The new 52 has been heralded as being an epic selection of new exciting stories, restarting the DC universe to appeal to new readers as well as old. Solicitations have encouraged many to seek out these new titles, promising great art and writing. Flashpoint ended with nothing but a mere whimper, as it acted as the vehicle to get towards the new DCU. It had some neat ideas such as Batman; Knight of Vengeance, but ultimately it was a bit of an average read.
So, it was up to the first issue of Justice League to grab that new readership. This was a superhero team filled with DC’s best, so surely the new comic would feature them all fighting the forces of evil? Because that’s how team books work, right? Right?
Well, not exactly. Johns opens up with Batman and Green Lantern and some shaky dialogue, as the banter between them comes off as forced and uncharacteristic. That’s no surprise there, this is one of John’s many ‘talents’ – forgetting different characters have different personalities.
There’s no summary to these events, we’re just provided with two different characters arguing for an overly long period of time. One half of the comic focuses on this banter, which somehow seems criminal. This is Justice League we’re reading here, not the adventures of Hal and Bruce. There shouldn’t be such a strong focus on their dispute.
This is the major problem for a first issue trying to attain new readership. For a new audience, readers need expository dialogue. They need a summary of events. It’s not that hard to accomplish. Just a few yellow boxes should do the trick. It’s a basic requirement to get people introduced to the new team, but then that in itself is tricky when the comic only stars three superheroes. Where is Wonder Woman? Flash? This is a comic about the Justice League.
Sure, Jim Lee’s pencils have improved since the good old nineties but then they are nothing spectacular. They are standard fare for any experienced comic-book reader, but at least they can grab the attention of the new readers. Perhaps a flashier artist could have been better, but this is DC for you. They believe in Jim Lee.
Justice League is far from a bad issue, but then why isn’t it the spectacular opening it should have been? It suffers horribly thanks to stale methods which have been used in comics for decades. So, it seems like one superhero wants to willingly brawl with a potential ally? Haven’t seen that before! The potential enemy is also someone that other variations of the team have fought countless times before. Tired, worn out elements should be shaken up for a brand new DC universe. They shouldn’t be the same old nonsense.
It’s a shame really, to see that the comic lacks the punch which it requires. Sure, it’s been flying off the shelves – but that’s because it’s the first issue. Johns should have known better. Justice League #01 shouldn’t be an average, tiring read. Let’s hope there are some better newcomers later this month.
Such as Suicide Squad.