I Finally Read Justice League #1

14 Sep
Cover of "Spawn: Batman"

Maybe it took another company to show DC the way... (Cover of Spawn: Batman)

Short answer? I like it, but I don’t love it.

Long answer…

Remember when Image Comics launched in 1992? It was the hottest artists in comics, creating and publishing their own brand-new, all-different superheroes. The stories were Big and Energetic and (let’s be honest) kind of shallow. They were the closest thing comics had to Michael Bay movies (with better storytelling): bold, exciting, and All Surface. Youngblood #1, Savage Dragon #1, and Spawn #1 were especially awesome when they came out, like nothing else on the stands, and I can’t tell you how many people in my high school got excited about reading comics for the first time. (Of course, then Wizard brought over the speculators, and mainstream comics mostly sucked for a few years after that, but let’s focus on the positive, yes?)

Anyway, that’s Justice League #1 in a nutshell.

I get what Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are doing here. DC is making a clean break with the past: not ignoring “continuity” (for the nerds who still care about such things), but giving us a new and different approach to DC storytelling. If JL #1 is representative of all of the New 52 #1’s, DC has made a radical shift in house style: the last few years of DC’s superhero output have been generally, frankly, pretty bland, with stories emphasizing Plot over Character without creating any excitement. The New New DC still lacks depth of character, but these pages are exploding with excitement: WHY are Batman and Green Lantern being alpha-male dicks to each other? WHY is there a scene shift to pre-hero Cyborg playing football? WHY does Superman have a collar and no red underoos? WHY are half the characters on the cover not inside the comic?

I don’t know, but – despite the all-First-Act story, the Hollywood-cliche pacing, and the overall sense of confusion, it’s COOL. Really cool. I commented the other day about how everything being reported about the New 52 sounded like DC wasn’t doing enough to get new readers, but given three straight weeks of sellouts so far, I might end up eating those words.

Justice League 1 2nd print cover

The cover to the 2nd printing - HOT HOT HOT!

Both Johns and Lee are capable of telling stories with much more nuance and depth; they have some excellent work in their past that is well worth re-reading. But this proves to me that everything here in JL #1 is intentional – it’s Big, Pop, Disposable Comics. And if it brings more readers to comics (or back to comics), this can only be a good thing.

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11 Responses to “I Finally Read Justice League #1”

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