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Justice League #1 Review

DC has begun their “The New 52″ relaunch with Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Scott Williams. I think it was a good opening to their initiative. Read on for specifics!

Probably the one thing that I appreciate the most about Johns’ take on the formation of the Justice League is that he is injecting a good deal of humor into the comic. It is a nice to see that established right off the bat in the new DCU. Combining that with a fast-paced and yet characterization-rich story was a smart move, since if you have Jim Lee drawing your comic book, you really need to put a lot of cool action into the story (as that is what Jim Lee does best), but you don’t want your first issue to be devoid of characterization, and Johns struck an impressive balance between the two.

The clearest critique of the issue would be that for the first issue of your relaunch and on a book titled “Justice League,” it might have been better to have the Justice League in the actual comic and not just have it be the first meeting of Batman and Green Lantern (with set-up of Cyborg and Superman). I think that is definitely a fair criticism, but at the same time, I really don’t know if “I would have done this differently” is necessarily that compelling of a critique when what Johns actually did do worked fine. And it really did work well as Johns did strong character work with both Batman and Green Lantern. Honestly, it reminds me a bit of what Frank Miller did with the two characters in All Star Batman and Robin, particularly the whole underestimation of Batman angle (which Johns played for laughs very well, “You’re not just some guy in a bat costume are you? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?”) while Batman considers Hal to basically be an amateur who just happens to have a powerful weapon.

Tying Cyborg’s origin into the Justice League’s formation is a smart decision, as Johns really needs to play up why Cyborg is a part of this particular League, and making it be part of him becoming a cyborg makes sense. I also like the way that Johns holds basically true to Cyborg’s original origins while fitting it into the current structural narrative (that this is a time in the DC Universe where there ARE no “superheroes,” just superpowered beings).

The whole “this is where superheroes start” idea looks like it will be played up heavily in the second issue, with the confrontation between Green Lantern, Batman and Superman. That initial high level of distrust makes sense, and it is something that John Byrne played to good effect in Man of Steel.

Making Darkseid be the initial bad guy for the League (and maybe not even THE bad guy, maybe just his minions, making Darkseid an even bigger foe for a later date) is a great idea. The notion of tying your biggest villain in with the creation of your biggest superhero team makes a ton of sense. I particularly enjoyed the reveal that Darkseid’s existence was unknown to the Guardians of the Universe. I love the attempt to make the Fourth World seem more detached, like they really ARE “New Gods” and not just “alien race #143040.”

All in all, this was an enjoyable issue, with crisp action and good humor and some of Jim Lee and Scott Williams’ best art work on a comic since Hush! A good start to the new DCU!


“I really don’t know if “I would have done this differently” is necessarily that compelling of a critique when what Johns actually did do worked fine.”

See, people don’t think this through enough.

I think saying that Cyborg’s origin matches his “actual” origin makes it sound like this is just an Elseworlds tale or something. This origin is now his ACTUAL origin. For this whole DCnU thing to work, people can’t think that these are just the Ultimate versions of these characters and their real origins that matter were the ones that came before…from now on these are now the characters and these are now their backstories.

In about 10 or 15 years some young punk will show up and start retconning the retcons of retcons and somehow make Pre/Post-Crisis and the DCnU all work together…

Waiting for the ‘How Much are you paid by DC’ comments

I never see comments like this for Marvel – Now which company has a better fanbase?

I think saying that Cyborg’s origin matches his “actual” origin makes it sound like this is just an Elseworlds tale or something. This origin is now his ACTUAL origin. For this whole DCnU thing to work, people can’t think that these are just the Ultimate versions of these characters and their real origins that matter were the ones that came before…from now on these are now the characters and these are now their backstories.

In about 10 or 15 years some young punk will show up and start retconning the retcons of retcons and somehow make Pre/Post-Crisis and the DCnU all work together…

If it makes you feel better about the phrase, I will put “original” instead of “actual.”

it’s a fine superhero comic, with Jim Lee artwork, and I hear tale he’s a popular guy.

