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READ MY LIBRARY ENTRY 64: A Look Back at New 52 Justice League: Origin!

Justice League Origin

Reeling from a tough week with his computer currently on the fritz, Max takes time out of regular writing to dig up an old entry on the New 52 Justice League series and its first hardcover Origin. Re-telling the Justice League’s formation from the start, this time with Cyborg included, Max finds Origin to be as rewarding a read in whole as he did the first time around with the issues.

Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of comics! Join Max every Thursday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at superflycomics@gmail.com. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to maxdlake@gmail.com. Comments are currently closed, though we’re looking into a new way to do comments so stay tuned. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. Most entries deal with Max re-capping what he’s read in detail, so be aware that there is a SPOILER WARNING for this and all entries, though Max usually leaves out the big spoilers/shockers/moments and leaves those for the reader to discover. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.

Greetings and salutations Fly-Hards and Super-Flyers!  Unfortunately, I have been unable to access my computer for a little over a week, which has made writing very difficult.  However, I was able to use my wife’s laptop to dig out an old entry covering Justice League Origin and I thought I’d share that with you all now and hope for the best in getting my PC back in working order ASAP!  This entry was nearly written just over two years ago, but it has yet to see print, so what the hey?!?  Sorry for all the delays in getting an entry up today, but this seemed like a good one to use. Justice League is a great book and every great book has a beginning.  In the New 52, that beginning was Origin, and was written by Geoff Johns (who still writes Justice League) and drawn by Jim Lee.

Enjoy and hopefully see you back here next week when things should be back in working order (I hope!)

 

Written 5/26/12

It’s the wee hours of the morning and I have stayed up clearing up space on my DVR for tomorrow’s DC Nation on Cartoon Network and read Justice League Vol. 1: Origin, collecting the first six issues of the New 52 series that kicked off DC’s relaunch.  I enjoyed it thoroughly in issue form, which I read up to #4 I believe.  But now having it collected and reading the whole thing start to finish is fully rewarding.

The story, which assembles the Justice League for the first time in the face of an invasion by Darkseid and his armies of Parademons is a really nice origin story.  It’s a great introduction, or re-introduction, to these characters.  Green Lantern is cocky;  Batman is brilliant;  Flash is noble;  Superman is nigh unstoppable;  Wonder Woman loves to fight;  Aquaman is confident; and Cyborg’s the new kid trying to figure out his new status as a metahuman.  The personalities are distinct and as they interact and clash, they become more defined in ways both familiar and new.  They are also all pretty formidable heroes.  Action sequences are downright awesome, from the fight between the cops vs. Batman and Green Lantern vs. a Parademon at the beginning, to Superman and Flash trying to outrace Darkseid’s Omega Beams later in the story.

At the outset, Batman tracks a mysterious oversized creature and runs into Green Lantern.  It turns out this creature is a Parademon from Apokolips, and before Batman or GL can figure much of anything else, they’re surrounded by cops.  It’s a very cool piece of story and illustration while Batman and Green Lantern try to get to know each other and survive their encounter.

Batman on the run

Batman is on the run from the cops *and* Green Lantern while chasing a Parademon!

For long term comics fans, it suffers a bit as it’s an origin story where everything old is made new again, and the typical super hero meet ups happen as they traditionally do: they fight before they team up, and it’s introductions all around for all the characters.  Despite the first issue-itis feels of the first couple issues, the team quickly assembles and bring out some cans of whup-ass as they have all out brawls with nonstop waves of Parademons before taking on Darkseid himself.  What’s more, with the entire New 52 initiative kicking off with Justice League at the end of last August, people were really looking to this book as test waters for the coming relaunch, making it necessary to introduce characters for a first time audience.  To say the book has been a success is an understatement, as there have been numerous reprints of the first issue.

The story is pretty good, and a big part of it is Geoff Johns cleverly weaving the foundation of the new DCU and Jim Lee doing a hell of a job rendering it.  My one art complaint is that there is an overabundance of double splash pages.  Yes, the re-introduction of the Justice League is epic, and yes, these do look mighty awesome, but with it happening multiple times throughout the series, it’s a bit much to take in reading it all in one go and makes the splash pages, when they reoccur, less thrilling than if they had been used less generously.  Other than that, Jim Lee does a fantastic job, and I’d never have thought that the guy I thought was one of the best comic artists as a kid with his work on X-Men would several years better only improve and hone his craft further and deliver a book starring the Justice League.  It’s fan-tastic (pun intended) and does not disappoint.

From the scribing side of things, Johns hits the ground running with this new Justice League, all the while laying the groundwork in many ways for other DC properties, both heroes and villains and everything in between to spring forth simply by incorporating a few lines and connecting dots that weren’t previously in this re-imagining of the DCU.  Several seeds are planted for future plot lines, or even whole other books.  Johns also does justice to each main character in the League (pun intended again).  One cool aspect is when Aquaman shows up nominating himself leader and then gets a bunch of sharks and other aquatic life to attack the swarming Parademons.  Again, the personalities are greatly depicted and everyone does get a chance to shine, but with the ensemble cast less attention is given to each member where it is their interactions that the spotlight truly focuses on.  Only Cyborg seems slightly underdeveloped, though understandably, as for a good portion of the story, he’s undergoing incredible changes and learning to deal with it isn’t easy for the young teen.

Aquaman summons sharks

Aquaman’s “aquatic-telepathy” to the rescue!

It’s important to remember that this is the League’s first time working together, and their tactics come hard and fast in the light of some pretty serious world-ending happenings they’re trying to tackle.  Their teamwork skills aren’t quite there, but must develop quickly in light of what’s happening.  Green Lantern is almost disgusted at the end that the world thinks they’re a team and all friends when they aren’t, but Batman warns him that it’s best to let everyone believe they are.  Naturally, they stick together for real and become the world’s greatest heroes.  It’s a title they literally earn after emerging in a world not ready for super humans by saving everything, for the first time and so by the book’s end, the characters in the League and the world at large have changed in light of the crisis, and it’s the dawn of a new DCU.

Darkseid Arrives

Darkseid arrives shaking things up for the new Justice League!


I’m also happy to report that the “special features” that DC made us all shell out an extra buck per issue for have been included in the hardcover.  These include excerpts from an interview with Wonder Woman’s guy pal and government liaison Steve Trevor conducted by Amanda Waller; an excerpt from a book about Atlantis by writer David Graves, who turns out to be a civilian saved from death by the League; and a company profile on S.T.A.R. Labs employees including Cyborg’s father, Dr. Silas Stone, as well as classic League villains Dr. T.O. Morrow and Dr. Ivo before they became villains.  There are also several sketches of the new costumes and character designs, which are also cool touches.  I’m just glad the special features are here, as some of them actually serve the story and would have been boggled if they had not been included.

While Justice League: Origin isn’t my favorite Justice League story of all time, it certainly is impressive comics and definitely works as the perfect “gateway” comic to give someone who is unfamiliar with the medium.  It’s self-contained, yet works as a springboard to all the other heroes in the League, all of whom except Cyborg have their own book (a New 52 Cyborg book, now there’s an interesting idea, especially if he’s one of the “original 7” League members now and other black heroes Static and Mister Terrific lost their books, making him a good candidate for a new one but I digress…) and is the perfect answer to the question “who are the Justice League and why should I care about them?”

I’m getting sleepy, so I think I’ll reorganize these thoughts later.  But at the very least, the path is cleared to get started on other characters in my waking hours later today.  I’m ready for bed now, especially as we’re going to a farmer’s market in a few hours!

That’s it for now folks, I’ll see you next week!

Past entries of the Read My Library Blog

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