Justice League United #1 Review

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Justice League United was surprisingly well done and arguably the best Justice League titles on the rack.  I eagerly picked up issue one and sat down to have a read.  Does it measure up to number zero?  Read on to find out!

JL United_1_coverJUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #0
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mike McKone
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Editor: Rickey Purdin, Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Justice League United: Adam Strange pleads with Animal Man and Stargirl to help find his missing girlfriend, Alanna.  As the three search in Canada they run into some nasty aliens.  Luckily Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow show up to help.  Meanwhile, Alanna is trapped in outer space along with Hawkman, who’s about to throw down with Lobo.

WHO’S SELLING ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTICAS? I WANT ONE

Jeff Lemire turned what I thought would be a joke into one of my favorite team books from DC.  This issue introduces even better ideas and proves that this team is no laughing matter.  My favorite thing is the captions that give information on the setting are marked as entries from the Encyclopedia Galactica.  It’s a great subtle joke and made me wish one existed as it would be the coolest, most interesting encyclopedia ever.  There’s lots of action as the team battles a giant alien capable of switching forms.  Lemire writes the characters well and gives them time to shine.  Stargirl wrangles the monster almost completely on her own and Martian Manhunter obliterating it brought a smile to my face.  It’s a moment that shows exactly how powerful the Martian is and proves that he could kick Superman’s ass (I don’t care what anyone says, it’s true).  The issue’s full of wonderful little moments from Lobo hacking off Hawkman’s arm to Adam Strange getting his suit.  Humor is scattered throughout and works more often than not.  Just as I thought Adam Strange seemed to learn how to use his suit too quickly, he loses control of his jet pack and is blasted away.  It’s all fun and a nice light read.

If I have any complaints it’s that the story is moving too quickly, making it difficult to know where it’s going.  I enjoy a nice, quickly paced story but Lemire is racing so much that I’m not sure I understand the alien element and their motives.  It also affects some story beats as well.  Adam seems to get his suit rather conveniently and feels too out of place.  The mystery keeps me wanting more but I wish there was a little more clarity to smooth things out.

NOW WE’RE FLYING WITH JET PACKS

Mike McKone didn’t particularly impress me with the last issue but I have to say this one was quite an improvement.  In fact, the entire art team pulls some cool tricks.  There are two splash pages that had me stop and give a Keanu “Whoa”.  The page of Martian Manhunter destroying the giant monster is the highlight and the detail is amazing.  The tiny pieces of shattered wood are finely drawn and it reminds me of a Geof Darrow drawing.  McKone keeps the action flowing well and uses more unique panel layouts.  Carlos M. Mangual does some great coloring, especially in important panels.  Tense or shocking moments are only colored with read and white, providing a great contrast and makes them stand out for the reader.  All around great stuff and it left me impressed.

BOTTOM LINE: SCREW THE TRINITY, THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT

Jeff Lemire and company are giving their all with Justice League United.  What was a good, enjoyable zero issue has been followed by an even better action story with some great humor.  Both McKone’s art and Mangual’s coloring have been turned up a notch and improved.  This book is strong, proving these characters are cool and deserving of a book.  Batman and company can kick rocks, this has become my League.  Now I need a Canadian passport…