Review: Justice League #1

Robert September 1, 2011 1
Review: Justice League #1
  • Writing
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Well, it has begun.  The DCnU is here.  This Wednesday, DC released the first issue of Justice League, which also happens to be the first book of the reboot.  Justice League is drawn by DC’s premier writer, Geoff Johns, and drawn by their premier artist, Jim Lee.

Probably the one thing that bothers me most about the DC reboot is that it isn’t a true reboot.  I actually would have been perfectly fine if DC had just said – we want to start over – start fresh and re-introduce all our great characters.  Nothing you’ve read before has happened in this universe.  Some of it might happen, but told in a new way.  Some of it won’t happen.

But that isn’t what they’ve done.  The new DC universe is a result of the events of the Flashpoint mini-series.  So in a way, the new universe exists because of the failure of the heroes in the prior universe.  I think Marvel handled this better with their Ultimate line.  The other component of this is that although for many characters, it is a new beginning, for some it isn’t.  Some of the old story-lines are being kept.  Essentially which ones are and which ones aren’t seems to be being based upon apparent popularity.  By that I mean that DC views Batman and Green Lantern as their two lines that were having the most success over the last couple of years.  They’re also the two lines that DCs most important two writers (Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns, respectively) have been shepherding.  Because of that, characters like Damian (Batman’s son with Talia al Ghul) still exist.  That means there have been five Robins – and one of those has grown to be an adult hero (Dick Grayson as Nightwing) – which means most of Batman’s history has remained intact and he can’t have been de-aged too much.  Similarly, for Green Lantern, stories like Blackest Night, Sinestro Corps Wars, and War of the Lanterns have all happened.  For those to have happened, we must assume Hal was at one time infected by Parallax.  So much of his history is intact.  But other characters, like Superman and Wonder Woman have been de-aged and their histories rewritten.

For the hardcore fan, this is very confusing.  There are all kinds of things that cannot have happened as they were originally written.  The new Justice League is starting down that path by telling a very different origin of the Justice League.  In the classic origin, the League came together to fight an entity named Starro (mind controlling starfish.  Don’t ask.)  In this new League, it looks like Darkseid will be the villain that forces the heroes to team up.

As already mentioned, DC has been most satisfied with their Batman and Green Lantern books.  Not coincidentally, I’m sure, the two characters featured in this week’s Justice League #1 are Batman and Green Lantern.  One other member has a small cameo in the center of the book and another appears on the final page.

As expected, with Jim Lee on penciling duties, the book looks beautiful.  As also expected with Jim Lee, there are a lot of splash pages and low panel counts, making this book a very quick read.  Not a lot happens, but it is pretty to look at while it happens.  The writing leans heavily towards using dialogue as exposition.  I’m sure that is difficult to avoid in an issue that is supposed to be an introduction to a new audience – but it all led to a feeling of “that’s it?”  I think it would have been better to put this first book out as a double issue so the story could have made some progress.

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