Review: Justice League Vol 4 – The Grid (The New 52) / Author: Geoff Johns / Artist: Ivan Reis / Publisher: DC / Release Date: April 15th
Theoretically the A-list version of the Justice League should be a guarantee of entertaining and enjoyable super hero comic book fun. The chemistry between the likes of Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman is well-trod ground with each of them taking very specific roles. With this sort of easy and recognisable characterisation, all that’s needed is a good story and the fun should flow.
It is thus slightly hard to understand quite why Justice League Vol. 4: The Grid is so bad. Certainly part of the reason is that it slots in with other storylines from the DC52 range and it does this very crudely. If you have been following other books such as the terribly named Justice League Dark and Aquaman then you’re probably familiar with Trinity War, a crossover event that features Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. If you’ve missed that element then you could buy the collected book, which might explain what’s going on in this volume. If you don’t have any of these products to hand then the middle of Justice League Vol. 4: The Grid will seem messy and barely comprehensible.
Another problem with the book is Geoff John’s handle on the main characters. The point of the DC52 relaunch was to reimagine DC’s iconic heroes for the modern day. Sadly the author’s take on Superman is so wildly inconsistent that when a major reveal occurs mid-book it is very hard to work out if this is out of character for Superman. Wonder Woman is similarly confused. Despite Brian Azzarello’s fantastic work in her own book, John’s has seemingly chosen to ignore this character development and presents the incredibly well-known hero as just another super-powered lady in a fancy costume, almost as if he hasn’t a clue how to write women.
Add to this that every single story element is almost a greatest hits of classic Justice League storylines and what we have here is an extremely disappointing mess. The artwork is slightly above average and at about the quality we’ve come to expect from DC. There is no charm or radical change in style, simply workman-like art that is so familiar and safe that it’s barely noticeable. This is a book that will only please the hardcore fans and completists.