JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Jim Lee (Pencils), Scott Williams (Inks), Alex Sinclair (Colors)
I have to say I was really worried that the new 'Justice League' was gonna' suck. I had my reasons, my love of the Morrison-era 'JLA' notwithstanding. But in all honesty, I liked 'Flashpoint', the cross-over that set up the new DC, ended and was very cautiously looking forward to this new take on the classic DC title. 'Justice League #1' is the first look we get of the 'New 52' and sets up this new and slightly familiar world. So, with cautious optimism at the ready, what happens?
'Justice League #1' opens on a "5 Years Ago...." premise, at a point in history when superheroes aren't organized and the public has yet to accept them. The Gotham City S.W.A.T. team is trying to take down Batman, while he is chasing after a armored, green skinned creature. Batman gets away from the police and is almost taken out by the creature before Green Lantern shows up and drops an fire engine construct on it's head.
GL helps Batman escape from the trigger happy cops and we get our first team-up of this new universe as they continue to pursue the creature, who survived the fire engine upside it's head. They pursue it into the sewers and confront it once more. The creature affixes a strange cube-like device to a sewer wall before self-immolating (that means it burned itself to death) while screaming "For Darkseid!"
Upon examining the cube & discovering the device is alien tech that not even his ring recognizes, GL surmises it maybe connected to "That guy in Metropolis". Batman cautions against it before Green Lantern generates a fighter jet and takes off for Metropolis, Batman in tow. As they arrive in Metropolis, we get a brief intro to pre-Cyborg Victor Stone. The two heroes land at a LexCorp construction site that looks like a bomb went off. Ignoring Batman's warning, Green Lantern enters a building, intent on questioning Superman. The Man of Steel promptly punches Green Lantern out and exits the ruined building to confront Batman.
All in all, I did like the plot of this first issue. Johns did an okay job of introducing us to the 'New 52', setting up the idea that the average man is none too trusting of superheroes and some are even hunted down by the police. His characterization of Batman and Green Lantern is pretty on point. Batman is driven and totally committed to the job and Green Lantern is pure test pilot-cockiness, completely self-assured.
The plot breezes along at a decent pace, even taking a small pause to introduce us to future Justice Leaguer Cyborg, in the days before he is injured and gets his bionic parts. The only problem with the story is it is too predictable. This is the intro to the 'New 52', an all-to predictable team-up? Batman & Green Lantern have some decent back & forth banter, but it seemed stale. I liked what i read, but I've seen it many times before.
I loved the artwork in this debut issue. Teamed with Scott Williams on inks and Alex Sinclair on colors, Jim Lee's art is expressive and vibrant, capturing the classic feel of John's story. Superman, Batman and Lantern's 'armored' costumes don't come off nearly as toy-like as I had thought they might, based on the previews that I've seen.
Even Lee's designs for GL's ring-constructs are very nicely detailed and colored in a way that they actually looks like holograms. All in all, I think Lee, Williams and Sinclair put a lot of honest work into this issue's art and it shows.
As a whole, this first look at the 'New 52' is, quite honestly, kind of weak. Not weak in a bad way, just weak in that for the first issue into a whole new DC Universe, it's kind of 'blah' and predictable. The story, while it does give us some insight into the backtory of the 'New 52' and does set up the first storyline admirably, it has been done before. While Jim Lee was providing his usual stellar art style, it cannot make up for Geoff Johns' lackluster story.
I give this first issue of the new 'Justice League' 6 out of 10. It was a predictable story with some very good art, but that does not a good issue make. Here's hoping the rest of John's first story-arch kicks it up a notch.
Please, please, PLEASE don't suck!