What a difference ditching a douche makes.
Lamest Green Lantern Of All Time Hal Jordan recently quit the team, and suddenly, Justice League is a much more readable book. It may also be helped by the fact that the Billy Bathole version of Shazam isn't included in Justice League #13, and that Boring Barry Allen is written more like Witty Wally West, but this is the first issue in this series that I've flat-out liked without reservation.
It also helps that I think I prefer Tony S. Daniel art to Jim Lee. It feels much more alive and kinetic in this issue, like it's got much more of a pulse. Well done, Mr. Daniel.
In this issue, we also get some of the aftermath of the big Superman/Wonder Woman kiss. You know, the one that somehow blinked Booster Gold out of existence. Seems Diana pulled away right afterwards, and got mixed up in trying to rescue Cheetah from herself once again. It seems that the new origin of the perennial WW villain is that Barbara Minerva was the overseer of The Black Room full of magical artifacts that the government has collected, and was Wonder Woman's first friend. She cut herself on a "ritual dagger from a lost tribe in the Amazon" that Diana had retrieved. Not necessarily a "lost Amazon tribe," but this could be the Bana-Mighdall stuff showing up again. Anyway, the dagger allowed her to be "possessed by the goddess of the hunt." Now, she hates humanity while Diana keeps trying to find a way to break the possession. And also, as we learn here, Cheetah's power set seems to have gotten an upgrade, much to the Kryptonian's chagrin.
Speaking of, it looks like whatever Superman and Wonder Woman are going to have together will be a slow build. There will be Meaningful Looks for a while, first. So don't be all worried that they're woke up in bed this issue. They don't. Diana's all business. In fact, most of this issue is about Diana learning to decompartmentalize her feelings – she keeps refusing help with the Cheetah problem because she feels its hers, but Superman, Flash and Cyborg all insist that they're happy to lend a hand, and slowly she warms up to it. For better or for worse.
Geoff Johns lays out the exposition behind Cheetah rather well, bouncing back and forth between Diana telling the story to Supes, Flash and 'Borg while the hospitalized Steve Trevor tells it to Batman and Aquaman. Cheetah feels like a significant threat now rather than just that cat lady that Wonder Woman always smacks around and lassos up. And there's a moment between Cyborg and Flash that brings to mind the old wisecracks of Wally West. Seems the only way to jazz up Barry Allen is to change his personality to somebody else's. Or maybe Barry was always a jokester, but I haven't really seen it much myself, save for his cloying patter with Jordan.
The backup story is co-written by Johns and Jeff Lemire, with really cool art from Brad Walker, setting up the upcoming Justice League of America spinoff. Steve Trevor's surly and drowning his sorrows in a bar after he's been dumped from his gig as League liaison and replaced by Amanda Was Once A Wall. But Oliver Queen catches up with Trevor, tells him about clowning Multiplex and then hands him a lead to something bigger. It's all set up, but since Trevor has been the coolest guy in Justice League so far, I'm looking forward to whatever happens in JLA.
Finally, a Justice League I can enjoy. At least until Bathole starts bothering me again.