Reviewgitation: Justice League #1

A reviewgitation with
Direcow Avatar Direcow, Cavalock and Sarah Coldheart

It’s finally here, our very own review of the relaunch of the DC Universe that kicked off with the release of Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. The landmark issue is already sold out in every comic store around and a third printing is well on its way.

DC has described the series as more of an origin of superheroes in the new DC universe than another Justice League origin. This first issue throws the spotlight on at least three future League members meeting up for the very first time. Needless to say, there be spoilers ahead.

Cavalock Avatar As a longtime Justice League fan, I did almost have some goosebumps when I turned the first page. Well, to all the diehard DC fans out there, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee didn’t screw up this first issue. It wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t a total mess either. I felt it was written more for the newbie or casual reader who had no prior knowledge of who these heroes are, other than from the movies. Hence the choice of Green Lantern, Batman and Superman. Everyone meets everyone else for the first time, so it’s all super reader-friendly. The old group dynamics are all gone.

Direcow  Avatar And on the other hand, I’m a Marvel fan through and through. I tend to stick to only the big titles in DC comics, and I haven’t felt like I’ve missed anything major over the years. However, the new 52 definitely has caught my eye, and since this week was just Flashpoint #5 and JL #1 released on the DC side, I thought I’d give it a shot. You can tell from the amount of exposition in the book that this book is geared towards the new reader, and, well, everything truly is new here. We can pretty much take it that we’re seeing these characters for the very first time, as a relaunch is wont to do.

But what that also means is that it gets a little unsettling trying to figure out where all of this stands – especially if you didn’t know about a relaunch, or if you just know enough about the characters to see that the way they are behaving around each other is all kinds of weird.

Cavalock Avatar I don’t think it would be unsettling at all for new readers and no, I don’t think you missed anything major over the years. I think it was a bit more unsettling for me to see Hal Jordan behaving more like an arrogant Guy Gardner and Cyborg’s new non-Teen Titans origin. All this would take some getting used to but I’m ok with it although I’m still skeptical about Cyborg’s role in all this. I mean the rest of the League are adults while he’s still a teen and all that. I’ll wait and see.

Direcow  Avatar I guess that it’s good then that I am pretty unfamiliar with Cyborg. But yes, watching Hal Jordan behave so was pretty grating, and for me Batman was too much of his “goddamn Batman” persona. All this definitely isn’t your daddy’s Justice League anymore.

Sarah Avatar Well, I didn’t read the “old” Justice League, only the titles from each of the characters on its own (and perhaps only the cartoon JLA). Hence, I was going with an open mind on whatever the new 52 reboot would be like. Though the characters are meeting each other for the first time, the dialogue with Batman and Green Lantern here reminded me weirdly of the movie versions of them. Yes. Christian Bale gruffiness and Ryan Reynold’s smarminess.

Cavalock Avatar Hah, Sarah, you just reminded me of your Starro cosplay last year! Cos that was the villain that brought the original Justice League together. I guess a giant starfish would appear kinda goofy by today’s standard hence the choice of Darkseid here as the main villain behind the scenes, who I assume unwittingly brings our cast of heroes together.

Direcow  Avatar Darkseid is really quite the obvious choice, especially with his increased involvement in recent DC stories, so I have no qualms there. Sadly what was lacking for me, after all that hype, was the feeling of identity, or of a connection to these heroes. They were gritty or cavalier or whatever and while those might be fun archetypes to play with, the general criticism that it’s harder to emphatise with DC characters continues to ring true, especially since for the most part they did not actually to be facing a huge threat, resulting in no requirement for the larger than life characters. It was not epic, not was it close to home – it left me feeling a little cold.

Sarah Avatar Considering this is just the intro, at least for the reboot, I was going to give it a chance. Ok. Technically in my point of view, it was more of me seeing how different they were from their “original” forms and really, their costumes too. I’m especially distracted by Superman’s costume at the end of this issue here. For now, they feel somewhat like strangers taking on the names of said characters.

Cavalock Avatar Yah, I agree. The costume was a little distracting. We haven’t seen the rest of the gang so it’s still too early to see how different their personalities are. To me, Bats was being more or less his usual gritty self while Hal Green Lantern wasn’t. Be interesting to see if Supes is still the big boy scout next issue. And my money’s on Bats winning the fight.

Direcow  Avatar Yeah – costumes seem to be a bugbear for the three of us – especially since it’s someone so iconic. I’m still giving it a chance too, but I’d like to see something that’ll draw me in. It’s hard for them to stand apart from history, and unlike Marvel’s Ultimate universe, this a huge risk. All-in-all, I won’t say it was a bad comic, it was pretty enjoyable, but for some reason it just didn’t jibe with me.

Sarah Avatar I’m a curious cat. I’ll probably buy the rest of the issues in the digital format though to see see Wonder Woman on how she acts (plus, the whole pants on/pants off issue). But oh, the digital format seems pretty good since it has this guided view technology? Another plus point is that I won’t have to go to the comic store to buy this.

Cavalock Avatar Well, it’s not the best Justice League comic I have ever read but I’ll stick around to see how it all comes together. The different personalities, new-look Darkseid, Cyborg’s origin, etc. Maybe we all do this again after the story arc ends?

Direcow  Avatar Yep, count me in for an arc, and we’ll see where it goes. I’ll get it in physical form since I have a standing order with the comics store.

Sarah Avatar Heh, I’ve got other issues ordered in print but ehh, I’ll just keep to having this in digital until I know it’s really a hit.


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