Comic Book Review: "Justice League #8: Team Up: Green Arrow"
DC Comics New 52 Justice League keeps things interesting with their first team up: It’s with Green Arrow. This team up story, by Geoff Johns, with art by Carlos D’Anda, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado, gives us some interesting insight into the team’s dynamics. The team is a close-knit group and for good reason. We get to see what’s kept them from wanting to include other members and they’re concerns with wannabe heroes trying to muscle their way into the team. Although this issue has a bit of humor in it, it does show the inner working of Queen’s motivation for wanting to join the team. Also, we get another small helping of Billy Batson AKA Shazam in the backup story.
Issue 8, “Team Up: Green Arrow”, starts with Steve Trevor stands in front of a congressional panel. They want the justice league to add another member. He says what they really want in a “plant” and spy to keep an eye on the group and report back to them. They repudiate this saying that they want a respected member. He asks if there is such a person who is as respectable as Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman.
The Justice League has just defeated Amazo, one of Dr. Ivo’s robot menaces. Cyborg offers to transport him to the Red Room at S.T.A.R. Labs. Flash points out that Cyborgs transport can teleport them to Apokolips if it’s overloaded (which has happened twice now), and Amazo equal four people. But Cyborg says that it only happen once every 1 out of 1000.
In the middle of the argument, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) shows up. He is amazed that the Justice League, and himself, has just defeated a very bad robot. Green Lantern demands to know what he’s a talking about. How did Green Arrow help take down Amazo? Oliver turns Amazo over on his stomach and shows the arrow stuck in his backside. Woman Wonder commends him on a valiant effect. He is automatically smitten by her and introduces himself as the world’s greatest archer and a candidate for the Justice league. They don’t take kindly to his imposition.
Green Lantern says they already have someone who can’t do anything (Batman), but Superman points out that the underdog always surprises you. Aquaman is adamantly against Green Arrow becoming a member. Cyborg asks if Aquaman knows Green Arrow. Green Arrow answers, “Does He Ever”. Aquaman tells him to go away. Green Arrow begs for a trail period, but Green Lantern says they already have a “green” guy on the team. He tells him to change his name, as the team teleport away from the battlefield.
A week later, Cyborg and the rest of the team are on plane fighting a group of assassins known as Talons who are agents of a shadowy group called the Court of Owls. As they’re fighting the assassins as the plane is flying Green Arrow somehow shows up and help the team. They ask how he got on the plane. He says he was in the area. Aquaman say they don’t need his help. He replies that he didn’t need Aquaman’s help to get off that island. The rest of the team asks about the island; Green Arrow says it’s a long story. One of the Talons explodes a grenade, blasting a huge hole in the plane. Green Lantern uses he ring to create green bubbles to save everyone. Green arrow asks if he’s on the team now. They drops Green Arrow off in the middle of the desert; he asks if they couldn’t, at least, have left him at a bus stop.
Another week later, the team is fighting a group of cultists. An explosion of gas knocks out the villains. Everyone think it was Batman’s doing, but it was really Green Arrow’s. A group of bystanders are taking pictures and asking if Green Arrow is a new member. Green Lantern says, “No, he’s just an overzealous fan.” Aquaman tells him to stop following them or the two of them will pick up where they left off. The news is reporting the Justice League defeating the cultists. Green Arrow, at his hideout, angrily that he’s left out of the credit. Steve Trevor shows up, he knows he’s Oliver Queen and where he’s base is. He knows that he’s done a lot of criminal things in the past that he’s trying to make up for. That’s why his been so persistent with the Justice League. Trevor tells him that the League won’t let anyone join the team, it’s about him. Trevor tells Oliver that if he wants a team to help him redeem himself, he has another group that’s more his speed. Oliver can’t wait.
At the Watchtower, the team is discussing the possibility of more members. Aquaman is against Green Arrow. Batman says it’s not about Green Arrow; it’s about the League’s image to the world. Another member could actually help the team; there are a lot of people who could help them. But they can’t take risks, the last person they let on the station was Martian Manhunter and that was a fiasco (the whole team had to fight him). They wonder where he went after the battle. He knows everything about them, more than they know about each other, but as long as he’s far away from Earth, they are satisfied. Somewhere on a distant planet, Manhunter can hear them talking and says they are not ready.
The backup story, “The Curse of Shazam, Part 2,” by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, starts when Billy Batson moves into his new foster home. He really doesn’t want a family, he just wants to get through the next three years until he’s eighteen, so he can be on his own and not have someone (Mrs. Glover) nagging him, but he pretends to like everything and everyone. He meets all the other foster children at the Vasquez’s: Mary, Freddy, Pedro, Eugene and Darla. He tries to be nice with the other children in the family. Darla really loves him like a brother, but he finally gets irritated by her affection and yells that her. He says that they aren’t family. She runs off to her room crying. Mary grabs Billy and throws him into his room. She says that Darla’s parent didn’t die or are in prison like the rest of them. Her parents just didn’t want her and just dumped her off there. She tells Billy that he’s a jerk and leaves. Billy pulls out a picture of his parents and regrets making Darla cry. There’s a storm outside and Billy gazes, mesmerized, out of the window.
This eighth installment of Justice League continues the momentum of the previous issues: The team is still awkwardly disorganized. They seem to be able to fight enemies very well together, but they have a difficult time making decision about the day-to-day trapping of a functioning organization. They’ve become a global force that’s gained renown and fandom (Fandom that they don’t want and don’t know how to properly deal with). Green Arrow’s appearance throughout the issue is quite comical. It presents him, on the outside, an overzealous groupie, however; his true motivation is redemption. For fans of JLA who wondered about the absence of Martian Manhunter should be pleased to see an appearance of the green giant. Although there are no details, we see that he time with the team was memorable. The back-up story, giving us another small helping of Shazam, showing a more bitter Billy and foreshadows events to come. All in all, this issue delivers another great chapter of the justice League and sees to beginnings of the transition from a dysfunctional group of crime fighters to a properly organized team of superheroes.
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