Review – Justice League #1
Aug 31, 2011 by     9 Comments    Posted In: Reviews

It’s 5 years ago. The world considers superheros much like UFOs. There are sightings and rumors but no concrete evidence. Even the superheros don’t know each other very well.

In Gotham Batman is chasing down what we later learn is an alien but the police are making that task difficult by trying to apprehend the vigilante. Green Lantern swoops in to help and with much drama. He smashes the alien with a luminous emerald firetruck. Bats isn’t impressed. The interplay between the two massive arrogant egos here is fun! Green Lantern thinks he’s all that and Batman thinks he doesn’t need help. There is obvious friction and it’s quite amusing to read. Cut to Green Lantern imposing his tack onto Batman. He flies Batman to go talk with “that guy in Metropolis. They say he’s an Alien”. Batman’s reluctance to do so is dismissed by Lantern: “Won’t be a problem for me.”

Here we have an unexpected interlude involving Vic Stone. I’m quite surprised they chose to dwell on this character in the first issue. Considering they omitted much bigger players such as Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Not to mention that the connection made between Vic and the plot are tenuous – so far.

The book ends with Superman assertively introducing himself. He pretty much says hi to Green Lantern via uppercut. Visually it’s a cool moment but are we supposed to interpret this as a challenge to combat? My guess is that this scene was there to follow through in the premise that these characters all suffer from a superiority complex and are unwilling to work with one another. It’s a bit of head scratcher but not necessarily in a bad way.

So is it good? Mostly it is. I honestly expected to be disappointed in this. Certainly not because the creators have a bad reputation. But rather, I figured the hype was intense that this could not help but fall short of expectations. Johns subverts all of that by simply not trying too hard. He just tells a fun story, with a simple plot. It’s a good first issue.

Jim Lee’s pencils are what you would expect from an artist of his stature. The storytelling is smooth, the action is slick. It his typical controlled gestural style at its strongest. The guy has gads of talent and he is not considered one of the best for no reason.

In conclusion, JL #1 was unexpectedly low-key and streamlined. This creative team could have pointed to the bleachers, swung for the fence and risk a whiffle. But instead they played smart ball, hit a line drive to center field and filled two bases with no outs. Though I might have wanted to be more impressed – because of what this book represents for DC and the industry in general right now – ultimately, there is a healthy measure of playfulness contained within this book that won me over. There is a spark of youthfulness and enthusiasm that seemed sincere to me. While reading this, I forgot about the hype. I forgot this was the first issue of DC’s monumental relaunch. I forgot about everything. I just had fun.

Script: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Parental concern: Yellow


9 Comments Add Comment

  • Threeshotwonder August 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I loved the banter between GL and Bats and even though I am not a superman fan i have to say he looked pretty awesome in the last panel.

  • reklov77 August 31, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I won’t get my copy for a few weeks, but the reviews I’ve seen so far have all been generally positive. If anything, I’m even more excited now.

  • Kenny Yeager August 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I don’t usually read reviews, but I pretty much had to read this one. I’m interested in reading the actual comic, but I’m not in a hurry to go run off and buy it just yet.

  • Tim Morse August 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I’m very anxious to pick up my copy of this next weekend. It seems like DC is off to a pretty good start so far.

  • Shayla September 1, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Good review. I’m going to give that one a try.

  • gbsteve September 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Great review. I’m admittedly DC dumb but wanted to give this a shot and read it before seeing what you thought. I was hoping for something a little (ok a lot) more epic, but what you said makes since about hitting a line drive instead of going for broke and flopping. I think there will be a good mix of line drive and at least a few grand slams in the #1’s being released over the next few weeks. I totally didn’t get the Vic Stone thing…don’t even know who he is or why it was in this issue. That artwork was nice, storyline ok. Nice entrance by Superman. I like the ego thing that’s going on between all the heroes. A good starting point for them to work things out, kinda adds a realistic human mentality to things…I’m certainly buying that aspect. Anyway, I enjoyed it. I grade it a 7, but that’s from a Marvel fanboy so take it for what it’s worth :)

    • JasonNewcomb September 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm

      Vic Stone is a character who eventually becomes Cyborg. He’s the half human half machine guy on the cover. And Steve, if you’ve been exclusively a Marvel guy, I know you’re not familiar with Geoff Johns’s scripting. So strap in, this WILL get epic. But Geoff doesn’t open with a bang, he builds things up and gradually. Like a roller coaster. Going up you hear the click clacking and you think to yourself: “This ain’t so bad” and then suddenly, VWOOSH! and your trying not to stain your underpants.

  • gbsteve September 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Sounds good, I’ll add JL to my pull list and keep an eye on some of the other new runs to see how they’re doing.

    • JasonNewcomb September 3, 2011 at 6:07 am

      If you can find Grant Morrison’s run, it’s considered to be one of the best in recent times.