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.
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.
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.