The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

DC’s New 52: Justice League #1

Written by: Gary M. Kenny, CC2K Comics Editor

How many of you have Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 from the 90’s? How many variants? If you want to relive that experience, all you have to do is pick up DC’s new Justice League #1. It’s beautifully drawn by Jim Lee, it’s safe for new readers since nothing really happens, and logically everyone will be buying this issue (along with it’s variants) because of the hype.

Geoff Johns is a good superhero writer. He’s successfully made Green Lantern and the Flash comic books relevant and entertaining again for DC. His story lines are fresh and he knows how to give his book’s artist plenty of leeway (get the pun?) in design and direction which helps make his title’s action scenes out of this world. Jim Lee is iconic. He’s already in the hall of fame for comic artists (if there was one) and his artwork will be remembered,influenced, and copied for years to come. So, there you have it, two heavy hitters within the comic world making DC’s biggest flagship title. Is it good? It’s not bad. For a 1st issue it doesn’t break any boundaries, it’s a safe 1st issue; heavy in the action and humor department. Here are some issues:

The book takes place in the early days of the DCU (5 years is what’s rounded), a world were the word “superhero” doesn’t exist yet and people in costumes (good and bad) are feared. Heroes like Bats are new and no one knows each other (especially not socially). There is plenty of fun stories to be redone and discovered here. So why do I feel force fed these facts? Is it because DC is hoping to reach out to new readers (yup, duh!). This book is basically the 1st team up in DCU history involving the 1st meeting of Batman and Green Lantern. The scenes are full of banter, Jim Lee’s action scenes are explosive, and Batman and Green Lantern’s arguments help push facts towards new readers (helps them to catch up to speed).

What you wouldn’t expect this book to do is drag right? Guess what: It drags. However, it’s not dull. The book is mostly scenes of Green Lantern and Batman taking jabs at each other, with a few action scenes and a hint of Cyborgs origin. We are told facts rather then being shown facts (i’ll get back to this) and after every two pages there is a splash page with a different Batman,Batgirl,Action Comic etc #1 advertisement on it (I get it, i’ll buy them DC). The book leads nowhere. It’s one big scene and then poof Batman and GL go looking for Superman and that’s the end of issue #1. Again i wasn’t bored with this but i have to ask: “How do you drag so little over so many pages!” What makes this book is Jim Lee’s artwork. People will criticize his 90’s charm but the guy draws a mean superhero. All in all the comic is a page turner offering very little story, fun character driven scenes, and lots of great eye catching pop art.

As longtime fan this book was bit of a step back for me and not for the reasons you’d think. I don’t need another origins tale about the JLA; I like the hints of Cyborg’s original being involved with the creation of the Justice League but i’m not happy that i have to wait almost two months for issue #2. I also wish that Johns would show the reader more and tell us less. An example: Superman is an alien; ya we all knew that already, however we only find out Supes is an alien because Green Lantern’s ring says so. Come on! That’s how his fellow JL members find out, because of GL’s ring. BOO! Show me that Supes is an alien don’t give me a ridiculous reason that a magic ring can tell you who’s from this planet and who’s not.

All in all the book is enjoyable, especially for new readers and just like most of you i’ll be spending my $3.99 until Jim Lee and Geoff Johns end their run. I think the books as a trade will be a better read, especially because we’ll be waiting on issue # 2 for a while. DC you did well with your Ultimate/All-Star re-imagining of the DCU. I hope this direction saves the superhero biz.

3.0 out of 5.0