Buy NowDownload

Mild Mannered Reviews - Justice League Comics

Justice League of America #7 Justice League of America #7

Justice League of America #7

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 14, 2013

Cover date: October 2013

"Trinity War" - Chapter Four

Writer: Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Marc Deering, Doug Mahnke, and Walden Wong

Ralph Silver Reviewed by: Ralph Silver

Click to enlarge

Justice League of America #7 Justice League of America #7 Lex Luthor sits in prison, surrounded by visiting LexCorp employees who have been negotiating on his behalf. No doubt through chicanery or promises of favors, they have managed to elicit guarantees of freedom for Lex. He could be out of prison before the day is over, and back at the helm at LexCorp in no time. But Lex is unimpressed, and focuses instead on a Daily Planet headline that says, "Superman accused of manslaughter," and below that "Newest Member of the JLA Dead". That headline refers to the recent killing of Dr. Light using Superman's heat vision. Luthor is so fascinated by this newspaper story that nothing else seems to matter. He fires his minions on the spot.

Suddenly Luthor has another visitor, Pandora, who tries to get Luthor to open her enchanted box and free the world from evil.

At A.R.G.U.S. in Washington D.C., Plastique, a member of the Secret Society, manages to gain entrance to the morgue where the body of Dr. Light lies in a coffin. Someone at the Secret Society is communicating with her; asking her to prepare the body of Dr. Light for a "metamorphosis".

Amanda Waller notifies President Obama that Superman escaped and that the other heroes left with him because they now believe that someone other than Dr. Light is responsible for what happened to Superman.

In Pittsburgh, the evil Doctor Psycho is planning some mayhem. His powers include mind control, telepathy, and the ability to create illusions. He plans to use those powers to coerce some innocent victim, forcing them to brutally kill each other. But Martian Manhunter arrives with some members of the Justice League and the JLA to stop the carnage. Green Arrow draws his bow and arrow and takes aim at Dr. Psycho. But he is fooled by Dr. Psycho's mind control, and actually sends an explosive arrow hurtling towards Cyborg.

As Dr. Psycho uses this diversion to try to escape, Superman crashes in through a wall and blocks his exit. Superman is pale and very week. Since Dr. Psycho was in Kahndaq the day before the Justice League and the JLA arrived, Superman believes that Dr. Psycho may be responsible for his current affliction.

Superman is so weak; he collapses at the feet of Dr. Psycho. The villain takes the opportunity to probe Superman's mind, learning about his upbringing on the farm, including his secret identity. But Martian Manhunter is right there to erase the information immediately. Martian Manhunter begins to probe the mind of Dr. Psycho rather forcefully, to try to get some answers.

At the House of Mystery, headquarters of the Justice League Dark, Green Lantern (Simon Baz) is trying to use his ring to force his way in. But his constructs keep shattering on contact with the house. Catwoman has a better way to get in. Having heard that the house is "alive," Catwoman politely asks the house to unlock the front door, and it complies. The heroes enter. They are looking for the Phantom Stranger, so Catwoman asks an enchanted mirror where Phantom Stranger can be found. A live image of Phantom Stranger appears in the mirror. He has just spent time in a place between life and death. He attempted to interrogate the soul of Dr. Light there, but found no answers.

As Martian Manhunter continues to probe the mind of Dr. Psycho, he finds his answer. Dr. Psycho did not exert mind control over Superman. He had nothing to do with Superman's runaway heat vision. But he did reveal that he was sent to Kahndaq by the Secret Society, an important new clue. The Question asserts that this new piece of information has pointed the team in the right direction.

Atom, who is wracked with guilt, chooses this moment to confess to everyone that she has been spying on the Justice League for Amanda Waller. Atom feels responsible for what happened to Dr. Light and Superman. Emily Sung (Element Woman), who had befriended Atom, does not take this news well, feeling that their friendship was a lie. The Justice League members present are not happy to learn that the JLA was designed and formed basically to battle the Justice League if Amanda thought that was necessary. Many of the members of the JLA were not aware of this, but some were; and Superman is displeased. Superman asks Cyborg to transport them back to A.R.G.U.S. to confront Amanda Waller.