But it isn’t a great superhero comic by any stretch of the imagination. It isn’t something you rush off and tell your non-superhero friends about. It isn’t gonna be a contender for best issue or the year or anything. It’s not something you read and think, “YES! This is the pillar of the all-new, all-different relaunch, the biggest change the industry has seen in years! THIS IS THE BIG ONE, GUYS!”

Its just another superhero book, one with some pretty artwork and humorous dialog, but glacial pace and big leaps in logic. It’s decent, but it needed to be MORE then decent.

“In about 10 or 15 years some young punk will show up and start retconning the retcons of retcons and somehow make Pre/Post-Crisis and the DCnU all work together…”
Or 10 or 15 months!

I have a question. Of the three comic shops in my area, none of them stocked the bagged 4.99 download included version of this book.

Did that version ship yesterday too? Did anyone see it? Did anyone else not see it? I’m curious as to whether brick and mortar LCSs are avoiding that version because it is a potential gateway to lost sales.

Having the entire team show up in the first issue, when you’re supposed to be all about the issues and no longer about the trades, isn’t just a ‘would have done things differently’ thing, it’s a serious problem.

One also notes that, as a result of this, there’s not a single named female character with a line of dialog, and the only female speaking role whatsoever in the issue is _literally_ a cheerleader.

It’s also probably not a good thing for Superman’s first action in DCnu to be to punch another hero in the face more-or-less unprovoked. (Or at least with a provocation that is insufficient to justify that response). And I can’t help read the guardians bit as Guardian incompetence rather than Fourth World super-mysteriousness.

“Or 10 or 15 months!”

Or 10 or 15 minutes. Assuming they haven’t started already, which I don’t believe is a safe assumption.

I have a question. Of the three comic shops in my area, none of them stocked the bagged 4.99 download included version of this book.

Did that version ship yesterday too? Did anyone see it? Did anyone else not see it? I’m curious as to whether brick and mortar LCSs are avoiding that version because it is a potential gateway to lost sales.

I am pretty sure it did ship, but yeah, I imagine many stores are avoiding it for that very reason.

That seems like a big story to me. DC clearly put some effort into marketing the digital push, to the point of including a special edition of the product. It always struck me as kind of absurd, because the conflict of interest was obvious. That said, if the stores are purposely torpedoing the sales of those copies, that exacerbates a real tension in this new model that no one will easily resolve.

It seems clear to me that digital will be the standard delivery method in ten years. I’m not buying digital comics now, but I love my kindle. Digital comics delivery seems inevitable, but it will completely gut the comics sales industry. So how do brick and mortar stores reconcile that?

I don’t mean to derail from the story discussion.

I liked the book, and I’m not a huge Jim Lee fan. I thought Johns finally found a good voice for Hal. If he matures the character properly from this point on, I’ll be really happy. I feel like this character hasn’t been around for years.

I enjoyed Cyborg, but I kind of hated Superman. I can’t take the costume seriously. And he seemed like a cocky jerk. I hope they don’t ALL end up acting like spoiled kids.

Nitzan Rotschild

September 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Brian, you should post reviews more often!

The comparison to ASBAR floated to my mind as I read this issue, as well. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, necessarily, but… I don’t know. I finished the issue and wondered if I was supposed to be blown away or giddy to see what’s coming in #2. Was there anything that surprised me in this first issue? No. Will I grab #2? Sure. Do I see any of my non-comic-nerd friends being remotely interested in this? I.. just don’t. It’s a good place to jump on, if they’re already interested, but I’d still give Sandman or Fables to them first.

As to the bagged+digital version, my LCS here in Dallas had both the stand-alone issue and the polybagged issue. The stand-alone pile was half the size of the bagged pile, which may or may not mean anything, but I suspect most of the regulars had the same thought I did: “…why do I need to pay an additional buck for a digital version of what I’m already buying?”

Waiting for the ‘How Much are you paid by DC’ comments

I never see comments like this for Marvel – Now which company has a better fanbase?

