Justice League #1 (DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Justice League #1

DC Comics

Writer: Geoff Johns; Artists: Jim Lee, Scott Williams

Aug 31, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The world of mainstream comics fans has been waiting with bated breath for the launch of DC Comics’ “New 52”the 52 new books that together comprise a soft reboot of sorts for DC’s superheroes, in which continuity will be streamlined and characters rethought and redesigned for a modern (and hopefully fresh and new) audience. This initiative also includes “day and date” digital distribution, where the new comics will all be available as digital downloads as well on the very day that the paper books ship.

Justice League #1 is the first salvo, and how better to relaunch a line than with a book by storied DC muckity-mucks Geoff Johns (Creative VP; writer of a ton of stuff, some of it very good) and Jim Lee (Co-Publisher; penciller of more best-selling books than you can shake a rolled up comic at). It’s a flashback tale of how the world’s greatest super-team formed; narration tells us straight away that this tale takes place about five years ago. This seems to give DC enough wiggle room to say that many or most of the fantastic stories they’ve told for decades can potentially still “count,” though establishes that Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman were among the first costumed heroes (which implies favorites such as the All-Star Squadron and original Justice Society straight up never existed, at least not cape and cowls, anyway).

If Lee’s pencils in Justice League #1 strike you as a little bit “1990s,” it’s because Lee was one of the architects of how comics evolved during that time. The look of this book is really sharp; the action is kinetic, Green Lantern’s ring-powered creations are dynamite, and in revealing Superman at the end, Lee makes the Man of Steel’s new costume actually look pretty sweet (whereas some of the promo art of the upcoming Superman title made it look a little underwhelming). I wasn’t fond of the design of the alien threat that faced Batman and Green Lantern in this book; it really does invoke some kind of played-out, snaggle-toothed ‘90s cyborg. Good thing he blows himself up.

Another nice thing about that alienhe screams “for Darkseid” as he explodes. This is good; it’s a further sign that DC’s new universe will be paying homage to what’s come before. In the case of Darkseid, that means Jack Kirby’s New Gods/Fourth World creations will play a role, and that’s a good thing. (Though since it’s a Kirby-inspired threat, something from Apokolips, it would have been nice to pay Jack a little visual homage as well and make that thing less “‘90s EXTREME!”).

While some of the dialog rings clunky (most of the book is a conversation between Green Lantern and Batman), it also rings true: Hal Jordan’s cockiness, heroism, and touch of the God complex are front and center; Batman is growly and gruff, yet not to the exclusion of a team-up. There’s also a snippet in the middle concerning Vic Stone, who will become the hero Cyborg, that clearly owed a lot to Friday Night Lights, as the high school football star’s glory takes a back seat to his scientist father’s absence. The main narrative, the Green Lantern and Batman team-up, is clean and flows nicely, culminating in the aforementioned Superman reveal, and holding promise for what’s to come. I can also see how this is very approachable for a new audience, though since I am carrying around 28 years of comic book fan baggage, it’s hard to completely disassociate and see it from fresh eyes.

This book did not blow me away, but it definitely hit its marksand holds a ton of potential. For now, we’ll give it a “pretty darned good,” and look forward to what comes next. (www.dccomics.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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