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Saturday, September 03, 2011

Justice League #1 - Oct. 2011

Comics Weekend "Part One" by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, and Scott Williams.

This first issue of Justice League--indeed, the first issue of the new DC Universe--opens five years in the past, with some armed troops aiming at...Batman?
Unfortunately, Batman is busy, chasing after some sort of giant, monster-like creature who seems to be half organic, half machine.

The creature manages to hold its own against Batman, getting a good right cross in, when the fight is interrupted by blinding green light. Suddenly, a translucent green firetruck appears from out of nowhere, knocking the creature to its knees. Batman turns, and meets:
Green Lantern, brimming with confidence, assures the Dark Knight Detective his rin can get them out of any jam. He tries to make small talk, and wonders what powers, exactly, does Batman have:
Green Lantern is stunned when Batman snatches the power ring right off of Hal's finger!

GL is about to paste Bats one, but then they spot the monster again, this time in mechanized spider form, digging away at a nearby wall, pulling out some sort of glowing box.

Before Green Lantern can stop it, the creature yells "For Darkseid!" and seems to immolate itself. As Batman gets busy examining the box, Green Lantern wonders if this involves the being known as Superman. With nary a thought, he flies them both to Metropolis.

Meanwhile, we see young Victor Stone, high school football champion. He scores the winning touchdown, but he seems to only care that his father is not present in the stands. After the game, they see Green Lantern's green jet zoom by overhead.

They soon land, and Green Lantern enters a tunnel where his ring has told him Superman is. Promising he can handle him, Lantern walks in. A few seconds later:
...of course, to be continued!

Well, what to say? I posted my initial thoughts
early Wednesday morning, and even though I've had the chance to read the book a couple of times since, I haven't really changed my mind at all: I think this first issue was a lot of fun, well executed by Lee and Williams.

I am disappointed of course that Aquaman makes no appearance in this book, but its pretty clear Johns is rolling the new JL out slowly--maybe this will mean every member will get extra space to flex their muscles, and show why they deserve to be part of the Justice League.

One of my concerns is about the Justice League itself, and what it "stands for" in this new universe. The original JLA was a collection of that universe's finest heroes, a sort of Senior Class of the superhero world: being invited to join the team was considered a great honor, an indication that, as a superhero, you had Made It.

Having all seven heroes be new at basically the same time erases that dynamic, and makes the Justice League "just" a collection of heroes, not some Knights of the Round Table of the DCU. I'll definitely miss that aspect of the team, if indeed that's what ends up happening.

Also, this first issue seems to indicate the series will, storytelling-wise, not really be trying anything new: it tells a tiny part of a larger story, a "writing for the trade" style of comic book storytelling that has almost made the single-issue story a bad word in comics. Maybe that was too much to ask for a book introducing seven (sort of) new characters, but I was hoping maybe DC would take the chance to get away from the whole "have to read five years' worth of continuity to understand what's happening" thing. That mentality has been a big factor in keeping new readers out of comics, and I'd hate to see it all over again in the New 52.

That said, this first issue is done in high style, with a lot of humor (a welcome addition) and I'm definitely looking forward to what's next. As a die-hard JLA fan, I've been waiting for years for DC to give me a Justice League book that's really the Justice League; its like seeing old friends again.

On a more practical level,
Justice League is DC's flagship title, written and drawn by the company's marquee talent. I am thrilled beyond belief Aquaman is part of the team, and this book. It's onward and upward for the Sea King!


Aaron said...

I totally get what you mean in terms of wanting to get away from the longer type of story, I personally feel it would be a good time to shrink storylines back down again, taking into account all that's been done since the days when were like that. They can still have a lot of characterization and drama but the stories could clip along faster. I sometimes look at the very long storylines and feel that, in essence, there was not much that wouldn't have been a one or two part Gardner Fox story; it's just they just tend to slow the pacing way down now, so a one panel reaction shot is somehow turned into two pages of different angles and so forth. Not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with slower pacing, it's just that it also doesn't automatically make for a better read. Thanks for the review.

Russell said...

I agree that this is a good start, but two things bothered me about this story: 1. Victor Stone is in high-school! Not college? That means he should be in the Teen Titans, not the Justice League. and 2. Batman swiped GL's ring off!? REALLY!?!?! I have a wedding ring, and I think I would notice if somebody tried to swipe it. If GL's ring is that loose on his finger that he can lose it and not notce (!) he is in real danger of losing it at any time! Trust me, I know THREE guys who have lost their wedding bands swimming or skiing. If they are loose, they tend to slide off. Dumb incident.

And Aquaman in issue two, please!

wich2 said...

>I sometimes look at the very long storylines and feel that, in essence, there was not much that wouldn't have been a one or two part Gardner Fox story<

Bingo, Aaron.

I read what would have been a decent Batman/Joker story recently - except that it was dragged out to Bad Soap Opera pace!

The Flying Dachshund said...

I found the issue extremely disappointing for a Geoff Johns book... This is by far the worst comic I've read of his (yes, I did read Infinite Crisis for those reading that hated that one (I didn't hate that))... I am a Geoff Johns fan, and was EXTREMELY excited for this one... To sum it up, I felt the characterization (outside of Vic) was annoying and unnecessary (Hal was an @$$, Batman was a douche, and Superman was a cocky d!#k), and the issue should have either given us more in the story, or (since it's the START of the brand new DCU) finished in 1 over-sized issue... I do NOT have the same high hopes for this that I previously had... Hopefully GL and Aquaman's books are better than this...