The Justice League Are The New Authority

Warning. There are mild spoilers for the new issue of Justice League in this article. I have avoided anything I consider major spoilers, instead concentrating on overall themes.

I’ve just read Justice League #7. It is likely that this book will be in less demand than the previous issue, as Jim Lee takes a break. And with Avengers Vs X-Men #0 around the corner, it is possible that Justice League will lose it’s six month record for being in the top spot of Diamond Comic Distributors charts.

Which is a shame as it’s by far the most interesting issue of the book so far.

Not that you’d know it from the first few pages. No longer set in the past, this is a Justice League in keeping with forty-eight of the other fifty one books, it’s a Justice League familiar with themselves and a world familiar with them as well. And they are facing a menace, which they summarily deal with, amidst a little bickering.

And that’s when things change.

We’ve just seen the release of the Superman Vs The Elite Direct-To-DVD cartoon, based on the What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice And The American Way issue of Superman by Joe Kelly, in which Superman faces down an analogue of The Authority to make the case against the wave of Authorityness that was sweeping across the superhero genre. The Authority, created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, was an early decompressed, widescreen comic with a team of self-appointed moral guardians of the planet, saving it from the bad guys. In a possibly too subtle note, the lead characters were the bad guys themselves, just up against something worse. And, as with The Punisher and Rorschach, the audience took to them, sometimes a tad too positively.

So just as the DVD has Superman fighting a version of The Authority, in this week’s issue of Justice League, Superman and his superfriends are a version of The Authority.

They act independently of government, even when suckling on its teat. They are autonomous weapons of mass destruction, that the American government distrusts and fears. And despite the good that they do, and the reaction of the audience, they are sloppy, lazy, self assured and… well, basically, the bad guys. It’s just there are worse things out there.

It’s a remarkable jump for the book, considering the franchises involved. What was once cutting edge has now become mainstream. There’s also some expert storytelling from Gene Ha, most visibly seen when Steve Trevor is video calling Wonder Woman. Subtle facial expression, strong panel placement, it also makes me long for the second half of Top Ten Season Two that Zander Cannon has written and thumbnailed, that Gene Ha is waiting for DC to let him draw. Come on DC!

The Geoff Johns/Gary Frank Shazam! back up strip also manages to turn the Billy Batson concept on its head, rather.While plenty is based in the past, fans of classic Billy are going to feel an instant revulsion. Indeed, they may be happier with Superior‘s recent take on the concept. I can’t help being intrigued, however, especially considering the background being set up.

Oh and yes, Jonathan Ross is in this comic as well. Is there a comic he isn’t in at the moment?

Justice League #7 is published today. Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics of London. David Hine will be signing The Darkness #101 there today at 5pm, with Darkness II game giveaways.

 

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