By: Adam Basciano

“Now that the team’s origin story is complete, starting with this issue we shift to the present-day Justice League! What has changed? Who has joined the team since? Featuring artwork by Gene Ha, the story also reintroduces the team’s greatest champion: Steve Trevor!” (DC Comics)

In the past, “prelude” issues such as this tended to be nothing more than a meaningless waste of time.  Not surprisingly, guided by Geoff Johns even a prelude issue holds some importance.  This is the first issue of this title to be set in present day.  The public’s reaction to the Justice League is a complete 180 when compared with the inaugural story.  That is perfectly understandable given that 5 years has gone by, and the League has earned the public’s trust.   I actually prefer this, as it is a more naturalistic progression of the public’s perception of the team.  Not everyone has complete trust in the group, specifically the government. Thus they’ve  created  A.R.G.U.S. The group acts as a liaison between the superheroes and the government, under the direction of Col. Steve Trevor.  I appreciate the fact that Steve Trevor is being used in The New 52, especially given his prominence in” Flashpoint.” His mood swings in this issue suggest all is not well with Mr Trevor.  I also am thrilled that the team is using the satellite watchtower again.  I appreciate the fans who grew up with the “Hall of Justice” but my background lies with the Justice League animated series, and Grant Morrison’s run on the book, so I’m thrilled.  As much as I like Steve Trevor having a more prominent role, the whole A.R.G.U.S. thing seems like too much of a S.H.I.E.L.D. knock-off.  I also thought the villain of the issue was handled way too easily by the team.  To the point where I wonder if Superman and Wonder Woman could’ve handled this on their own.

The art was average in this issue.  With the exception of a few artists, that’s bound to happen when someone steps in for Jim Lee. Gene Ha had that unenviable task in this issue.  His art is not bad, it’s just a completely different style altogether.  It is very gritty and unpolished.  It would be better suited on something like “Justice League: Dark,” or one of the other books from “The Edge” family of titles.  Having said that, I really thought the splash page of the Justice League on the offensive taking down their enemy was impressive.  The fact that they were fighting in the rain made it even better. Is it me, or are superhero fights in the rain a rare occurence in comic books? I must admit, Gene Ha draws a great Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. That was his best work in the issue.

When I read that Jim Lee wouldn’t be penciling this issue, the warning light went on and I immediately thought…FILLER!  While this wasn’t as good as the previous issues of this series, it’s a good read.  It provides insight into the team’s new status quo and how they’re functioning as a unit with some experience.  Then there’s the tease of the unknown villain planing an attack on the JL using Steve Trevor, which should make the immediate future of this series quite interesting.  For those wondering, I will be reviewing the “Shazam” backup feature upon its completion, as single issue backups are rather short.

Overall Grade: 7/10