damswedon's Justice League #1 - Justice League, Part One review

Just doesn't feel like an event.

This is it, the DCnU, the end of an era and the start of a new one. God I wish I could say this had started with a bang. I’m just going to say this right away I’m not a fan of the Justice League. In any normal situation I wouldn’t even think about picking up a Justice League comic but this is special so I did.

So on to the plot breakdown.

Awesome Art Moment #1

Five years ago (from the rest of the DCnU) Batman is hunting down a transforming-robot-thing, but Batman is also being hunted down by the Gotham Police Force in helicopters. This brings up my first little moan, DC have said that the Batman events are still all canon, Dick was Batman, Killing Joke happened, Bruce had five Robins. But if the Gotham Police Force are gunning for Batman five years ago are we to believe that this all happened in five years. Shucks DC you might as well as just re-boot it all instead of cramming it into that space. Anyway, Bruce catches up with the transforming-robot-thing fights with it, then Hal Jordan shows up and drives a Firetruck into the thing. It is great to see Geoff Johns and Jim Lee play with the Green Lantern ring’s power, this is a thing that can make a version of anything a wearer can imagine and yet it has almost always been orbs, hammers and if we are lucky a minigun. In this issue Hal makes a Bomb/Riot Squad, Giant Bats, Firefighters to put out a fire, a safe and A JET.

AMERICA!!

So, after Hal tells Bruce a quick summary of his life story to Bruce and I’m sure if he could he would of told him about his dog he had as a kid. Then Bruce nicks Hal’s Green Lantern Ring without him noticing. Now this is just my opinion but I’m chalking this down as the first idiotic thing to happen in the DCnU. Why? Essentially what Geoff has said here is that god help us if a Green Lantern farts, smells cooked bread or thinks of anything other than “I gotta be the Green Lantern right now”. If any of those things happened while s/he/it was flying around in space s/he/it would die very quickly. Now I’m taking that to stupid levels for both bad comic effect and out of fan-boy rage, but come on Geoff, you have to think of these things before you write this stuff. Hal and Bruce follow the transforming-robot-thing into the sewers and it self-destructs. They decide to take a cube that the transforming-robot-thing was messing with to the only alien they know of who lives in Metropolis and had a power level over 9000, (it’s Superman).

We jump to an American football game where the soon to be Cyborg Vic Stone catches a football in front of an American flag while a Bald Eagle fly over the pitch, Uncle Sam eats a hot dog and the Roman goddess Libertas cheers on. What follows are just over a page of some terrible “You’re the best! Around! Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down!” dialogue and we find out that Vic’s father ain't ever there for him. Then Hal and Bruce fly by in a jet made of light (awesome) land and Hal gets taken out in one hit by an ill-defined red blast made by Superman (called it).

Awesome Art Moment #2

If this was just any other first issue of any Justice League book I’d say it was okay and ride out the four to five issue story before you decide whether you want to carry on with the book and you know what? I bet it turns out fine. Thing is as the big book that is supposed make me look at the rest of the DCnU and say “HELL YEAH DCnU! YOU ARE AWESOME!” instead I find myself saying “oh no DCnU I hope we don’t have six months of this”. I just think that instead of “yet another comic story” we should of gotten something special. Compare it to the Justice League cartoon’s opening episode which started with “OH GOD ALIENS HAVE INVADED THE EARTH AND OUR HEROES ARE HOPELESS” This book doesn’t feel like an event, transforming-robot-thing isn’t an event. Hell three out of seven heroes (I’m not counting Vic Stone due to the lack of cyborgyness) is not an event. That is the big problem with the book it is too decompressed to be an event. It just sits there saying “I’ll be good. Promise”.

Super Quick Happy Fun-Time Breakdown Section For People Who Don't Like Reading™

Good

  • Artwork by Jim Lee (AMERICA moment included)
  • Green Lantern Firetruck
  • Green Lantern Jet

Bad

  • Decompressed storytelling
  • Little go in the story
  • No Aquaman for bad WHALES!!!! jokes
4 Comments
Posted by DMC

Who said this was suppose to be an event? Not DC from what I can recall.

Edited by damswedon

@DMC: I'm just going to assume you are from an alternate dimension where DC hasn't been promoting the DCnU constantly for the last two months, or where every advert in DC's comics for the last month haven't been pushing this.

Yes this isn't an event in the typical sense but unlike those kinds of event you can't avoid this one. You can't keep on reading Batgirl and not have the DCnU forced down your throat. With Justice League being the first and therefore the flagship title of the DCnU this comic is an event. It is an event in DC's history. Hell it makes it more of an event than the entire of Flashpoint, Blackest Night or Brightest Day.

Posted by DMC
@damswedon: First thing, that wasn't an "ill-defined red blast" that was Supes going at super speed, hence the red and blue blur.

 
Back to the subject......
 
Maybe I should blame the last dozen years of comic book events cause it seems you can't tell the difference between  promoting an event book and a massive marketing campaign to “re-launch” the DCU in 52 (+) new books...............which they had to do because they're throwing in all their chips and taking such an enormous risk.

I agree that what DC is doing is big and historic, but (imho) I think your perception that the JL book is suppose to represent what the entirety of the "DCnU" is about and live up to the hype is a bit unfair. When you boil it down, all DC is really saying to the public is “Hey everyone we’re starting everything from the beginning (kinda), come on in!” and to the fan base “look many things are going to change and many things are staying the same. Trust us it will work out.” 

Justice League is definitely their flagship title but that has more to do with the super star creative team. If you wanted to know what this book was going to be like, you should have listened to them.

 

"Our first arc is the origin of the team. It takes place in the past, and the next arc will take place in the present."

 
http://www.newsarama.com/comics/geoff-johns-jim-lee-dcnu-110611.html

 
That’s all there really is to it. 
Remember, the amount of change varies from book to book and character to character, so maybe JL wasn't hit too hard by the re-launch. We'll find out eventually.

I get the feeling you’re more upset with the slow start of the book. Well sometimes writers do that when they’re “setting the table” so to speak and to me that makes perfect sense here. These are DC’s biggest heroes, it’s only right for Geoff to take the time to introduce the characters properly which is the best way to go for the new readers. And since Cyborg won’t be appearing anywhere else (for now) his story is going to take more time to tell than the rest who have other books. 

And when they all finally get together and fight the big bad, it will be a bit more exciting and have more weight to it then if they all just showed up in issue #1…….imo.

Posted by krisis

I think you did a great job of fairly capturing the pluses and minuses of this approach to the story. It was an average issue that the misfortune to be pushed as the first one out of the gate, when Action #1 and Detective #1 clearly should have had the honor.

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