No matter how many infinities, crisis or rebirths the DCU endures, there will always be a Justice League. With that being said, your Infinite Blackest Flashpoint Crisis of Final Identity reviews of Justice League Rebirth is about to begin!
Previously in Justice League: The New 52 Superman died and Power Ring became a Green Lantern. While these events took place in Superman #52 and Justice League #50 respectively, they both serve as prerequisites to the events of this issue and are really all you need to know before picking up Justice League Rebirth. Don’t you just love jumping-on points?
A LEAGUE OF ADEQUATE GENTLEMEN
This issue of Justice League doesn’t waste any time in establishing the antagonist. Within the first few pages, we learn that Earth is under attack by a gigantic, techno-organic alien known as the Reaper. When you have a title like the Justice League, you have to include a threat that warrants calling in a team comprised of some of the greatest heroes of the DC Universe. Since this book is merely a one-shot, I can see why Bryan Hitch decided to go the generic oversized and out-of-this-world alien monster route rather than a household name in terms of Justice League villains. The problem is that the Reaper was simply too generic, which is part of a larger dilemma I had with this book. The fact of the matter is that it seems like Hitch may have been overwhelmed handling both the writing and the art because both felt very rushed, but more on that later.
Some of the better moments from this issue came from the scenes featuring Lois and Clark. Seeing the Big Blue Boy Scout in domestic bliss is a great way to humanize the American Alien, though I feel like we were retreading old ground in a sense. In previous issues of Superman and Action Comics, we saw Clark accept the fact that the New 52 Superman was dead and that he needed to be the Superman of this world. Yet, despite this, we once again get a version of Kal-El that is hesitant to accept his fate as the Man of Steel. I can understand that Hitch’s intention might have been for the events of this issue to have taken place closer to those in Superman Rebirth, but it felt reminiscent of some of the convoluted inter-title timelines that have hurt DC in the past.
The story ends as you would expect – the Justice League, updated roster and all, standing tall after having defeated their enemy. It was rather anticlimactic and at the same time, it was sort of how I expected this issue to end. All in all, the goal of establishing the new Justice League was accomplished, even if it was done in a lackluster fashion.
IS THIS HOW JUSTICE LOOKS?
Earlier, I alluded to the fact that I think Bryan Hitch might have been spread a little too thin by doing both the writing and pencils on this issue. While the writing was salvageable, I had a lot of problems with the art. The way an artist handles the eyes of characters in a book is huge for me. Eyes are the most expressive part of the face and when drawn well, can impart incredible emotion. The issue I have with Hitch’s work is that everyone’s eyes have the same small, dull look to them. In some panels, it seems as though Hitch even tried to actively avoid drawing eyes altogether by having characters facing away from the reader or by having their eyes obstructed by limbs or other objects. I can’t tell if this was merely a coincidence but given the fact that so much of the art felt rushed, I have to err on the side of laziness. There is a panel where Wonder Woman is attempting to pierce the Reaper with the Bolt of Zeus and her jaw looks practically unhinged. I didn’t feel like the art was given the attention it deserved, which leads me to believe that Hitch struggled to balance both aspects of the book. Thankfully he will be delegating the art to Sandu Florea and Tony S. Daniel in issue #1. The inks in this issue were done by Daniel Henriques with Scott Hanna and the colors were done by Alex Sinclair. Both of these were handled well and I have no complaints in either of those departments. Unfortunately they weren’t enough to win me over on the art as a whole.
BOTTOM LINE: JUSTICE WASN’T SERVED
All in all, this was not a great book. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it is by no means an essential read. As far as Rebirth titles go, this has been the weakest of the bunch in my opinion but it’s still an OK Justice League title if you can get past the uninspiring art.