Quick Hits: Reviews of Justice League #3, Batman #3 and Wonder Woman #3

Justice League #3

Justice League #3: Our heroes begin to unite their talents and form their iconic team as the armies of Darkseid strike against Earth and start abducting human beings for their own twisted ends. It’s a cool plot for the first arc of a flagship comic series, but unfortunately Justice League #3 is the weakest issue of this title yet. A lot of that’s due to Jim Lee’s art, which in many places here seems rushed, even incomplete. Lots of characters are drawn without detail and end up looking plain, which I imagine is the opposite of what you want from a Jim Lee book. He’s especially got a problem with women; Diana/Wonder Woman bears really no distinct features at all, and there’s a grade-school aged girl in this book that looks to be in her early 20s. On the flip side, a full-page spread of the Apokalyptian landscape totally rocks; maybe Jim was saving all his mojo for that one image here.

Geoff Johns’ script also stumbles more than I would expect; though once again the group scenes are great (I’m especially loving the colors Flash and Batman add to the book, and this is the most fun Superman you can find in the New 52), the opening Wonder Woman section is problematic; like her visual representation, the characterization she’s given is empty — though it doesn’t help this book’s case that Brian Azzarello’s doing amazing things with the character in Wonder Woman #3, also out this week. Johns can get away with broad characterizations when he’s got his cast in a team setting, but not so much when they’re on their own. That said, once the action starts coalescing towards the book’s end things get markedly better. However, I also feel that another editorial pass through this book would’ve helped a bit; there are some confusing panel transitions and at least one instance of amateurish writing that should’ve been edited out. B-

Batman #3: You know what I like about Scott Snyder’s Batman? He’s a smart guy. Every issue I learn stuff from Batman, stuff like the history of Gotham City, how various criminals operate and even the behavioral patterns of owls. He also comes up with cool ways to take out the bad guys every issue, like using a pint-sized magnet to mess with gangsters who’ve had metal plates soldered to their heads. It’s pretty awesome. Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman continues to be flawless, expertly weaving mystery, action and character development together to create a compelling read that feels substantial even at 20 pages. Beyond the obviously great story, every issue Capullo wows me more and more with his art, here pulling off some amazing tricks with perspective, shadow and panel structure. As Bruce Wayne furthers investigates the mystery of the Talon killer — who seems to be tied to the legacies of both the Wayne family and Gotham itself — I can’t wait to learn more. A superb read. A

Wonder Woman #3: Despite appearances  to the contrary in the first couple issues of this series, apparently Wonder Woman‘s giving us something of an origin story after all. Sure, at this point in her story Diana’s been established as a crusader for justice around the globe, and people everywhere already knows who she is, but as it happens Diana doesn’t actually know that much about herself. Some crazy personal revelations come to light in this fantastic issue by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang that sets Diana on a quest of rebellion and self-discovery. It’s a great twist in a series that’s already got a lot of positive stuff on its plate, and it makes Wonder Woman an incredibly sympathetic character despite her being basically a god — we probably all know what it’s like to have parents lie to us. As good as Azzarello’s story is, it’s met at every turn by Chiang’s top-notch art; there’s no doubt who between Chiang and Jim Lee presents the more compelling artistic representation of Wonder Woman this week, and it’s not even close. Folks, there is nothing wrong with this comic, except maybe that you’re not reading it. A

tags: batman, justice league, wonder woman

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