Review: Justice League #1

Written by Geoff Johns, Art & Cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams

Solicitation Info (from Previews): Comics superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history! In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes!

Bias: I was excited about this one – maybe worried about seeing issue 4 or 5 on time, but definitely excited about the first issue. I was pretty sure that both the story and art would be exceptional, and I was interested in seeing how this first look at the affected DC Continuity turned out.

What I liked: This was an action movie of a comic. The art was spectacular (but what else do you expect from Jim Lee?) There was an energy to it that swept you up and kept you going at a break-neck pace from beginning to ending. The story was fast – and well – paced. It focused on Batman and Green Lantern, and really played up the differences between the two – often to humorous effect. Another hero showed up at the very end, in costume, and it looks like the upcoming issues will see the origin of a fourth hero (we see the character in civilian garb, and have every indication that he isn’t yet the hero he will become.)

What I Disliked: It felt like an appetizer, not the main course, and this story definitely seems to be “written for the trade paperback.” I know not every title was going to be strictly “single issue story arcs,” but I expected to get more of the story than what we got. Still, if anything, it felt like an episode of 24 – too exciting by far to actually wait for the trade paperback!

Verdict: This wasn’t your daddy’s origin of the Justice League, but I loved it, and will be adding it to my pull list.

I’m going to put a few spoilers in the comments – do NOT read them if you haven’t read the story and don’t want some of the details revealed – but I wanted to give a few thoughts on my favorite scene and discuss some of the plot points and questions I have about where the comic is heading. Can’t do that without a few spoilers… In any case, you’ve been warned!

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2 responses to “Review: Justice League #1

  1. My favorite part of the whole comic was more of a humorous aside than anything: when Green Lantern was asking about Batman’s super powers: “Hold on a second…you’re not just some guy in a bat costume, are you? Are you freaking kidding me?!” – which was immediately followed by Batman palming Green Lantern’s ring. Absolutely brilliant scene from start to finish.

    As for the overall plot: we can definitely see that Darkseid is the bad guy (I loved Green Lantern’s reply to hearing Darkseid’s name, too: “Dark side? What is that? A band?”), but we don’t know what he’s up to yet. What the critter was installing into the sewers of Gotham looked like a Mother Box, so is he just prepping multiple entry points for invasion via boom tubes? Maybe I’m expecting too much, but I am expecting it to be more than just that.

    Superman appears to have fought another of the critters (and Batman seems to’ve figured that out, though it looks like there’s going to be the obligatory fight at the beginning of next issue), though I’m curious how much the scene of the fight (a LexCorp building) will play into it. Superman is supposed to (at least at the start) be a rabble rouser. Was he there legitimately? Or was he doing something the others would frown upon and just happened upon another of Darkseid’s minions?

    The “not-yet-a-hero” was Vic Stone, minus all his cybernetics. As such, I think it’s pretty obvious that one of the over-arcing storylines will be Cyborg’s origin story. What we see of him is a high school football wide receiver, on the fast track to getting a scholarship at whatever college he wants to go to. Everyone talking about how he’s got it made underscores the point that this kid is going to have a rough go of it soon. Of more importance was his absent father, who apparently has a job studying the super-humans. (I could’ve sworn he was also military, but upon re-reading it, I don’t see any indication of that.)

    Anyway, that’s it for my observations. Feel free to leave some of your own!

    • Huh. In Flashpoint #5, there is a two page spread in which the timeline is changed to what it is Post-Flashpoint (ie. the DCnU). On these pages, a mysterious hooded woman’s head floats above the Flash, and this conversation takes place:
      Barry: I see three timelines. Why–?
      Woman: Because the history of heroes was shattered into three long ago. Splintered to weaken your world for their impending arrival. You must all stand together. The timelines must become one again. You can help me fix that, Barry Allen, but at a cost.

      Interesting, to be sure, but apparently, she’s going to show up in the background of various (all?) of the 52 DCnU books. She’s on a preview page of Animal Man #1…and she’s in Justice League #1 (you knew this had to be related to the issue being reviewed, didn’t you?) In the background of page 24, she’s sitting in the bleachers, watching Vic Stone play football.

      I think it’ll be a fun easter egg to see just where she turns up until the story culminates in finding out what she’s actually doing at all these events. 🙂

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