This is it. This is the issue that everyone has been waiting for since DC Comics announced that it was relaunching its entire line with all number one issues. History is made as DC has swept most of its history under the rug. The characters are fresh, shiny, and inviting for the general public. As a first issue and introduction to the new DC Universe, how is it? Minor spoilers below.
Five Years Ago…
The issue begins with that tagline as we see the police chasing Batman who is chasing a cloaked figure across rooftops. The police fire on Batman and the cloaked figure. Thankfully, Green Lantern shows up to knock the cloaked figure off the roof, and save the Batman. Most of the book is spent with Batman and Green Lantern talking, and getting to know each other. GL quizzes Batman about what superpowers he possesses. While Batman proves himself by stealing Green Lantern’s ring right off of his hand, a brilliant character moment.
They Say He’s An Alien…
Batman and Green Lantern are able to track the cloaked figure. Who plants an alien bomb, but not before revealing who his master is. (Hint, think about a very tall Superman villain that was created by Jack Kirby, and whose name rhymes with rawhide.) The two survive, and decide to talk to an alien that lives in Metropolis and no longer wears his underwear on the outside.
The one strength of this book is the art. Jim Lee hasn’t lost his touch as one of the best pencilers in the business. The new costumes look amazing under his pencil. The coloring compliments the art nicely, and gives the book a shiny and digital feel. Many panels look like something out of a videogame. This may be the right move when considering this is DC’s attempt to draw more readers into comic books.
The characters and the dialogue are fun, and give a fresh take to characters that have been around for over 75 years. There is a problem. Most of the issue is just a conversation between Green Lantern and Batman. I understand trying to introduce the characters slowly in case this is a person’s first comic, but the decompression of the story makes this issue come off as slow. For an issue, which a lot of people waited in line to grab at midnight I expected more bang for my buck.
I expected all seven members of the Justice League, working in unison, to take down the biggest, baddest, villain this side of the Milky Way in one epic, widescreen comic that would immediately convince anyone that comics are cool. Instead, we get a slower character introduction with great art, some minor action beats, and only three members of the Justice League actually show up. I’m willing to give Geoff Johns, the writer, the benefit of the doubt.
I’m sure this storyline will lead to somewhere cool. With that said, I do think that for the introduction of the new DC universe, Justice League #1 is a soft beginning. The issue is good, better than most good, but it’s not great. It’s not a game changer. Usually the beginning of a universe begins with a bang. This one begins with a soft pop.
Fortunately, Justice League #1 did feature the best drawing of Superman’s new costume that I have seen yet.