Justice League of America #7.4 by Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates (Comics Review)

As of writing this review, I’ve read 6 of the new Villain’s Month releases for this week and of all of them, only Justice League of America #7.4 has been any good. This is an issue I’ve been waiting for a long time and for some several damn good reasons. In Geoff’s backups for the Justice League comics, Black Adam came to be a villain that I really enjoyed reading about and he had a great outing in Justice League #21, which was very much a premier issue for both Shazam and Black Adam.

The Justice League and Justice League of America Villain’s Month titles have been mostly lackluster so far, either due to a lack of good writing or because they featured non-major characters such as Dial E and Killer Frost and Shadowthief. Only Matt Kindt’s Deadshot and now Geoff and Sterling’s Black Adam have made any kind of an impression on me.

JLA 07.4Let me say it one more time: I love Black Adam as a character, especially the way that he has been portrayed in the New 52 by Geoff Johns in the pages of Justice League. In #21, we got to see a huge showdown between him and Shazam, one which stands out as one of the best super-battles in DC’s New 52. And then, in #22, we saw how Black Adam’s death inadvertently leads to Trinity War when Shazam flies into Kahndaq to lay Black Adam’s ashes to rest in his homeland. Which brings us full-circle to this issue, which has to be one of the best issues of Villain’s Month, by fear.

This is no origin issue, and I find that just the slightest bit off-putting. I would have absolutely loved to see how Black Adam became the villain that he is, how he gained his powers and how ultimately he was defeated for the first time. That would have been excellent, but I suppose since we see a lot of his backstory in Justice League #21, so that might have been a bit redundant. All the same, what Geoff Johns and current Vibe writer do here in this issue is the next best thing: they give us flashbacks of what life was like in Kahndaq four thousand years ago and how Black Adam’s arrival changed the landscape forever, how he freed the nation and give it a champion.

I absolutely loved this issue. After a straight five disappointments of today’s releases, I was pretty desperate to read something good, and this issue came up at just the right time for me. Told largely from the perspective of a Kahndaq national, Amon, the story shows us what life in the country is right now, what trials and tribulations the people are suffering under their American puppet ruler, someone who has taken the name of one of Kahndaq’s most hated enemies (from 4,000 years ago no less). We see how the Sons of Adam, true disciples of Black Adam who are looking to resurrect him following his death at Shazam’s hands. We see how the country is undergoing a revolution, and in the midst of it all, we see what kind of lasting effects exist, thanks to Black Adam.

The story is extremely fast-paced, with lots of nice backstory on the featured character, done in an “outsider’s perspective” style, and I definitely had a blast reading it. Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates have a really good handle on Black Adam and the way they script the issue, it reminds me of the Justice League backups by Geoff which introduced the character to the New 52 in the first place. And given the amazing cliffhanger ending, which is set at the same time as the events of Forever Evil #1 where the Crime Syndicate’s message of “This World Is Ours” flashes on every electronic screen in the world, and gives us Black Adam’s reaction, I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for the character.

There are four artists on the issue: Edgar Salazar as the penciller, Jay Leisten as the inker, Gabe Eltaeb as the colourist and Steve Wands as the letterer. This is the first issue from Edgar Salazar that I’ve read (far as I can tell), and I have to say that his pencilwork is pretty much spot-on. His panels are extremely detailed and extremely varied. And his panel layouts help with the pacing of the issue quite a bit as well. He has a good eye for how to move the script along, and it shows. With Jay and Gabe and Steve, the issue takes on a wholly different feel, and helps make the issue stand-out. I’m familiar with Gabe from his work on Brian Wood’s Star Wars and the guy is as good here as he is there. Totally on form.

Apart from a well-written comic, Justice League of America #7.4 is also a well-drawn comic. And there are definitely no negatives to it. Nothing I picked up, at any rate.

Rating: 10/10

More Justice League of America: #1, #2-4, #6-7

Posted on September 25, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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