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Justice League of America #1 - World's Most Dangerous, Chapter One Review

5

There's a new Justice League team in the DCU. This is where we find out why the team members were chosen.

The Good

The idea of the Justice League has been different in the New 52 universe. What we've seen so far is the original team consisting of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg have pretty much kept to themselves for the five years they've been together. There apparently was an attempt to bring in Martian Manhunter to the team but that didn't end well. The Justice League International has been disbanded and the Justice League Dark operates on a different level.

We tend to see popular books break out into franchises in comics. This could have easily been just another Justice League book. It would have made sense with the growing number of heroes and the threats around. That's not what this is. Geoff Johns has made it so this book clearly stands separately from JUSTICE LEAGUE.

For months we've wondered about the choice in the team roster. We know Johns often likes to take some of the lower level heroes and turn them into something grand. The Justice League of America is a mix of slightly veteran heroes, killers, a thief and some heroes new to the scene. Why were these characters gathered together? It's all clear in this first issue.

Knowing that Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller are involved should say something. You can see the government wants a team they could control. The question is, what sort of PR will this team have? We saw after the five years the League was active, the public still adored them. With the distancing the team has recently made, you can see why the government would want their own League.

Because this is the first issue, everything is set up. There are times when those set up issues feel a little bogged down and suffer from a lack of action. That isn't the case here. All the introductions to the characters are handled just right. I haven't read SAVAGE HAWKMAN in months and I've fallen a little behind on Katana's adventures in BIRDS OF PREY but within a panel or two we find out all we need to know about them and get a couple pages showing where they're at right now.

David Finch is on board and delivers his detailed grittiness. While we do see some action with the individual characters, it's going to be a blast to see them operate together. His style definitely sets up the right tone for this series.

Then there's the ending. I'm sure some will say they saw it coming. I fully applaud it.

The Bad

There were a couple times a couple of the characters looked off a tiny bit. Finch sometimes draws characters with big barrel chests (in which Trevor gets one in a panel). Stargirl's torso looks a little too long in one panel. But otherwise, the characters look grand and intimidating.

The Verdict

It's easy for publishers to put out franchise books, ones that branch out of other titles. These sometimes just give us more of the same thing. Thankfully, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA is not just another Justice League book. This and JUSTICE LEAGUE may compliment each other but they are not the same book with just different characters. Thinking about what is being set up here will have repercussions for both teams as well as the DC Universe as a whole. David Finch's art works well with the story as we see the entire situation being set up. There are scenes of conversation, introduction as well as action. Finch depicts all of them with ease. The hook or direction of this title is a welcomed one and I can't wait to see how this series relates to the other titles.

This issue shows the series wasn't what I expected. Johns shows there is more depth to the book and it was exciting to read and think where this will all go in future issues.

57 Comments
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Posted by BlueLantern1995

Excellent Review, thanks. This series will definitely be on my list of must check out comicbooks when the graphic novel comes out down the line. Again thank you G-Man.

Posted by Icon

Oh nice! Really looking forward to picking this up.

Posted by Dark_Guyver

Picked this up, gonna give it a try.

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Posted by Lvenger

Damn it after the mess Justice League has been, I was hoping JLA would be more of the same so that I didn't feel bad about not getting it. From the sounds of it, that isn't the case.

Posted by G-Man

@Lvenger: There's a great hook. Not sure how obvious it is. I'm sure some will complain about it. I loved it. It totally changes the idea of this book and where it can go.

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Posted by Lvenger

@G-Man: A hook? Now I have to go out and find that out now you've reeled me in! Oh and excellent review G-Man, thanks for the time taken on it! Didn't mention that before so thought I'd do that now.

Posted by TDK_1997

This looks better than Justice League and I hope that I will have the same rate as you.

Posted by bladewolf

Got the Connecticut cover version. Definitely a great issue, a 4.5/5 in my book.

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Posted by krspaceT

@bladewolf said:

Got the Connecticut cover version. Definitely a great issue, a 4.5/5 in my book.

POWER TO YOU AND ME OF THE NUTMEG

Posted by DustinStauffer

I enjoyed the first issue. The lineup is very interesting, which I think it will help move the story along. A lot of clashing personalities and beliefs. The Stuff with Martain Manhunter was very cool, very interested to read his back stories in this book. It will be interesting to see how this League interacts with the other as this all plays out.

