REVIEW: Justice League #1 – DC’s New 52

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DC Comics’ “New 52” campaign began at midnight with Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. I sacrificed some sleep to get my hands on it (along with Flashpoint #5) and overall it’s a decent issue that is very new reader friendly. However, even as an infrequent DC reader I felt I already knew or had seen many of the relationships presented here and the issue spends a lot of time establishing some of the principals. KevinMLD and I will be assessing this first issue of not only the Justice League series, but DC’s New 52 and whatever form the new DC Universe may take.

Spoilers for the issue and some aspects of the new DC Universe will follow.

PTB: I splurged and bought the bagged combo pack edition. I hope I didn’t just destroy it’s collectibility by opening it up… I really just wanted to try out the digital copy. I’m probably not buying digital books anytime soon and I’m certainly not paying $3.99 for them.

Who’s this guy Batman is chasing? And was he adapting to whatever he was confronted with?

KevinMLD: Clearly we don’t know for sure but I’m thinking it’s a reimagined version of one of Darkseid’s parademons.

PTB: I would have liked to see a little more of the threat that will bring the Justice League together, and while I know that’s coming I’m not sure I’ll be sticking around to see it.

Green Lanterns choices of throwing a fire engine at his enemy and creating men holding shields to act as a shield were… interesting. I was happy to see them tie into what else he was up to in Gotham City. I also liked the bats he used to save the falling helicopters.

KevinMLD: Yeah this is definitely a younger, more impulsive Green Lantern. He’s certainly not the mopey, indecisive Hal from the Green Lantern movie.

PTB: I still haven’t seen the Green Lantern movie. Hal isn’t characterized like Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of the character here?

KevinMLD: We see some impulsive moments from Hal in the film, but the movie gets really hung up for a long time on a Hal who isn’t sure if he should join the Corps or if he can overcome fear. It’s the worst segment of the film and I think really contributed towards all of the hate that’s been directed at it.

PTB: The tensions between Batman and Green Lantern are sort of an established thing, right?

KevinMLD: I guess. The go to relationship for Batman and anyone is one based on tension and distrust. You could cite just as many examples where he gets along fine with others though. Certainly they have had issues post-Parallax, but this series should be set pre-Parallax.

I’m actually disappointed that the cover to issue 2 is Batman vs. Superman. I think a novel reinvention of the Justice League would see Batman and Superman get along grandly, but be distrusted by the rest of the team. After all, Bruce is a little crazy and dresses like a bat and Clark is an alien.

PTB: Vic Stone is Cyborg? Or will be by the looks of it. Unless he’s cheating his way through high school football.

KevinMLD: Yep. Looks like they may be retconning away his involvement with the Titans. Which means this kid is supposed to immediately be ready to be a Justice League member? That’s a hard sell.

PTB: Superman…

KevinMLD: Superman. I hate the red belt and lack of red shorts. It even looks like Lee drew shorts which makes it all worse.

PTB: I wasn’t crazy about the costume or what we saw of the character. Jim Lee and Scott Williams artwork looks nice for the most part here. It’s not my favorite work from that team, but it’s always great to see them doing interiors.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this packed any kind of punch. I have no interest in coming back for #2 especially if it’s priced at $3.99. I get that it’s a first issue and they’re reestablishing their heroes, but I needed more of the threat. “For Darkseid! (explode)” is not enough to draw me in. Nor is Superman versus Batman.

This was THE book to draw people in. The biggest name creators are on it. It was one of two books out this week from DC and it was the FIRST of the New 52. It sets the tone, and the tone is lackluster.

KevinMLD: I can’t really argue you’re wrong. Overall I thought it was fine. It has some nice moments between Hal and Bruce, but so far there is no concrete threat. Clearly Darkseid is the villain, but we’re given no reason to care about that except that we already know from the old DCU that Darkseid is a major threat. This is a dumb decision on Geoff John’s part. You can’t claim you’re presenting a whole new DCU and also rely on people knowing about your villain from the old DCU. This book needed a hook like the ending to Flashpoint #1.

Anyway, it doesn’t make me overly excited about the new DCU… yet.


Read more about DC Comics’ “New 52” on MyLatestDistraction
and keep up with each week’s picks for September:

Week One

Also keep up with our commentaries on Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League:

Justice League #2

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