Friday, September 2, 2011

Justice League #1

So this is the "New 52" (in other words, "The New DC!").


The Justice League is the big gun in DC's arsenal (or at least it should be), since it combines all the company's biggest names in one package (or at least it should).

And that's what they've done here - or so it seems on the cover. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg are apparently intended to be the core of the team - and that's great!

Unfortunately, in this issue, only four of those heroes appear - one is in his pre-hero state (origin forthcoming) and another one only appears on the last page.

The story is set "five years ago," so we're seeing the team form for the first time. Apparently this is going to take the shape of several "meet cute" scenes - except for the ones that use the old Marvel formula of "good guys meet, fight, then realize they should work together." An oldie but a goodie.

All of which is to say, this series is off to a slow start. It starts with Batman chasing a mysterious opponent (whose origins leave no doubt as to the identity of the first big bad for the team), and he's joined by another hero in his search.

It's all sharply written by Geoff Johns, with solid characterization and the proper voice for each character - but considering they had 24 pages to work with, the issue doesn't cover a lot of ground. This opening story is obviously going to take at least six issues to get the team assembled.

As for the art, I'm a fan of Jim Lee's work (here ably inked by Scott Williams), and his work here lives up to past glories. Lots of full and double-page splashes, lots of explosions and action scenes, lots of dynamic layouts, and lots of heroes with grim looks of determination.

You can add me to the chorus who are not exactly wild about the new costume designs - everyone has that armored-up look, except for Wonder Woman, who looks like she's about to burst out of her skimpy top.

I don't object to the costumes being tweaked, but there's an overwhelming sense of "sameness" there.

Of course, this issue is review-proof. It doesn't matter if critics love it or hate it - it's a historic issue, so it'll sell by the ton.

But here's my review: it's not bad. It's not great, it's not a radical new beginning, but it is a fresh start, a good jumping-on spot for new readers, and it may build a following - but it has a ways to go before it earns its spot as a fan favorite.

They have a great creative team, the right cast, and loads of potential. Time will tell if they can live up to it.

Grade: B+



Dwayne said...

My biggest complaint about JLA is that every other arc seems to be about putting together a new team. Of course, this can't be avoided here. Maybe it can, but I'm not the creative director. In any case, we're getting another how the members were chosen and how the team was formed story.

I kind of liked the idea that they all first met to fight a giant starfish. Here it looks like they're going to fight each other... again.

Chuck said...

Dwayne, I'm with you, especially on the starfish thing. There seems to be three ways for a new team to be assembled - a group of heroes gather suddenly to fight a big menace (as with the first adventure for both the Justice League and the Avengers), they can be part of a pre-existing family or group (Fantastic Four, X-Men, Clandestine) or they can accidentally fall together (the Defenders, the new Justice League). We can see why the "sudden" version tends to be favored - it cuts to the chase.