Posted by ssj2DeadPool

I feel like this is a justification for them taking my beloved Booster Gold away from me by killing JLI. So I just cant buy this even though I think it looks cool.

Posted by braynehurricane

@ssj2DeadPool: From solicitations it appears Booster Gold will be coming back in a few months, so I wouldn't use that as an excuse to not try this book out.

Posted by TheCannon

I have a question about this comic. Does it build off of anything in Justice League? I've only read the first six issues. Do I need to know anything that was going in in JL, or can I just buy it and read it with no problem?

Posted by The Stegman
Love the 50 states variants  I got NY!
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Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

@TheCannon said:

I have a question about this comic. Does it build off of anything in Justice League? I've only read the first six issues. Do I need to know anything that was going in in JL, or can I just buy it and read it with no problem?

yeah ,alot of it does.

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Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Anybody else notice Amanda Wallers eyes going from blue to brown and Star Girls mask going from red to blue?

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

I liked it so far. MM's appearance was cool even though he came off as a bit angry. cant wait to find out more about him and Stargirl.

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Posted by MadeinBangladesh

I have been stoked for this book. Knew his was gonna be great!!!

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Posted by doordoor123

I'm not a fan of Finch's art (I think everyone always looks Russian), but I loved this issue. Great book. Excited to see where this goes.

Posted by ssj2DeadPool

@braynehurricane: Omg sweet, where at? In this book?

Posted by doordoor123

@TheCannon said:

I have a question about this comic. Does it build off of anything in Justice League? I've only read the first six issues. Do I need to know anything that was going in in JL, or can I just buy it and read it with no problem?

You should be fine picking it up and reading it without reading the Justice League. Any first issue of anything should fill you in on everything. If not, then it is a terrible first issue.

I read it and I think it fills you in. If it doesn't fill you in on something, then it will when that subject comes up again in a story. There will just be a little more mystery for you -- which might be a better thing.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I know, I know but I REALLLLLLLLLLLLLY want a European/British super team.

Posted by dondave

Good Issue, Hawkman looked badass and Martian Manhunter showed who's boss

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Posted by QuantomMan

I read it this morning first thing, This was a great issue of intro. 5 stars

Posted by bob808

I got the Missouri cover. JLA was great.

Edited by Raw_Material

Looking forward to picking up this issue! Can't wait to see what Johns had in store for us with all the hype on the title! Now that he only has to focus on 2 other titles, he'll be able to expand on the mythos of AQUAMAN, JL, & JLA and provide us with some great stories that tops the other ones he has written without getting too clustered up with other titles. (However, quite depressed he left GREEN LANTERN.) I'm also really excited to see how David Finch sketches out and depicts each character in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.

Posted by SupBatz

Hoping I don't need too much knowledge of Johns' Justice League book to read this. I've only read the first few issues. But I'm definitely interested in JLoA so I'll be picking that up no matter what.

Posted by zachkastner

@TheCannon said:

I have a question about this comic. Does it build off of anything in Justice League? I've only read the first six issues. Do I need to know anything that was going in in JL, or can I just buy it and read it with no problem?

I would read up on the Throne of Atlantis crossover (especially Justice League 16 and 17).

That will cover most of your knowledge gaps.

Posted by zachkastner

I like that Ollie doesn't fit the mold. They can't pin down the analog to Batman, so Green Arrow is looking to become the wildcard leader of the pack. Most likely in heart and guts, since J'onn will probably be the "leader" leader.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

I liked it so far. MM's appearance was cool even though he came off as a bit angry. cant wait to find out more about him and Stargirl.

MM has been scaring me ever since he popped up in the DCU. From wiping himself from the Stormwatch team's memory, to doing the same this to about 7 Green Lanterns at the same time, dude is powerful. And David Finch draws him scary looking too. Those red eyes look so cool.

Posted by Danial79

I really liked this issue. One of the things that caught my attention was the mention of Starro and Despero having already been battled by the Justice League. I hope we get to see these stories at some point.

Posted by braynehurricane

@TheCannon: I know Avenging X-Bolt said that it does, which is true to an extent, but you can absolutely read this without having read any JL I think. There's enough exposition for you to understand what's going on. In other words, anything that you might not understand from get-go has at least some line of dialogue that will help clear it up.

Posted by braynehurricane

@Danial79: I was thinking the same! I know they already did an Origin story first arc but perhaps some kind of Secret Origin-esque miniseries revealing some of the battles and interactions that happened in the five years between then and now... I know I for one would pick it up in a second.