Yes there are. All the time.

On this blog alone there have been plenty of accusations in comments sections of Brian and others being Marvel stooges. I’m sure it’s happened for DC comics too, although I’ve never seen that accusation here yet.

Maybe it was lowered expectations, but I found this first issue to be very good. There was no fanwanking, no nods to the old continuity, no easter eggs, no pandering to fanboys…they seem really serious about making this new reader friendly. If the whole line can resist the urge to go for the easy drama by revisiting the past continuities or doing fanwankery, this reboot may turn out better than I expected.

The costumes are still too busy and dated looking, but otherwise the art and writing were good.

Or 10 or 15 months!

That’s what I thought too. As indecisive as Didio is (look at how he’s flip-flopped on Wonder Woman’s pants in the past few months alone), I think it will take a lot of restraint not to revisit the old continuities. But hopefully I’m wrong.

And joe, I have to say, this digitial thing is going to be real problem. I always thought it would never fly because I hate reading comics on desktops and laptops, especially in bed or reclined on a couch, but I have a tablet now and can’t believe how pleasurable ebook and comic reading is on it. I could totally see myself doing all my comic reading on it. I currently only read trades, but if they start doing digital trade paperbacks I’d be all over it.

As tablets and color ebook readers become more popular and start converting more skeptics like me, I could see this become a real issue.

Does anyone know anything about the mysterious hooded figure in the background of the football game? The Flashpoint character showing up behind the stands?

I haven’t read this, but it seems to me like the problem is the modern decompressed storytelling. In the first issue of the Avengers back in 1963, they met each other, fought each other, worked together to defeat a villain, and then formed a permanent team. All this happened in one issue. This same story outline will probably be spread out over at least 6 issues of the new Justice League comic. I never feel satisfied with the story when I buy single issues, which is why I wait for trades.

T. I feel the same way. I don’t read them now because I don’t have a tablet. I’ve tried some free ones on my iPhone and it felt claustrophobic, like reading through a paper towel tube or something. It might be partly because of the small size though. I think once creators and designers get used to the digital format, things will fit better.

I really think everything will br digital in ten years, and part of me is kind of excited to not have to worry about accumulating three short boxes a year for the rest of my life.

I’m definitely keeping an open mind. My fiancé gave me a kindle two years back, and I wanted no part of it. I actually tried to figure out how I would explain returning it. Now it’s one of my favorite things.

So I’m pretty sure they can convince me to go digital for comics. I don’t know what the price point would have to be for me to convert, but it will happen someday.

Does anyone know anything about the mysterious hooded figure in the background of the football game? The Flashpoint character showing up behind the stands?

She’s going to be appearing in all of the #1s, as a sort of easter egg thing.

That sounds like something out of Zero Hour, Brian.

Seriously? Kickstarting the entire line/universe and the Easter egg is a character they just made up?

joe, kindle was my gateway drug into tablets, and it’s great. i find marathon reading easier on it than when reading paper books, and like you i was very skeptical at first. But as good as a kindle is, I think reading on a color tablet blows it away, especially when the book has visuals. The kindle opened me up to reading text ebooks but the tablet did the same for me with picture books and comic books. I currently read torrents on my tablet, but I only torrent old comic books that are not collected by the Big 2 so I don’t feel guilty about it, and it’s a very good reading experience.

Does anyone have any links to reviews of this title by noncomic fans on noncomic blogs?

I really liked that we didn’t start out with the whole League together in issue #1. When they all come together it’ll be great.

Yeah, I’m with Zach. I’m happy with the pacing, and the organic nature of how the characters are being brought together. The whole thing feels like one of those DC animated movies put to page. If this was a TV series, it feels like we’d be at the first commercial break. I think for kids/young teens who would be drawn to this type of material due to an interest in something like Young Justice or the like would be able to follow this just fine without getting bogged down in a bunch of exposition.

