If Justice League #1 is any indication of what we’re in store for with the New 52, then DC is bringing it strong and fans are in for a treat. No longer carrying the “of America” moniker, Justice League #1 kicks off in a new direction for the legendary super team, brought about by the super star team of writer Geoff Johns and artist and DC co-publisher Jim Lee, with Scott Williams on inks. I’ll sum up my review now: This is one book not to miss. Justice League #1 sets up the entire DCnU as it depicts a time five years in the past, when super heroes were feared and stalked by the law. As any good book, Justice League hits the ground running with Batman pursuing someone, or something, across rooftops, while he in turn is being pursued by a number of police helicopters.
Legends collide for the first time, as Green Lantern shows up and the friction that has existed between the two characters for years is established for the first time. Characters are introduced and their personalities are played to the hilt: Batman uses gadgets, is grim and concentrating fully on the mission while Green Lantern is cocky and almost carefree in using his power ring. Naturally, they don’t mix well. Even GL’s ring constructs are imaginative and vibrant on the page and contrast with the darkness of Batman. Their meeting does play out a little like the typical first time super heroes meet up, causing the issue to suffer a bit from “first issue-itis” but things aren’t overly stereotypical and this aspect does not detract much from the enjoyment of the book.
Another important element of the book’s story is the (re-) introduction of Vic Stone and the beginning of his story that will ultimately lead him to becoming Cyborg—a character more widely associated with the Teen Titans, now to become a charter member of the League.
The identity of the thing GL and Batman pursue ultimately leads to the reveal of its true nature and the identity of the villain behind it all. I didn’t want it spoiled for me so I won’t spoil it here, but it was definitely a very cool, very surprising, reveal. I can’t wait to see how this villain’s scheme plays out and watch the Justice League come together to combat it. I also enjoyed seeing the next future member of the League that GL and Bats try to contact.
While Geoff Johns’ script keeps the action coming and things interesting, Jim Lee’s art really makes Justice League of America #1 gorgeous. Lee is at the top of his form, with things from perspiration on Batman’s face to the hopeful looks of a young Vic Stone, to the all out craziness and explosions of the battle between GL, Bats and the person they’re pursuing. The end result is a book that is slick, over the top, and is the kind of story that perhaps is best told in comics, making this first of first issues a testament to the medium.
If I have one complaint, it’s a superficial one and not really a complaint at all. Neither Batman or Green Lantern’s costumes look all that different. I know, that’s a stupid thing to complain about and I don’t know if I even am complaining as every DC character really didn’t need a re-design (not to mention Batman & Green Lantern’s histories are probably the least affected by the re-boot). It is worth noting that I could not recognize the foe Batman and GL chase initially because of its difference in design—leading to a cool “Aha!” moment for me.
Like all great things, the book is over too soon, with a great cliffhanger that makes you wish the next installment wasn’t thirty days away. I am hooked to see the rest of this story and haven’t felt this jazzed about a Justice League book in some time. This is a book I definitely want on my pull list for the foreseeable future and you should too. So if you haven’t already, pick up Justice League #1 as soon as you humanly can (the second printing hits September 14th) and prepared to take a super heroic leap into DC’s new universe.