Posted by longbowhunter

This was great. The roster, the set up, the dialogue...I loved it all. I've never been a Hawkman fan, but he was really cool in the one scene in this book. Johns' Amanda Waller was spot on. My one minor complaint was it looks like Johns is going with his Skyman mentor story from Smallville for Courtney's origin.

Posted by dondave

@longbowhunter: Considering he wrote the episode she first appeared in, you might be right

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Posted by randolphdefreese

a i the only one who thinks Catwoman doesnt belong?i mean she isnt a hero and she for the most part rolls solo.who thought it was a good idea to put her on this team.

Posted by longbowhunter
@dondave: Its not like I take issue with that, but it does knock Jack Knight's involvement outta the picture. 
Posted by noj

@randolphdefreese: the reason that she is chosen to be on the team is addressed in the issue. Heck one character even brings up the fact that she is a villain and doesnt belong. I think it was well addressed however and I'm sure we will see more development down the line.

Posted by Fantasgasmic

This issue was the Pleasant Surprise of the Week for me. I had very low expectations, but I got to read it via a comic swap with friends (I bought Justice League, one friend bought JLA, and one bought Vibe, usually we only do it with #1s when nobody knows what they'll want to read) we all get the whole story. I think you can't talk about this issue without mentioning the other 2. I like the Justice League issue (4.5/5) I thought Vibe was better than expected (but expectations were very low) and the ending looked promising for JLA (3.5/5) but this book, JLA, I'd give a 4.5/5, with the caveat that you can't appreciate it fully without reading all 3 books, given the reveals at the end of the other 2.

I think the "cold open" that sets up Trinity War was good, but you know it's not going to be straight forward with the line "Our creator wants him dead." Also, the obvious reveal at the end of Justice League (tying in with the opening of JLA) a new Secret Society of Super Villains, and who is in it. Sort-of tie-ins aside, I liked the art, especially the colors in this issue. It was dark and colorful at the same time, setting up the JLA almost like the Secret Avengers. Sometimes faces looked a bit generic, but not distractingly so. I also liked the idea that not only can the ARGUS not trust the JLA members, and they're hiding stuff from the public, like certain members' motivations, or existence on the team. And on top of that, it feels like the reader can't trust everything the characters say or do. Manhunter doesn't take no crap from nobody, which is badass. I haven't read Savage Hawkman, but it seems it sound like he could just be completely out of his gourd delusional. The same with Katana, and Stargirl.

I would LOVE to see a storyline based on that. If any one of those characters was really just paranoid schizophrenic, schizoaffective, delusional disorder, schizoid or schizotypal personality disorder, and J'onn probed their subconscious, but they were so deep in their own delusions that it was totally undetectable, no amount of psychic probing or Wonder Woman's lasso would be able to detect a lie or anything because they believed their reality so deeply. I would love to see another darker, more psychological thriller, based storyline, and the way this issue set things up, it seems like this could be a series to do it in.

Posted by chipsnopotatoes

Great book! Love the homage to TDKR Selina in terms of attitude and knife heels.

Posted by Avengers_4everXX

@longbowhunter: I think it's because DC has some kind of deal with James Robinson where they can't use any of his original characters from Starman without his express permission. Obviously Johns created Stargirl so he can use her, but he has to tweak her origin because Jack is off limits(hopefully because Robinson is planning on using him in Earth 2)

Also, did anybody else think of this when they saw the cover?

Don't know how much influence Johns has on the cover designs, but it seems awfully similar...

Posted by Zeeguy91

Just read the issue. Oh my god.....I loved it! The other two comics I've read of this week so far (Wonder Woman and Justice League) were both great too, but I'd say this is easily my favorite of the bunch. There is some great character work and foundations laid down in this issue.

For a minute, it was almost as if it wasn't Geoff Johns writing this and I say this as someone who is a fan of Geoff Johns. I'm used to GJ's bombastic and action-packed sci-fi stories, which, you know, I really do love a lot of the time (I mean, did I mention that I loved Justice League this week). However, this was different. It was quieter, but still just as compelling. I mean, the majority of the issue is Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller having a discussion, yet Johns is still able to make it feel compelling and substantial. I think its a testament to the fact that Geoff Johns isn't a one-trick pony that a lot of people want to think he is and that he does have a lot of range as a writer.

Anyway, this is my pick of the week so far. 5 stars easily.