Speaking of which, for those complaining that the book didn’t bring the entire team together, fight a villian and bring them a bag of chips…Have you read one of those old issues like that recently? How many panels of Avengers #1 are full of the worst expository junk, to the point of demoting the artwork to sliver at the bottom? Captions that have to describe not only what’s going on, but who’s who, what they can do and the context they do it in? Or we could do it old-school image style, we get a posed figure with a little caption box giving us their name and powers. I’m sorry, but I’ll take this more cinematic aproach to storytelling any day. (not that I don’t enjoy old comics for what they are, thanks. I apreciate the ideas, imagination and artistry on display in a lot of them. But I will happy cop to the fact that a lot of that old Stan Lee/Mort Weisenger stuff bores me to tears.)

I enjoyed it.

But as a comic that would serve as an entry for a new reader it’s a complete failure. Nothing in this book would make someone who’s not fascinated with “I wondernhow this tale with new versions of my oldmfrids will play out” buy #2

It’s an okay book with nice art by Jim Lee, but it’s not anything really different in tone, style and focus as DCU has been for the last few years. It still reads and looks like a book for the fanboy – maybe a fanboy who has been away, but a fanboy nonetheless. I don’t see here the seeds for a re-reading of what modern super-hero books should be about, nothing exactly new in any form. Format is the same, decompression is the same, action scenes are the same…

Great review, Brian, and it pretty much sums up the issue well. Most of the complaints really are “this isn’t what I think should be done”. I thought the issue did a great job of establishing a solid new UNIVERSE as much as it did start the run up to the Justice League’s formation.

I do think they should work to quickly integrate the rest of their big seven in the next couple issues though. We’ve got the set-up here, but I don’t think new readers will hold on for six months waiting for some level of payoff on an actual Justice League.

I wish Darkseid weren’t back already, let alone as a JLA villain. Wasn’t the idea behind Final Crisis to give the Fourth World a grand farewell after years of their being misused as ordinary alien superpeople?

I wish Darkseid weren’t back already, let alone as a JLA villain. Wasn’t the idea behind Final Crisis to give the Fourth World a grand farewell after years of their being misused as ordinary alien superpeople?

Since this is meant to be a fresh start and aimed at new readers, the fact that Darkseid was just used in Final Crisis is probably irrelevant to the DC powers that be.

And it seems like they’re trying to enforce that the New Gods are bigger than just ordinary alien superpeople already, as Brian points out near the end.

If the goal is to clean out layers of accumulated narrative crud and tell the story in a fresh way for a new generation of readers, I think this fails. Most of it is a mildly amusing metatextual recycling of a Frank Miller story. In fact, it points out how peculiar and Rube-Goldbergesque this whole enterprise really is. Why start with the Justice League if you’re redoing the whole magilla? Why start “five years in the past”? If you’re doing it fresh, do it fresh. Build the whole thing up. The whole line is selling poorly enough that you don’t have to launch 52 titles right away. Spend five months just doing the core characters, then launch a Justice League, then begin to proliferate. Instead of launching 52 titles, most of them boutique titles that depend on having a Ph.D in continuity to even appreciate how they’re clever or fun, most of which are predestined to be cancelled in a year.

If you know the continuity, right away you’re like, “So wait, what about?”. If you don’t know the continuity, you’re probably asking the same question about different things.

What we have is an intellectual property vehicle that sells the two characters who’ve had film franchises built around them, one of whom bombed. Not even an intellectual property vehicle which sells the next possible intellectual property which has yet to be contracted or produced.

It’s not particularly gratifying for the people who’ve been reading. It’s not particularly gratifying for someone who hasn’t been reading. It splits the difference to favor an audience which doesn’t exist.

While there’s been a lot of bitching about Jim Lee’s Superman design (which is pretty justified), his Batman revamp is excellent. Of course, Batman is the sort of character who would need to wear elaborate armor.

