Hippolyta. Steve Trevor is Wonder Woman’s Pentagon Liaison.

Page 5.

Wonder Woman’s moral willingness to use lethal force is externalised here by her carrying of a sword. This particular shape is, in keeping with the origin’s of Diana’s society, an ancient Greek design similar to that used by Hoplite infantry. It is similar to the replicas created by Windlass Steelcrafts.

Page 6. Two long-standing DC scientist super-villains are revealed to have been working at STAR Labs, Detroit at the time of Darkseid’s attack. The first is Professor Ivo, the inventor of Amazo, who is carried away by the Para-Demons. The other is T.O. Morrow who is the creator of the Red Tornado and his siblings.

Page 10-11. A little bit of an oddity here. Superman is shown using the truck as a weapon as he dismembers the Para-Demons. Its fairly graphic and obvious that Superman is killing these things left-right-and-centre. However, it isn’t entirely clear whether they are alive. They have teeth and spew a blood-like liquid when mangled, but they also show machine-like interface surfaces when parts are hacked off (e.g. the one at Wonder Woman’s feet on page 16).

Page 12. The question is posed: if Morrow and Stone shouldn’t be in the Red Room, who should? I can’t help but question the link between Morrow in the Red Room and the eventually emergence of the Red Tornado.

Page 18. The transformation of Victor Stone into Cyborg. Promethium is a metal from the original run of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans. It was a metal which had miraculous abilities to absorb energy. Nanites are tiny machines which operate inside individual cells. They are an important part in the mythology of Star Trek’s Borg and somewhere along the line made the jump into DC’s Cyborg. Grafting cybernetic parts, even if they really existed, onto a real person would take hundreds of hours of delicate surgical procedures, but we’re shown here that Cyborg’s creation was as much battlefield expedience as it was a deliberate plan by his father.

Page 19. The first glimpse of the New 52 Darkseid:

Page 22. The first appearance of the New 52 Aquaman and they appear to have recruited him from the 1970s (nice sideburns).

Page 24. The Secret History of Atlantis text-piece. Its author David Graves was mentioned in last issue’s text piece when Amanda Waller asked if Steve Trevor has ever heard of him. In the week of this issue’s publication DC’s official Twitter channel post the tweet:

@DCComics Signing of THE JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AMONG US by superstar author David #Graves is canceled.

Page 25. “South Orange” is in New Jersey. The first lending date of this book, Dec 2006, is five years ago and is contemporary with this story. However, the copyright date at the bottom shows this book was actually first “published” ten years ago.

Page 26. Graves other books allude to “real” world paranormal cases. “The Yonaguni Pyramid” is in the waters off of Japan. Kaliasa is a temple to Shiva cut into rock in India. The Belmez Faces appeared in a house in Spain.

Page 28. The Graves Foreword name checks two other specialists: Dr Stephen Shin and Dane Dorrance. Dorrance is the leader of a team of divers and explorers called the Sea Devils. Shin is a new character who is mentioned here first and appeared several weeks later in Aquaman #3. Aquaman reluctantly consults Shin about a newly appeared subaquatic race, but he also tells Mera that Shin has become obsessed with finding Atlantis. Shin’s obsession started after he was consulted on the young Arthur Curry’s developing aquatic powers.