Justice League #10 is written by Geoff Johns with art by Jim Lee. It also features the Shazam backup story written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank.
This issue is the second part of the Villain's Journey story. The issue opens three years in the past with author David Graves seeking out mystical forgotten gods to assist in helping him exact revenge on the Justice League, who Graves blames for the death of his family. The gods transform Graves, giving him some sort of mystic power. Later, in the present, Graves has kidnapped Justice League government liaison Steve Trevor. Graves uses his power and attacks Trevor as he attempts to escape. Elsewhere, at the Justice League's watchtower satellite, the League has become aware that several of their enemies have been attacked and interrogated by Graves. The League is unaware of who Graves is, but realize that he knows more about the team than they've shared with each other. While the team bickers about the trust within their group, a silent alarm is triggered by a code given to Steve Trevor. The League investigates and find Graves has arrived at the watchtower. Realizing that Trevor has been kidnapped, Wonder Woman is the first to attack. It appears that the life is sucked out of her as Graves power seems to feed on his victim's emotional pain. The League is quick to counterattack.
The League's might proves to be no match for Graves' power as the entire team quickly fall as easily as Wonder Woman.
In the Shazam backup tale, Billy Batson's adopted parents share their concerns about Billy to one another. They've come to realize that Billy was just putting on an act at the child services agency and that he is not as well adjusted as they previously believed. Meanwhile, one of the other kids, Freddy, sees Billy packing his backpack and leaving the house. Freddy follows Billy into the zoo, where Billy is feeding one of the tigers there, who he refers to as Tawny. Freddy is soon discovered and thanks Billy for standing up for him and the other kids against some bullies in their neighborhood. Realizing that the bullies' father is the worst of the bunch, Freddy states he knows where they live and the two share a deviant smile.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, scientist Dr. Sivana uncovers the prison of Black Adam and reads the inscription stating that he is to remain imprisoned until a being who can destroy him is found. With his eye guiding him and translating the inscriptions for him, Sivana utters the word "Shazam" and the prison is opened. Black Adam is released and immediately asks the whereabouts of the wizard.
It's extremely difficult to come up with a new super-villain to challenge the Justice League. The interesting part about Graves is that his power appears to feed off others' emotional pain, something that all heroes seem to share. With the entire league apparently being sucked dry, this issue definitely ended with the reader curious as to how the team will get out of this one. One revelation that I did like was that Superman and Batman apparently have been teaming up outside of the Justice League and have a great amount of trust between them. I'm still not a fan of how much distrust there is amongst the others, especially considering that they've been together for five years now. Hopefully they'll continue to grow and trust one another, but the dynamic and arguing amongst the team seems to be a major focus for this new series.
As far as the Shazam story goes, I'm still not sold on the depiction of Billy Batson as a cynical, anti-social trouble maker, but the rest of the story is coming together pretty good. I especially enjoy the depiction of Dr. Sivana as a scientist seeking to release magic back on Earth. The inclusion of Tawny (originally Billy's best friend, a talking tiger) in this story was a nice nod to the golden age. Still not sure how the other kids are going to factor into the power of Shazam, but with Black Adam being released in this issue, answers can't be far behind.
Fan of the new relationships amongst the Justice League? Enjoying the new direction for Shazam? Leave your comments below!