While I agree there would be some excitement about seeing the whole team in this first issue, I don’t see how they could have done it, even with a double-size issue (which would have been cool by the way). It seems to me they were not only setting up the League but also setting up the Universe with this issue. As you noted “there ARE no “superheroes,” just superpowered beings.” I also loved the Cyborg intro more for the general public’s excitement at the sighting more than anything else.

I enjoyed the heck out of the issue and am really looking forward to the rest of the 52!

The reason for de new DCU is becouse 60 years of continuity is too intimidating for new readers. Then again, do you know one comic book fan who has been reading comics for the last 60 years?
. We ALL started reading comics somewhere in the midle. Besides, you can allways buy backissues if you wonna know what happened before.
I would have liked things to move foward.

randypan the goatboy

September 1, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Ohhh boy…another 8 issue origin story. didnt we just do this in 2006

I saw the bagged JL #1 at my LCS. 2 copies if I remember correctly.

Also, I thought of a good idea for you to do, Brian. There is a lot of controversy about whether the issue was good for new fans. But I don’t think any of us are qualified to say if it was or not. There was one guy that commented on another review as an actual new(ish) reader who liked it. Anyway, you should find 5 or 10 random people (at a movie, college class, whatever) and offer a free copy if they read it and give you a short review on what they thought.

sandwich eater and randypan the goatboy (really?) have summed up my complaints entirely. Decompression is hindering this title. Perhaps using flashbacks to see how they formed but keeping the action in the present, with the Justice League, you know, actually doing stuff, maybe I wouldn’t have been so disappointed with this issue. Plus, another Superman/Batman fight? Is this really what the readers want? That’s a boring story idea. It’s the new “look the villains are the Nazis”

I had one complaint and one question about the book…

Question: Shouldn’t Superman in the last panel have been in the jeans and S-shirt instead of full armor costume? If we’re to believe this story takes place very early on after these heroes started appearing, then Supes should look like he does in the Morrison/Morales Action Comics. I was actually expecting that this first Justice League storyline would be when Supes switches from jeans to armor, and that the Morrison Action Comics run would be everything that happens to Superman prior to Justice League #1.

Complaint: I think Wondy, Flash, and Arthur should have somehow been featured in the book. I’m completely okay with the team not being together until issue 4 or so, but each of the main iconic heroes should still be featured in each of the first several issues. Even if just for a page or two, to introduce each of the seven characters individually, then have their stories all collide with one another, as opposed to having Batman center the story, and each of the other six characters eventually collide with him. It just doesn’t feel right for the issue that launches the new DC universe to completely leave out 3 of its 7 main characters.

“Question: Shouldn’t Superman in the last panel have been in the jeans and S-shirt instead of full armor costume? If we’re to believe this story takes place very early on after these heroes started appearing, then Supes should look like he does in the Morrison/Morales Action Comics.”
JL 1 takes place 1 year after Action. Superman takes place 5 years after Action.

No one is pointing out something I thought was fairly obvious about how they structured the book- the first issue focused on the 2 characters whose history has been the least changed, ending with the introduction of another who is a fairly different take than most readers expected. This leaves a whole month for the writers of the titles/characters with rebooted history to introduce/define those characters. And Geoff can just focus on how the team comes together without resorting to copious flashbacks or a plot that shoe-horns together a bunch of strangers into a single 24-page issue.

worst #1 comic i’ve read in at least 15 years

I think fillerbunny’s point is very well taken.

But I really really wanna see Aquaman ASAP!

Death to decompressed comics!

“JL 1 takes place 1 year after Action. Superman takes place 5 years after Action.”

Really? How is this not confusing to the hypothetical new reader?

Actually, DC’s not after new readers. They’re looking to regain lost market share, and pick up some of the folks that dropped them. But they’re not attempting to reach new readers, not seriously anyway.

worst #1 comic i’ve read in at least 15 years

That’s hardly fair. Didio and co. have consistently released some wretched #1’s during their tenure at DC.

