Not My Type of Justice League
Let's look past the All-Star line of books inspired title logo for the book and the over saturation of variant covers for the title. Please, let's move past that and onto the main story of the book, because it all can't be for flash and spectacle, can it?
The basic premise for this book is to get an Ultimates team, excuse me, Justice League team that is under America's control and influence.
There is a lot that this intro issue has to handle, and we have several plates spinning about. For me, that is what brings this book down. I know Johns' style of writing and I know he likes the slow burn, but there just doesn't seem to be much of a true set up in this comic. We have something that feels more stitched together at the last minute and not actually standing on its own two feet. Hell, even half of the team has been more or less blackmailed into joining.
Johns uses the Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor conversation as a way to introduce the reader to everyone. It isn't a bad use of getting the setup out of the way, and considering what they were trying to sell with this comic, it does work to a degree. However, I don't get much of a sense of a team in a team book.
Let's say we take out the first five pages. We remove whatever the first page is supposed to set up that isn't referenced again, we remove that stupid Green Arrow subplot with the mystery villains that look strangely like the Justice League in alternate armor (eye roll), and we take out that credits page that does nothing and the one page spread that features the Justice League, which we don't need right now. Instead, let's show the team in some sort of work out/training sequence that isn't working out just right. You then get the team working together and trying to combine their powers and strengths and seeing where the conflicts within the team are. Let those characters interact and show off their personalities.
When the training goes wrong, then you can have mini flashbacks and dialogue referencing how the team came together. You can even have Trevor and Waller have the same conversation and have it start with Waller wondering why the team, that Trevor selected, isn't working well by their deadline of the public announcement of the team forming. Then at the end of the book introduce an enemy for them to face that will need to reveal the team ahead of their announcement.
What this book is drawing on instead, and this is Johns' writing card, is setting up a lot of questions and not revealing much. Will Green Arrow live? What was Simon Baz arrested for and not convicted? Who is the woman Catwoman is after? What is Stargirl afraid of? Will Hawkman and Katana step away from their killer instincts? Who is Blyth to Hawkman? Who are all these mysterious villains? Etc, etc. Hell, there are about as many questions from this first issue as there are variant covers.
Sure, we have a lot of questions and mysteries that will intrigued the readers and keep them coming back. But what information are we walking away with about this comic that wasn't in the solicitation? Well, even the solicitation itself was full of questions (see the link above). Every question that was in the solicitation was answered in the comic, but it could easily have been answered in one page.
Finch's artwork is Finch's artwork. It is meant for posing and action sequences. It doesn't do much when you have talking heads going on. Look at the sequence between Trevor and Martian Manhunter. It looks like an intimidation stare down between the two. There is little emotion displayed in their body language and facial expressions otherwise. And while it does work for this one scene, pick any other scene between two people and it is the same way. It becomes a very stiff and rigid art that just doesn't convey much of a story to me. Very gritted.
At the end of the day, I'm just not convinced that I should make this a regular part of my pull list. I just don't care about any of these characters and nothing here intrigues me to keep on reading about them. I'm sure others are more enthused by the book, and I can respect that. This book just isn't for me.
General Feeling After Reading: Creative. Thinking about ways this issue could have served as a better intro gets my creative juices flowing.
Buy Next Issue: Not for me.