Justice League #21 Review

Justice League #21

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Gary Frank


Geoff Johns has done it again. And by, “it”, I mean, establish a previously not-that-cared-about character with a solid foundation for great stories and a renewed mythos. Now acquainted with his own extended-family, rogues gallery, and personal issues which he has worked to overcome, Billy Batson shows us the magical Power of Shazam in Justice League #21.

What Johns excels at in his rebirth-type stories for characters is the character moments that have earned long-gestated payoff in the most charming of ways. Johns puts a clever spin on the Marvel Family, by creating a surrogate family for the orphan Billy Batson, suitable for the modern age of comics. Each member of the Family gets a moment in this issue, sure to make you smile, but in Tawny the Tiger’s  case, you may or may not raise your fist in a resounding “hell yeah.”

Black Adam’s crumble-to-bits scene was emotional, and I foresee Johns turning Black Adam into a more sympathetic anti-hero along the lines of Sinestro, if he has more of an opportunity to work with the character.

Mr. Bryer’s moment to shine isn’t so triumphant, as he proclaims “don’t laugh at me,” when he is caught nude in the middle of the street post-demonization. It’s that kind of humour that gives the Shazam stories its charm – that childlike comedy that brings you right down to Billy’s level.

Gary Frank’s super-detailed artwork is a good fit for the series, giving the overall book a supernatural edge, while crafting sculpted superhero bodies with the Marvel Family, depicted in god-like imagery. Frank shines in facial expressions as well, in particular the page that includes two Billy reaction shots and a Black Adam enraged shot, each of which look unique and convey the emotions needed for the scene.

Justice League #21 is a fitting conclusion to what Johns has crafted for the Shazam mythos in the pages of Justice League. Establishing a solid supporting cast and tone for the character, Johns leaves the Marvel Family in a great place for any creator who picks up after his work.

Score: 8.7/10