Sunday, September 4, 2011

Comic Review: Justice League #1

Justice League #1: Part 1

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Jim Lee
Inking: Scott Williams

The “New 52” are upon us – marking the start of a new generation of DC comics, launching it into the future and hopefully reaching a broader audience by literally starting everything over again. Everything, and I mean everything is going back to square one; Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash – all get new #1 issues. The stories and the background that’s been established over the last half century is gone, it’s a new era. And it starts with the formation of the Justice League.

We’re going back to the basics. Superheroes are a new phenomenon in modern society. And they’re all showing up at once, scaring the crap out of common folk. We have an alien in Metropolis, a flying green man in Coast City, and in Gotham some guy parading around in his pajamas calling himself Batman. This is before Batman knew Clark Kent was Superman; before anybody knew anything for that matter, and the authorities are deathly afraid of these “super-humans.”

Justice League #1 is the first part in a seemingly long recruitment phase that will fill us in on what’s new in the DC Universe. This issue centers on Batman and Green Lantern’s tenuous relationship to be. Batman lives in the shadows, stalks in the dark, and feeds of the fear of those he apprehends. Green Lantern is the polar opposite of Batman: shining light in the blackness of night, and Hal has a persona of cockiness that the Dark Knight can’t stand.

Hal is somewhat an immature ass in this one!

Batman is this gruff figure. Green Lantern is brash and impulsive. And I loved this issue because of that dichotomy between these two. We already know who these guys are so let’s jump into why they hate each other and sit back and watch. Geoff Johns knows how to write no one will question that. And those skeptical shouldn’t worry about his handling of this reboot, if this first issue is a sign of things to come I thing we have the right man for the job.

Jim Lee must have sold his sole to draw so well. It’s never easy to take a concept and make it work just how you imagined it. Lee did succeed in reinventing the look of the Justice League if I have anything to say about it. Simple put, the panels in this issue are damn fine. Scott Williams brings his own flavor to the table and the dark inks complement Lee’s sketches marvelously.

The story is there, but how have the heroes changed visually? Drastically for some, like Superman (who makes an appearance toward the end of the issue), others stay true to there original looks; most of the changes are subtle. I think the biggest and surprisingly none obvious change is no undies on the outside for Batman and Sups. For some that may be a drastic departure – personally it was one that won’t get a complaint from me, ditching the colored gaunchies was the way to go.

The demographic that DC is seeking is the young' ins. And all the DC vigilantes seem to have reverted back to their mid twenties. A young and inexperienced group of superheroes is premise that instantly entices me. They’re learning and so are we as we follow along.

Let’s face it though what will make or break this global revamp of DC’s properties is whether or not a writer crams tons of backstory and exposition into an issue. The origin stories are coming, we can’t avoid that, but do people want to read about how Superman became Superman all over again? If executed properly an origin story doesn’t feel like such if in the hands of a writer who knows his audience. Justice League #1 is a good example -- writers take some notes.

Who here misses the red underwear? I want the names of these people!

September is gigantic for DC, its almost uncharted territory. Yeah they went through this same thing before, thing is Geoff Johns and most of the writing staff were children or not even born. This is the beginning and Justice League #1 is a solid first entry, the journey is far from over and there will be some up’s and downs but I’m optimistic and the future looks bright.

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