Posted by mickeymayhew

am I the only one who misses the days when Catwoman was actually a villian - the way she was created - an dused to do hilarious things like tying Robin onto a plank over a pit full of tigers?! this modern-age amoral 'but basically good udnerneath it all' - Catwoman is a bore, and basically robs Batman's rogues gallery of one of the greats.

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

@mickeymayhew said:

am I the only one who misses the days when Catwoman was actually a villian - the way she was created - an dused to do hilarious things like tying Robin onto a plank over a pit full of tigers?! this modern-age amoral 'but basically good udnerneath it all' - Catwoman is a bore, and basically robs Batman's rogues gallery of one of the greats.

yeah, you're probably the only one.

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Posted by Perfect 10

new it was going to be great and it was! love all the little mysteries and clues to them they laid out. there was an inverted pentagram in the stargirl segment (dark magic) and when she saw it she said pemberton. so does what happened to pemberton have anything to do with dark magic? just who is going to be her "real" father, a super villain? they had three members of the crime syndicate chasing green arrow (yes their faces where shrouded in shadow but not their costumes and who other then wonder woman has a golden lasso?). cant wait for that story to play out. catwoman has an identity thief using her id?? sick me kitty! so many haters doubting my girls skills obviously they never read catwoman year one or her series from the 90s. the girl has mad skills and is DEADLY. YES she can and has defeated your great and powerful batman (yuck) so stop the hate. she's here and deserves her spot on the team :)

Posted by Dan_Mohorter

@TheCannon: You can jump right in no problem, but the series are certainly connected and reading JL will probably give you a richer experience.

Posted by Dan_Mohorter

@Avengers_4everXX: I would say that both covers are versions of the United States Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima during WWII. I'm sure you could find plenty of similar covers throughout the years.

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

@Perfect 10 said:

new it was going to be great and it was! love all the little mysteries and clues to them they laid out. there was an inverted pentagram in the stargirl segment (dark magic) and when she saw it she said pemberton. so does what happened to pemberton have anything to do with dark magic? just who is going to be her "real" father, a super villain? they had three members of the crime syndicate chasing green arrow (yes their faces where shrouded in shadow but not their costumes and who other then wonder woman has a golden lasso?). cant wait for that story to play out. catwoman has an identity thief using her id?? sick me kitty! so many haters doubting my girls skills obviously they never read catwoman year one or her series from the 90s. the girl has mad skills and is DEADLY. YES she can and has defeated your great and powerful batman (yuck) so stop the hate. she's here and deserves her spot on the team :)

they're not the crime syndicate, they were robots created by Professor IVo.

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Posted by akbogert

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

@mickeymayhew said:

am I the only one who misses the days when Catwoman was actually a villian - the way she was created - an dused to do hilarious things like tying Robin onto a plank over a pit full of tigers?! this modern-age amoral 'but basically good udnerneath it all' - Catwoman is a bore, and basically robs Batman's rogues gallery of one of the greats.

yeah, you're probably the only one.

Oh, this made me laugh. I haven't read old Catwoman, but I love the idea of her as salvageable. The fact that she isn't just plain bad is the only thing I do find interesting about her. And I liked what little we've seen of her in this issue. I hope she finally gets written well in New 52.

In general, I really liked this book. It had me laugh a few times, it introduced me to most of these characters for the first time and made me instantly both want to see what they do and fear for them being under Waller's control. I've read none of Justice League or frankly the majority of DC books, and I did not feel lost, though I recognized there were nods to other events which I may want to go look into (especially the Atlantis thing). Also, I love Finch's art. I don't know how long he's on this book, but I hope it's long.

Posted by Veshark

Am I the only one who hated Finch's art? Don't get me wrong, I love his work - it was his pencils on Moon Knight that got me into comics in the first place. But his work here is just...ugly. It's lacking detail, the inking looks rushed, and the overall product just looks unfinished. I used to consider Finch to be the detailed version of Jim Lee, but his JLA pencils are just so disappointing for me. It really distracted me the entire read through.

That being said, the plot was alright. It's an interesting setup issue, so I look forward to seeing where this goes, but I can't say it really grabbed me. For now, this JLA seems like a motley selection of recruits, but I'm waiting for subsequent issues to sell me on the idea. Definitely looking forward to them meeting the Secret-Society as well as the inevitable clash with the Justice League.

Also, is that 'screen-grab' of WW and Supes kissing one that Batman took? That's gonna have...creepy repercussions in the future.

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