The Justice League 1

2 Sep

Much has been said, here and elsewhere, about the new DCU.  Yesterday, the first book launched.  In a lot of ways, I think it was an overwhelming success, but there were some things that could have been done better I believe.  And because I am a pessimist so often, I think I will start with those. 

First off, the release was flawed.  Much was made about the new all digital line-up.  Much was also made about the midnight release of Justice League 1.  Being mildly OCD, I didn’t sleep much Tuesday night, and somehow woke up at 12:40, without an alarm clock.  At that point, there was no sign of an update.  I was quite disappointed.  I woke up a little bit later to see Comixology had updated, and it said to check back at 2 something to see Justice League 1. Much later, when fully awake, I realized it said 2 PM. But in my half asleep state, my insane OCD night had me wake at 3, and try to download a book that still said to check back at 2.  Finally, at 6:30, I checked again when I woke up for work to realize it still was not ready.  During my morning break, I discovered the missed “PM.”  Now, DC had announced that starting in September, all books would be available digitally at 2:00 PM EST but this was an August book, being released at midnight.  I was not a happy man. 

In all seriousness, though, the two biggest problems I have seen mentioned elsewhere.  Geoff Johns is sticking with his typical, long narrative form of story telling, which is great three or four months into a major storyline, but which also seems deflated month in and month out.  A lot of entertaining things happened, but the story didn’t advance far from page one.  2 heroes teamed up, and lo and behold, they finally bump into member 3 at the end. 

The other problem is the art.  Jim Lee does a really good job, for the most part, like normal.  However, a few panels don’t quite measure up to the rest of the book.  Victor Stone’s first close up, after his big game, is a little too busy, for lack of a better term, and Hal suffers a similar fate while talking with Batman about Superman.  But the biggest artistic problem is the variant cover.  I know I may be in the minority on this, but the Justice League look like the Dwarf League of Middle Earth, which I am sure would sell like crazy, but doesn’t fit “my Justice League.”  Not too mention, if they are really trying to push the diversity angle (which, boy are they!), it seems a little odd that the one black member got left off the variant. (And yes, I am worried about pointing this out, as I am sure we will all about it for months). It’s almost as noticeable as Hal’s unfortunate gun placement on the standard cover. 

In spite of these, really small issues, I think the book was a wonderful success.  Hal and Batman together is always fun.  I love Batman in movies and games, but rarely enjoy his comic books.  That said, it is almost always fun seeing him in a team up situation, because he gets to show why he is Batman, and no else is.  Now, Hal has and always will be my favorite comic book character, and I don’t think anyone writes him as good as Geoff, but watching Bats bust on Hal was entertaining.  My favorite scene was probably when Batman quite literally stole the Lantern’s thunder.  Or when Superman showed up and took command.  Or when the rogue alien (I am still hoping Parademons can’t change form in this version of the story) reveals the true threat, which yes, had been revealed a few weeks earlier.  I have waited years for Geoff to write a Darkseid story.  I am sure he won’t disappoint!

And Jim really does a good job on the art for the most part.  He is definitely not my favorite comic book artist.  Alex Ross will probably always be the man, in that respect.  But Mr. Lee is incredibly talented.  I loved his Batman run years ago.  And although I skipped his run on Superman, the pictures I saw were stellar.  I think he may surpass himself now, though.  And though my Superman will always wear his undies on the outside, I am willing to give the new costumes a break. 

All in all, I think this book was an above average introduction to the new DCU.  I have read it several times.  I hope to zoom in frame by frame soon with my iPad to really appreciate some of the bits of the story.  Finally, it set my mind at ease about two concerns I had for the DCnU, though I still have others.  First off, Superman will have his “standard” costume within a year comic book time.  I am sorry, but I can’t see Superman being a jeans and t kind of guy.  Also, Lex is still “my Lex” apparently.  Though I have always felt someone should fill the old Earth 1 role of Luthor, super-mad scientist guy, I always preferred the Post-Crisis, smartest business man in the world Lex.  Viva la LexCorp! 

PS  Still excited Earth 2 is officially back in action!

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