Batman is leading a team of misfits and newbies and so far things aren’t going so well. A mysterious villain named Havok has shown up and he wants to better our world by controlling it. Gasp…is it good?

Justice League of America #2 (DC Comics)

So what’s it about? The synopsis reads:

“THE EXTREMISTS” part two! Believing heroes to be threats to the survival of any world, Lord Havok and the Extremists have already murdered the mightiest heroes from their home dimension. To save our Earth they’d kill thousands more, starting with the newly formed JLA. But eye-to-eye, are Havok’s and Batman’s goals that different? Billions of lives depend on the answer.

Why does this book matter?

Aside from the clever Rebirth issue format delivering origins on all the new team members that lead into this, we get a Batman-led team! There are also global ramifications that tie deeply into politics, which might be your sort of thing.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Lord Havok means business.

Steve Orlando writes himself out of the cliffhanger admirably and the plot shifts in a way you won’t see coming. Last issue, Havok basically declared Earth his and Batman gave himself up to keep his team alive. That leads to some issues in Havok’s ranks that forces his hand and allows Orlando to reveal a new wrinkle to the character. This leads to his taking over a third world Eastern European country and the results are surprising. The plot of this issue reminds me of what’s going on with Captain America and Hydra’s take over, which should lead toward some interesting politicking Batman and the JLA will need to navigate.

Felipe Watanabe draws a pretty great issue, with a high level of detail with some graphic violence thrown in for good measure. I particularly like how he’s rendered Havok with an iron helmet and ax that makes him look evil, but leaderly. He does well to stuff the panels with a lot of characters too.

Freedom isn’t free!

It can’t be perfect can it?

There isn’t much here beyond the usual superhero comic schtick. Batman’s actions in the last issue to buy some time end up not mattering much, which makes the cliffhanger of the last issue a false start more than anything. Batman also continues to pull the “just trust me” stuff with the team, which makes for a rather boring dynamic between he and the team members.

The general team feel isn’t quite working either. Atom gets some choice moments, but overall this is a table setting issue that’s not attempting to give the team much to do. Really they sort of coast through this issue waiting for the villains to get their plans underway and not much more.

Is It Good?

This is an okay issue, but it doesn’t do much beyond setup the villains for next time. That said, Orlando is building things towards an intriguing political angle we’ve never seen with Batman or the JLA.

Justice League of America #2 Review
Havok is an interesting character with key character development hereWell drawn issue throughout
Each member isn't showcased much and even those who are, like Atom, are sort of floating through the plot waiting for things to happenThe payoff for last issue's cliffhanger is a let down
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