JUSTICE LEAGUE #22
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Rod Reis, Joe Prado and Oclair Albert
Release Date: July 10, 2013
The long-awaited Trinity War launches in spectacular fashion today with what is easily Geoff Johns’ finest work since the start of the New 52. Three Justice Leagues. Three mysterious ageless sinners. Three heroes we’re getting to know all over again after three-quarters of a century. And yet, as Madame Xanadu soon discovers, none of these triads are the true Trinity the title itself refers to.
And honestly, if that was the only surprise in this issue, I would have been sold on that fact alone. What Johns and company deliver, however, is a packed launch to what promises to be so much more than the beat-em-up free for all that early speculation made this mini-event out to be. From the very first page of the issue, we begin to see a mystery unfold that has been in the book all along, pulling together threads from as early as Justice League #6 onwards. The point-of-view characters throughout shift deftly in typical Johnsian event-style, moving from Xanadu’s overarching monologue (with ominous use of the tarot card motif) to new heroes Doctor Light and the Atom, to power couple Superman and Wonder Woman — gathering beautiful characterization along the way that supercedes anything we’ve seen in the New 52 to date with these marquee heroes. And with the latter two, in particular, we’re seeing evidence of the same sort of thinking and debate that has sparked the internet like wildfire the last three weeks, right on the page. The timing for this story could not be better.
Ivan and Rod Reis, Prado and Albert display a magnificent love for every character within these pages, highlighting each member of the two main Leagues so effectively that even relative background figures like Element Woman and Martian Manhunter each get their momentary instance to shine. Justice League has always been a book chock-full of single and double page spreads meant to impress the reader, but the level of detail these gentlemen are putting into every panel, large or small, have evolved this title from one that takes three minutes to flip through to one worth pouring over for extended periods of time. They manage to pick up from Gary Frank’s deft performance on the Shazam back-ups with ease, integrating the completion of that story directly into the start of this story without missing a beat. In the end, the art team’s greatest accomplishment is to balance Johns’ ability to cram a million details into a single story without feeling forced or artificial. These guys were made to work together on a project just like this, no question about it.
In the end, it’s a true testament to the contents of this issue that I am literally dying to get online (as undoubtedly many will within the next few hours) and scream my thoughts and personal theories about where Trinity War is leading. Not only do we get a name to the mysterious villain behind the Secret Society, but after completing this issue, I’m 99% certain that he’s really the _____________ from ______________! What Superman does is crazy, but it’s obvious that it happened because ____________’s _____________ work like they do. And are we supposed to infer now that ____________ ____________ Jr. was from ___________ all this time? You’re starting to see my dilemma. Take my advice. Buy this issue and revel in its accomplished twists and turns, gorgeous art, and maddeningly brilliant set-up for what is guaranteed to kick the DC Universe to its next level of pure excitement and honest-to-god jaw-dropping significance. You’ll be glad you did.
The Verdict: 10/10
And if you haven’t been reading Justice League to date, or just want to see a fantastic trailer for the start of this event, check out what Geoff Johns has to say about what you can expect out of Trinity War: