The big event is here! DC is putting a great deal of effort and resource into the relaunch/renumbering of all of its titles. With the end of Flashpoint #5, it’s time to turn our attention to Justice League #1, the place where the New 52 begins. Stephen and Matthew took time to examine the first issue and are ready to share their thoughts.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Cover Artist: Jim Lee, Alex Sinclair, Scott Williams
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Justice League: In this universe, the Justice League has never formed. Instead heroes have been operating as individuals, instead of a coherent team…

STEPHEN: So here we are…

MATTHEW: Indeed.  We… are here.

STEPHEN: Should we get to it?

MATTHEW:  I figure the readers would appreciate it… Plus, I have a feeling our Robot Overlord will begin the shock treatments if we don’t.

STEPHEN: Okay… I REALLY LIKED THIS ISSUE! While Geoff Johns may not be my favorite writer, I think he did a fantastic job of introducing the reader to the new DC Universe, and more importantly the tweaked and changed characters that live in that universe. The first meeting between Batman and Green Lantern reminds me a great deal of the All-Star series; you have a hot headed cocksure police officer of the stars, butting heads with someone who is a real dick… an effective crime fighter, but a real dick nonetheless. I really want to see these two not become chummy friends in this series, but instead the antagonistic friends that represent the opposite ends of the team – the hero of the light and the hero of the dark.

MATTHEW: There is a clear parallel between the All-Star versions of Batman and Green Lantern and this issue, and that actually comes across as a weakness for me.  Those “trial balloon” versions of the characters informed this re-imaging, and since I didn’t like the All-Star versions, it’s a little troublesome for me.  Still, I do like the beginning of this issue, and I am much amused by the fact that Green Lantern is gobsmacked by the fact that Bruce Wayne is just a man in a costume in a world full of burgeoning superhumans.  I even like the fact that Batman was so easily able to steal Hal’s power ring, just to show how super-confident (perhaps even cocky) both of them are.  The “Light Vs. Dark” thing was pretty much hammered into place in dialogue AND in the art, though, and it felt a little bit overwhelming to me.

STEPHEN: I wasn’t expecting the villain of the arc to be revealed so soon, but when the Parademon utters “Darkseid”, and GL and Batman don’t know what the heck a Dark Side is, the reader should instantly understand the importance of the team forming. Without a villain of such magnitude, there really is no reason for the Justice League to form. We haven’t seen Darkseid as the central character since that Final Crisis fiasco, and while I don’t think the character was handled correctly then, I’m hopefully Darkseid is going to be revealed as the big bad we all want him to be, and not the watered down night club owner following the Death of The New Gods.

MATTHEW:  I knew Darkseid was coming, as he has slowly become the Justice League’s greatest foe over the past 2 decades or so, and I can actually forgive that.  If you’re going to launch the Big Characters, you need a big villain, and nobody’s bigger than the Lord of Apokalips.  I’m more interested in the reveal of a young Victor Stone, who we all know is going to become Cyborg.  As a college football star, Vic is troubled by his emotionally distant father, who is apparently studying the new superhuman explosion in their world.

STEPHEN: The interesting thing about the Vic story, from my view, is the segment not only gave us a human perspective on a world that has superheroes that no one trusts, but that Vic also gives us a character we can sympathize with. His absentee father, his desire to succeed, and maybe even his desire to be in the same limelight as the heroes, seem to make Vic a very sympathetic, and perhaps unintentional focus character for the series.

MATTHEW:  Oh, I think it’s completely intentional.  He’s the new factor in the JLA, after all.  We know (or think we know) Batman, Green Lantern and the rest, but we’ve never seen Cyborg’s origin in this light.  And I’m quite entertained that the issue ends with an appearance of a certain Big Blue boy scout, and the promise of Superman Vs. Batman in the next issue.

STEPHEN: We haven’t read Action Comics or Superman yet, so I don’t know what his story is, but from the promotional images we’ve seen, he’s constantly being chased. The smack down Kal gives Hal seems very natural and appropriate, even if things are starting to build to the “I don’t know you, let’s fight!” story telling method we’ve seen for years. I don’t mind it really, when a group of testosterone pumped guy get together, there are going to be a pissing match, so I’d rather get this out of the way now rather than later.

MATTHEW:  Indeed.  This whole issue feels very much like a Marvel-style storytelling, in that no one really seems to trust anyone else and they immediately come to blows upon meeting.  Given Jim Lee’s origins in the X-Men franchise, I’d say this, also, is intentional, and if nothing else, the issue looks pretty fabulous.

STEPHEN: Even when I go back and look at Jim Lee’s early work, I still amazed and thrilled at what he brings to the table. So much detail, a great understanding of “camera” placement and layout, I really dig everything on the page. Well I take that back, the one annoying thing I did not like at all in this issue was the constant interruption of the story with all those damn ads in the print copy. On the digital side (yes, I did buy both the print and electronic copies, ‘cause… you know… I have an iPad) ads weren’t an issue.

MATTHEW:  Ads are pretty much the price of admission, these days, although this issue did seem to have more of them than recent DC works.  I only read the print copy, but the biggest distraction for me were the super-glowy digital effects used for Hal’s power ring, as they’re just translucent enough to be confusing as hell, leading to some comprehension problems in the art.

STEPHEN: Bottom line for me… I LIKE IT! Seriously, this was a solid step in the right direction, and I’m board for at least a dozen more issues before I decide to give this series the boot. Great introduction of the characters, great development for Vic, the art is fantastic, and I loved reading the tales of superheroes…and that is saying a lot considering I’ve been rather down on the genre as of late. I’m excited enough about this issue and everything I’ve seen, that I’m giving this 5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★★

MATTHEW:  I’d love to give it that much, but I’m still a bit tentative.  I like this, as first issues go, but I’m troubled by the ‘Write For The Trade’-iness of having issue one of a team book feature only two of the characters (admittedly with cameos by a couple more) and there is a youthful bull-moose loose-cannon vibe to both Batman and Green Lantern that I find a little bit distasteful, even as it’s entertaining.  I’ll agree that it’s a good start for things, it sets a clear tone for our universe, it gives us a little bit of universe-building, and it is a well-designed issue.  The downsides for me come in the breakneck pacing, a slight uncertainty about the fact that all four of the heroes introduced in this issue are mid-20’s tough-guys who might be played by Josh Hartnett, and a niggling irritation in the back of my head that the costumes look a little TOO much like the product of a single designer.  Yes, certainly it’s good to have a unified style, but 8 characters from different backgrounds who all shop at the same store is a stretch for credibility in my mind.  Still, most of my complaints come from a “This isn’t what I KNOW!” perspective, and that’s a good thing, since they’re shooting for a new audience and a level playing field for all the readers.  Justice League #1 is a strong issue, and certainly not the failure that so many nay-sayers have been decrying, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall from Matthew.

Rating: ★★★½☆

ROBOT OVERLORD:  Well, this is interesting, a solid love from meatbag #1, and a tepid look at the heroes from meatbag #2.  There is already plenty of talk of this issue in the Major Spoilers Talk Back: Justice League #1, but you are free to offer your thoughts in the comment section below… you know… if you want to… And I know you want to.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

 

 

 

The Author

Robot Overlord

Robot Overlord

Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to the Robot Overlord. Robot Overlord may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. The Robot Overlord contains a liquid core, which if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at. If Robot Overlord begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. Do not taunt the Robot Overlord.

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29 Comments

  1. The Great NateO
    August 31, 2011 at 7:40 pm — Reply

    I’m just glad I’m not going mad.

    I enjoyed it ALOT and not knowing as much as either one of you about the DCU, I hoped that was a good thing.

    Like I said in Talk Back – Only thing that was annoying was all the ads (6 pages) for “The New 52”. I get it DC, you have some new comics coming out! I did like the Sketchbook at the end though.

    Thanks to Steven, Rodrigo and Matthew for the recommendations on some of the other New 52 titles on the last podcast, I have added them all to my list.

  2. lordrandy
    August 31, 2011 at 7:58 pm — Reply

    After reading at least ten reviews today, you two did a fine job on the review. Now for the book it’s self, i enjoyed it, but seemed alittle short, I think a double sized issue could have worked better. Also i agree with Matthew, I got a big marvel feel off this book. Fine by me, I would love to see these superhero done in a new marvel like style. Over all i give it 4 slices on Meatloaf.

  3. Rocket Rooster
    August 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm — Reply

    Great reviews guys – gonna scoop this one up soon!

  4. dante marx
    August 31, 2011 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    Well, I have mainly been sticking to the indie books and occasional trades, but I decided to give the first 6 JLAs a shot. I don’t know that I am impressed yet. It felt very strongly of all star batman, which I can not claim to have loved, and the characters, Bats included, seem to be characterized by a reckless or impulsive bent. Not that I am going to stop buying, but I am not hooked at this time.

    From Miss Arrowette: Batman was reliably in character. I did not understand Hal as an omnipresent character in the issue. Also, he was a massively irresponsible… how should I phrase this… braggart? I do not understand green lantern as a classic member of the triumvirate (eg Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman). Also, the new JLA is still lacking in female characters. It felt fresh, but also too much testosterone.

  5. Cardmage
    August 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm — Reply

    There are several things to like about this issue, but I still get a feeling that this one is written for the trade. The one thing that keeps nagging at me is how quick GL is to distrust a certain someone, because he happens to be an alien. Wouldn’t you think that an individual who got his powers from “a dying purple alien” and who works in an organization with thousands of other worldly beings would be a little more understanding?

    • MontglaneChess
      August 31, 2011 at 9:07 pm — Reply

      Good point about the alien xenophobia being weird coming from Hal. I totally did not think about that.

      • websnap
        September 1, 2011 at 9:33 am — Reply

        I think it’s because he’s new to the “job” of green lantern at this point

    • September 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm — Reply

      NIMBY

  6. MontglaneChess
    August 31, 2011 at 9:06 pm — Reply

    This issue had some snappy dialogue but I was puzzled by the recent “we’re positioning Hal as part of the Trinity” vibe I’ve gotten from DC (in general) lately. Probably due to the movie franchise, but ultimately annoying. I felt it was a particularly baffling-if-not-blatant-devil’s advocate-move to have Hal and Batman discussing the fact that “supers aren’t welcome [in America]” but then go on to prove exactly WHY Hal shouldn’t be wielding that ring without adult supervision. Grandstanding a character that makes a habit of poking alien bombs with a power ring isn’t a ringing endorsement for “let the supers run around doing stuff to America”.

    I recognize that Hal brings the reason for the dissent to the page (i.e. showcasing exactly why America is wary of supers) vs. Batman, who is relatively level-headed and tries NOT to blow the up the tri-state area with a careless round of bomb poking. But this doesn’t make Hal any less of an annoying d-bag. The Batman/Superman/Hal meet up felt a little tired and not much of a surprise–I feel like it would have been a bigger twist to have Hal and Batman meet up with Wonder Woman. If anything, it would have at least given the writers an excuse to have Hal say something sexist and witty a la Don Draper. Batman and Wonder Woman have had some excellent antagonistic story lines and chemistry–plus, I read that Wonder Woman’s book is supposed to be more dark/horror oriented in DCNu, so a Bats & WW meet cute would have been appropriate.

    Overall–a bit short, witty dialogue, too many d**** on the dancefloor.

  7. Ed
    August 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm — Reply

    I went to a LCB today to get Flashpoint and the new JL because I could not wait for my DCBS shipment. I asked the guy who was working there if they did anything special and he laughed and said “no, we open at noon, if you want it you can come get it then.” This was the same store that did not do Free Comic Book day. Stores like this are not helping the hobby. Captain’s Comics in Charleston, SC (my old store) took me and my son in as family. From the age of 2, my son was welcomed in the store. the guys would talk to him, and hang up his drawings. He loved to go to the store and get a book. I will not even take him to the store here.

    It makes me mad that some comic book store owners did not take the opportunity to run with the ball DC gave them. Will the new 52 be a success? I don’t know. But I know that DC created buzz, and if a store does not use the free advertisement and try to bring in a new generation of readers, then they should not be surprised when a loyal LCB patron since the early 1980s, now shops for his comics by the internet.

    • September 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm — Reply

      Sorry for the poor excuse for an LCS. On the bright side, there are all kinds of options for people to get their comics directly and put that sorry excuse for a store out of business.

      • Frank
        September 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm — Reply

        That better than mine. My LCS (franchise) is shutting down. I am going mail order, rather than drive 30 minutes to the nearest store.

    • JacinB
      September 2, 2011 at 9:09 am — Reply

      Obviously, there are good stores and there are bad stores.

      Locally, I’ve got the GateKeeper which is, from all I’ve seen, one of the absolute best comic and games stores on the planet. And, I’m not just saying that. I’ve travelled a lot since I started collecting comics back in the late ’80s and I’ve made an effort to stop in and see what’s what at the local shops when I have the opportunity.

      As far as friendliness of the staff, willingness to go above and beyond for their customers, and just general selection of back issues, current issues, games, toys and trades, there isn’t a shop I’ve found that can compare.

      During the time that the GateKeeper has been around, though, there’ve been a lot of other shops that’ve tried to start up. So many, now, have come and gone that one of the (now moved-on) managers at the GateKeeper thought they ought to start hanging the ‘captured banners’ of their fallen foes in the game room.

      Sounds like Captain’s Comics was a shop like the GateKeeper. Hope you can find another locally or, hey, maybe think about starting up your own version to show your local crowd what a real, good comic and hobby shop ought to look like.

    • September 2, 2011 at 10:57 am — Reply

      It makes me mad that some comic book store owners did not take the opportunity to run with the ball DC gave them. Will the new 52 be a success? I don’t know. But I know that DC created buzz, and if a store does not use the free advertisement and try to bring in a new generation of readers, then they should not be surprised when a loyal LCB patron since the early 1980s, now shops for his comics by the internet.

      Even if the new 52 is a success, that store isn’t going to be…

  8. Young
    August 31, 2011 at 10:02 pm — Reply

    Overall I liked the first issue, although I have reservations about the All Star nature of both GL and Batman (as the two reviewers pointed out). The Superman splash page made me feel as if I were looking at Mon-El, not Kal-El.

  9. Norberg01
    August 31, 2011 at 10:37 pm — Reply

    I read JL #1 via Comixology this evening. If this was Issue #1 of an All-New “Brave And The Bold Starring Batman and Green Latern,” I would give it 5 stars. It was a fun read and Jim Lee’s art was fantastic.

    But this didn’t really feel like a Justice League comic to me. It felt like the first part of a 2-issue arc hitting all the “Brave And The Bold” beats complete with Batman meeting the hero of the week, arguing with and proving how awesome he is compared to the HOTW, chasing down the bad-guy, and finally meeting Superman in the final splash page and knowing that the cover of Issue #2 will read “The Brave And The Bold Starring Batman and Superman.”

    I really wanted to dive into this one and be inundated with super-heroes almost immediately. Instead, we got some decent Batman/GL character moments, a nice splash of the new Superman costume (personally, I like it) and a tease into the personal life of Vic Stone in a scene that reminds me of Geoff Johns days writing Stargirl.

    All of the above being said, it was a fun read and they hooked me deep enough to keep me around for the first arc and to get excited for “Action,” “Animal Man,” “JLI,” and “Justice League Dark.”

  10. KVH
    August 31, 2011 at 11:19 pm — Reply

    Well today I picked up JL #1 the first comic I have picked up on new comic book day in years. Main thoughts…I enjoyed it. Loved the art and for the most part enjoyed the take on the characters revealed so far. My local comic book shop unlike Ed’s mentioned above actually is doing right by the fans. For every New 52 Issue #1 that a person buys they get a raffle ticket and come october they will be drawing for prizes. That coupled with the fact that a few years ago they moved from a more dingier place to a nice open and inviting family friendly place shows a step in the right direction. My only complaint was they happened to run out of the digital bundle packs since they had no idea they were going to be so popular but that was a little my fault for not pre-ordering.

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned and while I hate link juice to be stolen from Major Spoilers to another comic news site there was a hidden easter egg in the comic that related to Flashpoint #5 that i was informed of via twitter. For those that are interested some pics are at bleedingcool.com and the direct link is below.

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/08/31/the-justice-leagueflashpoint-crossover-everybody-missed/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BleedingCool+%28Bleeding+Cool+Comic+News+%26+Rumors%29

    (Just make sure you click back to major spoilers twice as much to make up for the link away.)

    Good read, good reviews gonna have to get #2.

    • TaZ
      September 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm — Reply

      Dang! I completely missed her there!

  11. ssmetzer
    September 1, 2011 at 7:22 am — Reply

    I completely agree with Stephen’s opinion of the art differences between the printed and digital versions of the book (I bought both versions too). Now I have to decide what version I plan to buy the future issues in. Right now I’m leaning towards digital but who knows how I’ll feel in 30 days. :)

  12. ed
    September 1, 2011 at 8:15 am — Reply

    oh, by the way. I read Flashpoint 5 and JL #1 last night, and I really liked it. I was around for Crisis, and I am ok with reboots.

  13. K. Kortekaas
    September 1, 2011 at 8:18 am — Reply

    I’m surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did, and I’ve grudgingly (and someone sheepishly) added Justice League to my pull list.

    I didn’t want this to happen, but my monthly pull list seems to be growing again.

  14. September 1, 2011 at 10:12 am — Reply

    I like it that Matthew thinks Josh Hartnett is still in his 20’s.

    • September 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm — Reply

      I like it that Matthew thinks Josh Hartnett is still in his 20′s.

      33 is pretty much the same thing. :P

    • September 5, 2011 at 12:52 am — Reply

      yes, he recently moved Josh Harnett into his ‘young hunk’ spot. The previous occupant was Burt Lancaster.

      Josh is going to have a long reign

  15. Capt Magellan
    September 1, 2011 at 11:16 am — Reply

    I loved it and am pretty much of the same opinion as Stephen.

    I don’t see the “All-Star” connection as much as some here do… of course Batman and GL from “5 Years Ago” are going to be more cocky than their more mature versions but (other than Jim Lee doing the art for both books) I don’t see Johns’ scripting to have anything in common with what Miller did with All-Star Bats.

  16. September 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm — Reply

    Mostly there with Matthew’s review. The book moved slowly enough to make me think it’s a TPB-in-waiting, which always makes me question the value of collecting individual issues.

    Art was great, but panel layouts (while beautiful) gobbled up page space. I enjoyed the little sequence with Vic Stone. While I see where people are coming from as far as having him as an established character, I also see the value in him as a teen. I also agree, though, that there was an opportunity within this “relaunch” to better balance out/diversify the white male club of JLA.

    Never have been a huge fan of characterization as blunt as Hal’s was (he sort of came off as a cardboard cut-out of “arrogant guy”), but the dialogue was pretty natural. There’s plenty here to keep me coming back for the next few issues and some things that may convince me to stop immediately thereafter.

  17. DrNobody
    September 5, 2011 at 3:52 am — Reply

    Wow… Apparently I’m the only one that didn’t like it… I just don’t like how the characters were being portrayed (except Vic Stone, who I must say was actually portrayed as likeable unlike every other character in the story). Hal was an @$$… Batman was a douche… And Superman in his brief appearance was a cocky d!#k… I understand we’re trying to go for “edgy” and maybe a little more cynical in this new DCU… I guess I just don’t like that. I REALLY wanted to like the new DCU too… I was one of those “give it a chance” people, and so far it’s a let down… This should probably have been an over-sized issue that started the story on page 1, and ended the story at the end, if for no other reason than to give me a better idea of who this new team is and how it interacts with one another. I guess I also expect more from Geoff Johns, as I’ve read his Green Lantern run as well as many of his other past runs and enjoyed them thoroughly… This issue was frustrating to say the least.

  18. Godders16
    September 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    Great issue

    Great start to a new hobby

    if i go bankrupt in the next year it’s all your fault for your addictive podcasts

  19. September 14, 2011 at 8:09 am — Reply

    Hell, I’m just glad nobody’s wearing their underwear outside their tights anymore…

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