Note: This review will contain spoilers for Justice League #22
More than anything, this issue of Justice League is about Superman. Yes, characters from all three Justice Leagues play supporting roles, but, in this first chapter of Trinity War, we get an issue that is focused around Superman. What Geoff Johns does is spend time building him up as a force of good, before almost completely tearing him down towards the end of the issue.
For the most part, I really loved this issue. Like the last 10 or so issues, it elevates the book from being good to be really, really great. The reason for this is that Johns has spent a lot more time building great character moments. And there are lots of those great character moments in this issue.
Thankfully, we see Shazam again, and, really, he instigates the conflict by flying into Khandaq. The events leading to that are really a testament to how good of a person Billy Batson actually is, though, unlike Superman, he just hasn’t realized it yet. Upon entering Khandaq, he is descended upon by the Justice League, who want to get him out. In turn, this brings in the Justice League of America, in order to take out the Justice League.
At first, the book feels fragmented, trying to balance two Justice Leagues, plus the Madame Zanadu and Shazam side plots. At first, this was worrying, but, by the end, Geoff Johns ties it all together, as everything descends into chaos.
That being said, the first two thirds or so weren’t bad. Wonder Woman and Superman have a great moment discussing ethics, Doctor Light is surprisingly well developed, and we get to see the uncertainty among the members of the JLA. Honestly, it’s good to see that they’re hesitant about fighting the Justice League, because, at the end of the day, they’re all heroes. We also get to see the most Question we’ve seen in two years, and, needless to say, it was awesome.
Even though the issue’s third act ties everything together, it is also the part of the book that contains it’s biggest flaw: the character death. Yes, it was obvious that Superman wasn’t in control of himself when he did it. That wasn’t my problem with it. My problem was the fact that, of all people, though chose to kill Doctor Light. Sure, he was remarkably well developed in the space of a single issue, but none of these people have known him long enough to go berserk over his death. Also, he never really seemed all that important, so his death didn’t hit me that hard, other than he fact that the page looked brilliant.
Despite that being disappointing, it was still a great book, and an excellent start to DC’s first big event since the beginning of The New 52.