Justice League of America #7

Writers Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire move into the second half of their way-too-fun and especially likeable "Trinity War" arc in "Justice League of America" #7. In this issue, the three jumbled-up rosters comprised of the various different Justice Leagues continue to deal with the earlier ramifications of the appearance of Pandora and her "box," even as they continue their pursuit of Pandora herself. Like past chapters in the other Justice League titles, Johns and Lemire know exactly which buttons to push to make a superhero crossover like this exactly what it should be: loads of fanboy fun.

It might be fair to ask if fandom really needs three Justice League titles, but it's a question that's easy to put aside during an event as enjoyable as this. There are plenty of clever touches that stroke readers' inner fanboys -- like shuffling up the teams and then sending them in different directions. It may not have been necessary and even seems like a bit of a stretch, but few will probably care because it's just so much fun to read. Other little surprises amp up the wow factor, like on the very first panel of this issue, which has an appearance by a somewhat-unexpected character that instantly grabs attention.

Event stories often succeed in derailing the main storylines of the titles they cross through, but that is clearly not the case for "Justice League of America" #7. In fact, it was pretty evident from the launch of this particular title that some kind of event was brewing. So "Trinity War" has the benefit of rolling out organically from the pages of the Justice League titles, and there are genuine developments in this issue (regarding the government's intended role of the JL) that have nothing to do with "Trinity War," but still advance the story that began in the first issue of this series.

Penciller Doug Mahnke's layouts look incredible and keep the story flowing along at a brisk pace, even though readers will want to slow down to just take in the view. Mahnke and four others take turns with the inks, but every page looks amazing and cleanly detailed. There are three single page splash panels, and one double page, but every one of them is perfectly placed at a point in the story that truly benefit from them. The final splash, which is the final page of the issue, needs to be a poster.

As the events at different locations throughout the issue come to a head, Mahnke juxtaposes the scenes at an ever quickening pace near the end of the issue, bringing everything to a thrilling and explosive cliffhanger. The entire issue is a fast-paced pleasure, but the wait until next week's continuation in "Justice League Dark" #23 will be an excruciating one.

A lot of longtime fans of DC Comics haven't been all that thrilled with the New 52, but "Trinity War" and this issue in particular have a lot of great moments that are evocative of old-school storytelling that old and new fans alike will get a kick out of.

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