Justice League #1 leads the charge in DC’s groundbreaking and much anticipated “New 52” refashioning, the company’s latest house-cleaning bid to attract new readers by launching and relaunching 52 of their comic titles with brand new #1 issues.
The ambitious plan springs forth from DC’s recent event mini-series “Flashpoint”, in which The Flash engaged in some time-travel/alternate-reality shenanigans that, in the end, left the main continuity slightly different than it was before (again).
For some readers, it might be a great time to make a clean break and see how things play out from afar. For most others, much of the talent and creative teams on display in the upcoming slate are just too enticing to ignore.
Justice League #1 officially sold out last night in advance of today’s on-sale date, moving not just hundreds of thousands of physical copies but many thousands of digital copies as well, another groundbreaking part of the relaunch with offering new issues for download on the same day of release. Insiders are calling it “the beginning of the biggest comic industry publishing event in nearly a decade”.
So how is the actual comic?
It should come as no surprise that DC brought out the big guns for this one. Company golden boy (and DCE Chief Creative Officer) Geoff Johns teams with veteran artist (and DCE Co-Publisher) Jim Lee for the flagship title, where Johns concocts a detailed re-imagining of the Justice League’s first gathering of heroes, now said to be only five years prior to current events. Of course all of the comic’s events take place in this “new” past, so those so-called current events are still pending at least until next week.
Johns wastes no time, diving right into the action with Batman chasing a tricked-out, possibly alien suspect while eluding pursuit by the cops. The plot focuses on Batman’s first encounter with Green Lantern, both on the trail of a scheme by then-unknown villain Darkseid, along with the trials of a young pre-Cyborg’d Vic Stone as he faces struggles on his high school football team. Superman also turns in an appearance for the cliffhanger. (So yes, only half the characters on the cover make any kind of appearance).
Jim Lee’s detailed artwork is fetching, as usual, and delivers near-constant thrills for the book’s action scenes. Lee also shows his strengths with the comic’s quieter character moments, which mainly concern Vic Stone and his daddy issues.
While a vague knowledge of DC lore certainly helps, new readers don’t have to be caught up with the latest printed adventures of our heroes to follow the story. In fact, it’s probably better if you’re not, as longtime readers might be confused as to how all this is meant to fit in with the latest events of the past few years and especially why all the heroes are wearing their newly re-designed costumes during their first meetings.
All the same, the book never drags and the characters have good chemistry, although the idea of the authorities mistrust of the heroes smells like DC trying to ape Marvel, and the tendency for the superhero personalities to butt heads could get old real fast.
For a complete guide to all of DC’s new #1’s shipping in September, check out the guide at the official site.