Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Justice League #1 - A Review

Reading Justice League #1, I'm reminded of a game I played at many a party as a child, where everyone reached into a box, felt around and tried to guess what it was they were touching. I make this comparison because coming into this Brave New World that DC Comics has created for us, I can feel out a few details and make out a general shape... but I'm still completely uncertain just what it is I'm holding. And that is a good thing in these days when on-line spoilers and Previews Catalogs take a lot out of the surprise out of being a comic reader.

We are put right into the middle of the action, with a narrator explaining that as this story opens, the public is largely ignorant of the existence of superheroes and what little they do know frightens them. This is already a dramatic shift from the status quo for much of the DC Universe, where super-powered protectors are largely beloved. Most of the issue centers upon Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Batman (Bruce Wayne) reluctantly joining forces as they both chase down the same mysterious figure in Gotham City - a figure that Green Lantern insists is an alien...

A lot of the characterization here will be old hat for Green Lantern fans. Geoff Johns had established an adversarial relationship between Bruce Wayne and Hal Jordan once before in Green Lantern: Rebirth, continuing it into his Green Lantern series. The same conflict is laid bare here, with Batman depending on fear and shadows to operate while Hal uses light as a weapon and isn't afraid of anything. Put them together and hilarity ensues.

Thankfully, Johns does make both heroes accessible to those people who haven't seen either the Green Lantern movie The Dark Knight with Hal explaining his position as a Green Lantern makes him responsible for policing a whole sector of space and Batman explaining that he doesn't have any super powers... eventually.

The art by Jim Lee is pretty much what you'd expect - all-around excellent. If you're a fan of Jim Lee's art style (and I can't think of any person I know who isn't) then you'll love the art in this book. If you don't, then you won't. It's just that simple.

Are there any downsides to this issue? Well, yes. One big one is based on the expectation, coming in, that we'd be getting to see the whole Justice League as depicted on the cover in this first issue. There is No Flash. No Wonder Woman. No Aquaman. There is no big, epic superhero smackdown.

Instead, we get a fair bit of set-up, with Green Lantern and Batman forming an unlikely alliance as they journey in search for another new hero - the so-called Superman of Metropolis. There's also a brief break from the action as we focus on a young star athlete named Victor Stone, whom long-time comic readers will recognize as the boy that becomes Cyborg.

This is good stuff - don't misunderstand me. I had just expected a more high-action start given that this is the flagship title of the new line. Thankfully, though this issue wasn't quite what I expected, I enjoyed it immensely and intend to add this one to my pull list next month.

If you are a fan of good superhero stories, you must read this book!

No comments:

Post a Comment