Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Paul's Picks! - Dec. 21

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week.

Justice League #4 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

Fish-man no more!
First of all, Merry Christmas! Well, almost. I'm sure many of you are just getting settled in for the holidays, and what better way to kick back than with a nice stack of comics? At least, that's the first thing I did when I arrived at the parents for the weekend, and man was I in for a treat! Not one of my pulls this week were a let down. As a matter of fact, any of them could easily have wound up as my favorite this week. Azzarello's Wonder Woman was great as usual, Snyder continues to blow my mind in Batman, and this was probably the best issue of TMNT yet. Sadly, there can be only one, and the inevitable winner this week is the fourth issue of the Johns/Lee Justice League!

Regardless of your feelings about this series so far, you have to admit that this book has been all kinds of fun. When you put Johns and Lee on the cover, people are going to expect something mind blowing, so when they get just good or even borderline great, it seems to fall a little short. In one issue the art wouldn't quite hit the mark, and in the next the art would be crazy good but the writing would get bogged down. With issue #4 however, everything has finally lined up just right, and I have to admit, I got cold chills. Where Geoff's dialogue has been hit or miss so far, he was hitting the right strings this month with some very funny lines between the newly introduced leaguers. On the other hand, the sequences between Victor Stone and his dad were very emotionally charged, striking all the right nerves.

However, although this issue seemed like improvements all around for me, it was the storyline that gave it the extra push it needed to rise to the top. I don't want to be too spoiler heavy, but this book had more than one moment that made me want to high five someone. No doubt if you had been sitting in the room with me, you would've questioned my sanity as I laughed aloud and mumbled to myself throughout the time I spent reading the issue. If that's not a testament of my love for the book, then nothing is.

That's one dead Parademon...
So what was so great? Well a certain awesome villain makes an appearance, not to mention a last panel that gave me goose flesh. Also, I just want to give Geoff and Jim their props for making Aquaman one bad freaking dude. Geoff is trying to chip away at the prejudice around the guy in his title series, but the first appearance he makes in JL removes all doubt that this guy truly deserves his spot. There's this one particular part with sharks eating Parademons... Well, you'll just have to go check it out yourself.

One thing I love about this book is how they are trying to define and redefine these characters for the New 52 generation. It's amazing how in just a few panels of dialogue, Johns has begun to build our perception of these characters individually, from GL and his ham-ishness to Batman and his undeniable bad-to-the-bone personality. The fact is, if you're a comics fan and you're not reading Justice League, you may well be missing out on one of those stories that is going to be passed around and talked about for years to come. Don't shy away from the bandwagon, this book is breaking records for a reason.

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