It’s the moment DC Comics fans have been anticipating or dreading: “Justice League” No. 1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.
It’s the book that will launch a thousand ships. Well, 51 anyway.
But how is it? Not bad. (Beware vary mild spoilers, just in case.)
Johns, DC’s chief creative officer, is no dummy. Batman and Green Lantern are currently the company’s hottest franchises, so the introduction to the new Justice League is heavy — really heavy — on them.
I admit I’m a bit biased. Besides professional interest, I only went to my comic shop (which was pretty quiet — not unusual for a “fifth week” with few titles in general, but not what I was expecting considering) for this today because I really like Aquaman and was curious about the new take on Wonder Woman. Neither of them appear in this issue at all, so that was a huge disappointment. Neither does the Flash.
And neither does Starro! How can the Justice League form if they’re not fighting Starro? Sorry, the fanboy in me got out.
It starts with Batman tracking some unnamed bad guy across the rooftops. Gotham PD helicopters are after them both. Then Green Lantern shows up in a blaze of green and condescension to investigatean unauthorized extra-terrestrial presence. This is set in the DC universe’s new timeline, at the dawn of the super-hero, so they don’t all know each other yet.
Despite the lack of characters I was most hoping to see, it’s still a pretty strong start to the title. Batman and Green Lantern have a nice antagonistic vibe. The dialogue does an excellent job of setting up their characters. I was never a big Green Lantern fan, so I don’t know how this jibes for his classic portrayal. He comes off as more of a jerk than I expected, but this is a new world.
The choice of villain is appropriate, so this could be a suitably epic start for the team as they learn about each other and become eventual colleagues. It’s a pretty standard set-up, but it’s handled well.
The art is OK. I’ve never been a big fan of Lee’s work (too many lines, and the eyes bother me), but it’s dynamic, and the Green Lantern effects are cool. I do like many of his and his team’s costume redesigns, including Aquaman, Wonder Woman (I actually liked the new pants version a bit better) and even a trunk-less Superman. Giving so many characters that collar is pretty silly, though.
So, good pacing, hints of nice characterization to come and a kick-butt villain adds up to a title I’ll grab the next issue of, but there had better be Aquaman in it.
It’s a good enough first issue for a new team book, but this one is carrying a lot of weight on its shoulders, setting the tone and expectations for the entire line coming up, and in that regards it doesn’t seem … special … enough.
Unfair? Perhaps, but they knew it was coming.
Good luck, DCnU! I do look forward to seeing what you have for me.