We switch scenes back to Luthor in prison with Pandora holding the box. Luthor is about to accept the box when Wonder Woman, accompanied by other heroes, arrives to claim it.

Phantom Stranger, still speaking from inside the mirror at JLD headquarters, tells Batman they will get answers if they find Madame Xanadu.

Suddenly, everything seems to happen at once. At the Secret Society headquarters, the leader gives the command to detonate the body of Dr. Light; and then a powerful explosion rocks the A.R.G.U.S. facility. At the House of Mystery, the image of Phantom Stranger disappears, and the heroes in the room fear for his safety. And in Luthor's prison cell, Wonder Woman grabs Pandora's enchanted box, lets out a shriek, is engulfed in supernatural energy, and then announces that the box has her in its control.

5Story - 5: The Trinity War continues to be a well-crafted, fascinating tale.

I am a big fan of team books; and this story arc is one for the record books. It neatly integrates the activities of three teams, each one having a variation of the name "Justice League". Also along for the ride are the villainous Secret Society, plus the Trinity of Sin. This story should feel very crowded, but it certainly does not; probably because telling it in six parts allows for an unhurried storytelling style with plenty of room to handle all of those characters.

At its heart, this story is a whodunnit; asking the question "What happened to Superman?". Several theories have already been presented and investigated. It was suggested at different times that Dr. Light's power to absorb light caused Superman's heat vision to run amok; that contact with Pandora's Box allowed occult forces to exert some control over Superman's mind, and thus his powers; that Dr. Psycho was somehow involved. But clues are now pointing in a new direction. Under aggressive mental probing from Martian Manhunter, Dr. Psycho reveals that the Secret Society sent him to Kahndaq as a diversion, to act as the fall guy. And separately, Phantom Stranger tells Batman to find and interrogate Madame Xanadu. Both those clues will lead the three Justice Leagues to the Secret Society, where answers and solutions will be found. And according to Phantom Stranger, Madame Xanadu can reveal the true nature of Pandora's Box.

Several important secrets were revealed this issue. Atom admitted that she was spying on the Justice League for Amanda Waller. Atom also revealed that the JLA members were recruited as a fail-safe against the Justice League, and that each JLA member was selected to match up in battle against a specific Justice League member. I wonder how these revelations will shape the future of the JLA, and the role that Atom will play.

I would like to make a couple of observations about characterization in this story. Martian Manhunter seems to be more aggressive than I remember him. Prior to the New 52, he was always rather polite. His penchant for Oreo cookies made him seem almost childlike. But now, we see him hacking away at the mind of Dr. Psycho using his telepathic abilities to probe rather aggressively. And he has willingly joined forces with the manipulative Amanda Waller, at least for now. He knew about the true nature of the JLA, yet joined anyway. This paints a picture of an aggressive and shady Martian Manhunter. I wonder if his personality will soften over time and be more like the hero I remember.

Shazam has been a disappointment to me. He does not appear anywhere in this issue, because last issue (Justice League Dark #22) he lost interest and left. Shazam's behavior in this arc could be described as petulant, immature, and unheroic.

Luthor's fascination with the headline about Superman was quite revealing. Superman is such an obsession for Lex Luthor, it drew Luthor's attention away from his minions and their efforts to free him. I guess Luthor figures he can break out of prison any time he wants.

The story moves to Justice League Dark next, and will be reviewed by Shawn Morrissey. I will be back for the conclusion, in Justice League #23.

5Art - 5: With so many characters to draw correctly, Doug Mahnke and his inkers do a fabulous job.

3Cover Art - 3: We have a crowded, haphazard cover; rather ordinary and unfocused. My only compliment is that I like the idea that you can put the covers together for a mural effect. We will see how it looks when all the pieces are in place.

2Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 2: Magic lightning is striking Batman, Catwoman, Flash, and others. This cover doesn't do much for me.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2013

February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2013.