Together again for the first time
It’s been awhile since I decided to finally do a follow up review to Justice League and plenty has happened since then. The New 52 has been met with mixed responses but sales and awareness of comic books are at an all time high. But this isn’t about that, time to start my first review in who knows how long.
Darkseid has appeared and our heroes appear to be no match for him. Can anything be done to stop the invasion of Earth?
· Despite my scepticism of Darkseid appearing in the New 52 so early, he does provide an insurmountable challenge for the budding heroes. Even in their early days each is still a force to be reckoned with and Darkseid’s capability to shrug aside Green Lantern as well as KO Superman with an Omega beam demonstrates his near god like status. cementing him as a badass challenge for the League to overcome.
· Another strength is that Johns maintains the action in this issue. Fight scenes involving Green Lantern and Darkseid, chase scenes with Flash and Superman as well as cool explosions keep the reader on the edge of the seat which is needed in a title such as this given that the threats have to be great enough to require the attention of seven prestigious heroes. Basically this comic and essentially this series has all the action of a Michael Bay film, just with far more engrossing characters as I shall explain in the next bullet.
· As with previous issues, Johns keeps the character dynamics and relationship of the new League. Hal is nailed as an arrogant show off who thinks he can accomplish anything, Batman is tall, dark and brooding as always, Flash injects a degree of optimism into the title and Superman still comes off as a bit of a dark horse. It’s fresh, modern and updated even 5 issues in and Johns develops the relationship in talks between Green Lantern and Batman where Bats successfully nails Hal’s motivation of trying to live up to someone as well as building the trust and team spirit between these new heroes that will eventually create this legendary superhero team. Bats and GL also develop in this issue with Bruce realising that this threat is bigger than his own personal war on crime and Hal grasping the concept that he can’t win this battle by himself. It’s a nice touch and change from the non stop action.
· The artwork is phenomenal. Jim Lee draws some beautiful pencils from the character’s faces to the amazing final page which I won’t spoil. Even the bits of rubble look great and that’s saying something when the debris from an alien god fighting a team of superheroes looks good. Williams is the best inker out of the lot but the others do a great job in bringing Lee’s pencils to life.
· As for the cover, it’s a good team pose of the Justice League making its last stand. Cyborg holding the American flag is a bit cheesy but it’s a great image all the same
· One of the major problems of this issue is Darkseid. Despite the fact he plays the role of tough alien bad guy well, it’s not him. Darkseid wouldn’t make a grand entrance unless absolutely necessary. He’s a guy who lets others do the dirty work and there’s no evidence to show him as that cunning schemer who has made meticulous preparations to achieve his grand scheme. It’s early days for Darkseid to be making an appearance and if it does have to be the forces of Apokolips who cause the Justice League to form, why have we only seen parademons so far? Where’s Mantis, Granny Goodness, Godfrey, Kalibak or Desaad? Why hasn’t Darkseid sent one of these guys down to prepare the Earth for him? Johns hasn’t paid respect to the vast array of characters available from Apokolips to pose a threat to the League and it’s a shame Darkseid’s been dumbed down to a tough guy the League is fighting.
· Also, whilst the character dynamics and relationship development in this issue is good, it’s restricted to 3 characters, Batman, Green Lantern and Flash. Superman and Cyborg have some lines of dialogue but Superman gets taken out early in the story and doesn’t contribute to the rest of the issue. Wonder Woman and Aquaman, characters who were the stars of issues 3 and 4 get a couple of lines this time round. It’s not fair to focus on less than half the members given this is a team book. Cyborg doesn’t even have his own title so he should get more to say than Batman or Green Lantern.
· Major spoiler coming up here: Why doesn’t Green Lantern know who Bruce Wayne is? I mean he’s a billionaire playboy who owns Wayne Industries, a company that probably has branches in Coast City or somewhere close to it. I mean I’m aware of famous billionaires in my country even though they don’t live anywhere near where I live. It just seems a bit off to have Green Lantern not know who Bruce Wayne is. I’m sure the denizens of the Marvel Universe knew who Tony Stark was before he became Iron Man. Off hand point I know but one that seemed relevant.
· Given that the book has nonstop action all the way through, there’s not much depth to it. It’s a simple story suffice to say and the plot twists and cliffhangers aren’t as sophisticated as those in other comic books. Those who prefer depth to the stories in comic books may not find the simple nature of this arc appealing and to be honest I wouldn’t blame them.
All in all, this is a straightforward but nonetheless fun and action packed origin story that gives us a new Justice League for a modern age. It may be straightforward but that’s its main appeal as an easy book for a wide audience to get into. It’s the book I read first when I receive my postage of comics as the adventurous spark of the original Justice League has been captured by Johns and Lee which is a testament to the success of DC’s flagship title.