The book responsible for launching us into the “DCnU”, as it has come to be known, is Justice League, written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Jim Lee. These two are probably DC’s biggest guns in their respective fields, so it makes sense that they would be the creative backbone of the DCnU. The big question is, does the book deliver? Is it the perfect starting point, does it send the 52 barreling out of the gate? The answer to both of those questions is no. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it.
The Art: Jim Lee is awesome. For many he may represent an era of comics they wish would just go away, but I really like the way his style as evolved. I have to commend the character designs here, especially Green Lantern’s newish suit and the Parademon (the fire breathing monster, more on that later). Another great thing is the imaginative Green Lantern constructs employed, which is something that other artists fail to take advantage of.
The Writing: Johns nails the interactions between Batman and GL. It’s early in these characters careers and I believe it. Batman is cynical but without all the baggage he’ll carry later on, and GL is cocky and overconfident. The two have always had interesting interactions, and even more so in this fresh continuity. Speaking of which, I love how good it feels to be starting over from scratch. What’s old is new again, and I genuinely have the sense that anything can happen to these characters that I know so well. Finally, I don’t want to spoil anything, but anyone familiar with Jack Kirby’s New Gods should be very excited at the appearance of the Parademon, and the reveal of who the villain of this arc will be.
For all the good, there are a few disappointments. The story starts off well, but the interlude with Victor Stone (the future Cyborg), kind of feels out of place and throws the pacing off a little. Also, while I like where the plot is headed, I can see how some might be disappointed that the whole league was not featured in the first issue. It’s a work in progress and I’m sure the final product will be spectacular, but I’m not sure this “writing for trade” mentality fits with the “bring in new readers” initiative.
This was a well written issue with fantastic art. However, it’s not quite the strong start one would expect from a book that is meant to be the foundation of an entire universe. As a fan I know I’m intrigued, and I hope first time readers are as well. Next week I’ll be reviewing the first batch of the new 52!