Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DC Relaunch - Review of Justice League #1

I've been a long-time fan of iFanboy for all my comic booking needs. I regularly listen to their podcast and always try to stop by their booth and say hi when I'm at a convention where they also happen to be attending. Anyway, I wrote a review of the new Justice League #1 released just today from DC Comics. This is the first book in their controversial and exciting (at least to me) relaunch of their entire line. I plan on buying more and will likely be posting reviews of the various #1's both here and over there over the course of the next few weeks. Note: I bought this digitally this afternoon, which was awesome, and now my comic collection goes everywhere I go, which is all kinds of awesome.

I don’t normally buy single issues, in fact I haven’t since I was in high school, but with the relaunch of the entire DC Universe, I got excited for one very specific reason: digital day and date release. I don’t want to have to board and bag my comics, and the thought of keeping long boxes just hurts my back as I think about moving out of my apartment. So, anyway, what I’m trying to say is that DC won me over by combining possibly the best jumping-on point in comics history with the new same-day digital release model.

So I paid $4.00 for a digital file I read in about 20 minutes, how does this make me feel? With Justice League in particular, it makes me feel… fine. Not great, not really disappointed, just, fine. I grew up on Morrison’s JLA (which has me incredibly excited to read Action Comics this month), and probably expected too much out of the book.

The problem is, this feels simply like a team-up book between Green Lantern and Batman. I know these are the two characters who are the big money-makers for DC, but I bought Justice League thinking this would be a team book staring more than two characters. Where were Flash, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman? I understand that this is a first meeting, but the character I care least about on the cover – Cyborg, got several pages, and these other founding members of the League got none. In the first issue. I take it back, I am a little disappointed.

That being said, since really I’m reviewing the relaunch as a whole based on one issue, I’ve got mixed feelings. Justice League was my second-most anticipated book (after the afore-mentioned Action Comics) for the relaunch. It didn’t grab me even a little bit, which is jarring and really unfortunate since I’m completely sold on the relaunch of the universe as a whole.

As a person brand new to buying comics on a weekly basis rather than trade waiting for every single thing I want to read (a.k.a. I can finally start reading DC again since I don’t have to wait three years for a collection!), I’m not calling it quits quite yet. I will probably end up buying 15 to 20 more titles over the course of September just to dip my toe into a lot of things and try to keep my excitement up.

The real question here, however, is will I be buying Justice League #2 the day of its release? Sadly no, it didn’t win me over. I may wait a month for it to drop a buck or wait to see until after the first arc if we get a discount on the digital collection.

In case you’re curious, here are the other titles I’m looking to pick up this month before reading any reviews (just to see if your tastes match mine at all):

Justice League International (hoping we get a good team vibe out of this and some hook of an initial story)
Green Lantern
Green Lantern: The New Guardians
Justice League Dark
Legion Lost
Action Comics
Story: 3 - Good
Art: 3 - Good
(Scores are both out of 5 possible stars)


  1. I got a strong "All Star Comics" vibe off of the issue, and not just because of Jim Lee's artwork. Green Lantern is a naive boob, Batman has issues with the police, etc. They even recreated Batman stealing GL's ring. Honestly I wasn't that impressed.

  2. I do think you have missed the point of the new Justice League comic. This first story arc is taking place 5 years ago, and is basically a new origin story for the creation of the Justice League.

    The Silver Age Justice League met after fighting a number of aliens from another planet who were holding a competition on our planet for who would rule their empire. This is a retelling of that story in this age of comics, from what I can tell. Yes, the story focuses on Batman and Green Lantern. Yes, two other characters do appear, and it will lead to the others.

    Patience is no longer a virtue in this age, but this story will develop over the next couple of issues.

  3. @WQRobb: Although I never read All-Star Batman and Robin, I was thinking the same thing. It's something they should have actively tried to avoid doing with this flagship title since ASB&R is pretty much a joke for comic fans.

    @Lightfinger: I do appreciate that viewpoint, and actually the whole time I kept comparing JL#1 (unfavorably) to my experience with reading JLA Year One from Mark Waid. I appreciate Johns' style of story-telling and absolutely loved the Sinestro Corps. War (my favorite thing of his that I've read), but this style of the slow build up is really not what you needed for this issue in particular.

    This should have been something more substantial, but instead it felt like just the beginning of a sentence. I'll admit that a good old Batman vs. Superman throw down that is hinted at on the last page of the issue is always good, but it's not really enough to make me care about the team as a whole.

    Like I said, it was fine, but it didn't blow me away, and for the book that launches an entire universe, I needed to be blown out of the water.


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