Justice League #1 by DC comics is out now. The much talked about re-launch of the DC comics universe begins with the flagship team book. The Justice League has always been about a group of heroes facing a threat no one hero could face on their own. The same is true for this new Justice League but it is minus all of the continuity and relationships which have been built up over the 50 year history of the comic. So how does this re-launch stack up? Does it live up to the hype or is it crushed under the weight of the expectations everyone has for the book?
The Justice League book is designed to be new reader friendly and that is one of the best things about this book. The fact that we are getting to see the formation of the Justice League, seeing these relationships being built up is a great way to bring in new readers who may only be familiar with the characters from their cinematic incarnations. We first encounter Batman as he’s evading Gotham City police while chasing a creature over the roof tops of Gotham City. This chase leads to the introduction of Green Lantern and we are witness to the very first meeting of these two.
It’s clear in this world that the writer Geoff Johns is establishing that heroes are not an accepted part of the society. Batman in the hands of Johns seems to be more confident and to have a bit of sense of humor as he pulls a bit of sleight of hand on Green Lantern. Green Lantern on the other hand is comes off as cocky and a bit too talkative. This issue clearly establishes that these two have heard of each other but this is their first meeting. The two team up but in a sense it’s almost as if Green Lantern is tagging along as Batman is singularly focused on getting to the bottom of this mystery creature. The mysterious creature is revealed to be a familiar foe for those who have followed DC Comics over the years. This book plays with the established in this way as Johns seeks to show the familiar in a new and different light.
It’s the 90’s all over again as this is the second big launch book by a founding Image comic’s partner. Jim Lee’s artwork is solid as ever clearly he has a handle on the characters and presents them in a way which each has a distinct presence in the book. The visual introduction of Superman is handled well here, the costume looks less cumbersome than in the previous teaser images. Superman’s first encounter with our other two heroes could clearly have gone differently as this Superman seems to be less cautious when dealing with others as he seems to literally pull no punches. It remains to be seen if his brash actions at the end of this comic were more of his youth or if he truly is a different Man of Steel less cautious about using his power. Clearly this young Superman has been shaped by a different set of experiences in this world. Experiences we will see in Grant Morrisons and Rags Morales’ Action Comics. For the record this comics stand out character of this comic is Batman as he seems to strike the right balance of singular focus with a bit of a sense of humor.
As an opening issue this was solid. It did leave a feeling of watching a television show and getting to the first commercial break only instead of waiting five minutes for the program to resume, it will be at least a month before the next issue is out. A solid start one that could lead to something special and entertaining.