Jim Lee's art shines over dull writing.
Batman is pursuing someone via rooftop and hot on both of their heels are the police. The police see them both as a threat therefore they press their attack. Green Lantern arrives to help Batman, but they lose track of their target. They catch up with him and learn that the suspect is an alien, and because of this they believe it's some how linked to Superman. This takes them to Metropolis where they confront The Man of Steel. -summary
Justice League Vol: 1 Origins happens to be the flagship title of DC's New 52 reboot. Apparently this was the project DC wanted to be headed by their biggest star writer Geoff Johns, along with superstar artist whom always brings his A-game Jim Lee. I probably wouldn't be wrong if I said this is the book more than 90% of DC comic fans were looking forward to, because this was pretty much going to set the tone for this new reboot. To date, the reception has been mixed and for very good reasons. To me, like Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1, Justice League embodies everything wrong with DC and then some. The title feels terribly forced, it's all flash and no substance, and I warn long time fans not to come into this title expecting some of the great things they saw in Grant Morrison's JLA run. This TPB collects issues 1 - 6.
The plot begins when the future JLA members meet through various circumstances, and they soon find themselves in battle with the Parademons from Apokolips whom are on a rampage on Earth. This battle eventually leads to a confrontation with their ruler Darkseid.
After following Geoff Johns work through his Green Lantern run, and his decent work across Justice Society. It actually bothers me to even think that this was a phoned in job, but that's exactly what this is. I mean almost from start to finish this story just screamed weak and uninspired; it's pretty much unacceptable by the standards Johns set for himself. The characters for the most part are bland stereotypes, and the story is fueled by the most annoying cliches in comics. The characters meet, bicker, fight a threat, then the grand threat appears, you know the drill. There's no sense of urgency or even the slightest amount of build up. It's so by the numbers, it's simplicity at its absolute worst. Darkseid is easily the greatest recurring threat in the pages of DC. He has owned Superman in one on one battle, and he "killed" Batman. He has a lot of depth to his character that can't be summed up in so few pages. He's not just another villain filling a role. Unfortunately, when newbies get done with this book, that's exactly what they're going to think. Why should anyone be looking forward to his next appearance?
I really didn't like some of the characterization in this story. Wonder Woman is too one dimensional here, and Batman simply just does the unthinkable. To make a point in battle, he unmasks himself in front of Green Lantern, who long before this point has proven to be nothing but a loud mouth craving attention. Johns attempts to make this relevant to the story but it really isn't, and Batman just comes off like a fool doing it. The injection of Cyborg into the Justice League couldn't feel anymore forced. It's as if DC took a look over there at Marvel's New Avengers and saw the building popularity of Luke Cage. Thus, giving it a run here hoping for the same effect. Unlike Cage though, Cyborg totally feels like the token black guy. Call me old school, but I liked him better with the Teen Titans. The story is so badly written in many areas; supposedly during Darkseid's invasion of the Earth, the planet was being bombarded globally by Boom Tubes, in which these are teleportation devices used to transport his troops. There is like no broad scope of this threat whatsoever, so you never really get the full, "this is the end" feel. It's a plot device that isn't really taken anywhere.
The story isn't completely terrible, as Johns at least delivers with some fan service by giving fans some decent confrontations. I liked his portrayal of Superman here a lot, as he's a living powerhouse, almost appearing to be an unstoppable force of nature; this is something that has been missing from the character for quite some time. Green Lantern was no match for him, which is something I did enjoy watching. And to the disappointement of the Batman fans, well... come on people. Did you honestly think the Bat would match up against Superman in the heat of battle like that? Plus Johns definitely earns some cool points for making Aquaman look awesome. I did not expect that.
The true saving grace is Jim Lee's artwork. His character designs and backgrounds have always been something to write home about and it's no different here. Everyone looks awesome and even though I don't dig Superman with the armor, it still looks too cool. Darkseid is the best of the bunch though, he's actually scary looking; he's very large with a truly demonic appearance as if he came straight from hell and not another planet. The action panels are very fun to look at, and even though Superman and Aquaman are great here, it's Green Lantern who steals the show, with a variety of different constructs created by his ring. Justice League is mediocrity at its finest, but it can be damn fun mediocrity though.
Justice League: Origins is overall a very shallow read. It feels like a movie script Michael Bay would probably be proud of. The reason I say "probably", is because it doesn't have enough lame and pointless comedy to be something he would truly gush over. As an origin story and something meant to appeal to newbies I guess it works. The artwork is indeed very flashy and there's lots of action. If that's what you're looking for then this book is for you. To those who read this book and disliked it, please don't use this book as a reason to avoid The New 52. There are some very good stories in the line up, with Batman: Court of the Owls and Aquaman: The Trench being two of the most notable.
Pros: Gorgeous artwork
Cons: Weak story, cardboard characters and weak characterization