Off the top of my head: Identity Crisis #1, Flash #1 with Bart Allen, Justice League of America #1 by Brad Meltzer, Batman/Superman #1, Supergirl #1, Cry for Justice #1, Rise of Arsenal #1…this wasn’t great by any means, but at least by the low standards I’ve come to expect for the Didio regime it was surprisingly good. Far from the worst #1 I’ve seen in a while.

I keep coming back to the 2 good modern JL #1s I’ve read:

I hadn’t read the Jurgens, Jones, etc. Justice League of the early ’90s. Morrison’ & Porter’s JLA 1 introduced new villains, closed out the old League, and got 6/7 of the JLA together in one regular-sized comic.

I hadn’t read Crisis, Legends, or the Detroit League issues before reading the first Giffen & DeMatteis/ Maguire justice League. I don’t think it was double-sized, but I got at least a passing sense of who the characters were and how they felt, as well as super-hero action, in one issue.

I get that the Johns & Co. have a different goal. They want to show the formation of the League. Fine. I liked that approach in Ultimates vol. 1 and JSA. My problem is that previous writers balanced action and characterization better while still including most of the characters. I’m not saying Justice League 1 was bad, but it doesn’t compare to the better first issues of new Justice League series.


I know I’m no Brian Cronin, but She Has No Head! will be running a series of posts (3?) called “The Comics Project!” that will questionnaire/reviews of non-comics fans that each read one of DC’s new 52. The posts will run in September and October and I expect the first to go up on 9/14.

I too am curious what the non-fan’s reaction to these #1’s will be.

Kelly “who didn’t have her CSBG login information with her when she wanted to write this comment” Thompson.

I agree with the ‘nays’, this book gives us nothing new and it gives it to us at a snails pace.
I find these”getting the band together” stories tedious and insulting. The cover shows the league members already, why sit through 8-10 issues of backstory to get to the point where the Justice League actually starts to function?
You’ve got the greatest heroes in the nuDCU and they are going to spend (our) time exchanging wisecracks and having that first fight over a misunderstanding? What a waste.
And, as much as I love Darkseid as a villain, could they invent someone new for this “NEW 52″?

I’m always up for a good JL tale and I thought this comic succeeded on multiple levels including story, art, and tone. I read the comic without any context of Flashpoint or wha’s going on with the other titles.I thought the characters themselves were a good mix of Giffen and Miller. The interaction between Batman and Hal reminded more of Giffen than Miller. I’m thinking of the early shootouts between Bats and Guy Gardner in the 80’s JL reboot. Jim Lee is on his game. I wasn’t a fan of his Marvel work but his DC work has been outstanding. It will be interesting to see how the comic develops. I’ll be downloading them for sure.

I thought it was just ok and was a little annoyed at the slow pace, but then T.’s comments reminded me of the restraint that Johns is showing and I’m raising my grade to a B.

Lee’s art is really uneven though the issue, though. Some panels are hyper detailed while others are very sketchy. Could be the inker, though.

Haven’t really read through these to see if someone else has commented about this….
The first page of Justice League #1 says FIVE YEARS AGO….
Correct me if I’m wrong. If we are seeing the League of five years ago shouldn’t Superman be wearing his
T-shirt/jeans/workboots/baby blanket cape outfit and not the costume from the five years later Action Comics?

Sorry….meant five years later Superman.

As someone mentioned earlier, Action Comics is going to show Superman’s origins as a superhero, so it takes place before Justice League #1. We’ll see in Action how Superman changes his costume into the one he is wearing in Justice League #1 (and Superman #1, which is set in the “present”).

I was totally underwhelmed by Justice League #1. I read through a comic book in-store – and if it is good I will then buy it, and re-read it thoroughly at home, savouring every detail of the art and the plot. However there was NO PLOT in this issue… NO STORY at all! The art was okay… but “okay art” is not enough to warrant a purchase… Therefore I put it back on the shelf… and kept my hard earned money inside my wallet.

This issue was heralded as an epic new start of a new DC Universe… it wasn’t.

It told me nothing about what the new DC Universe will be like… and how it differs from the old one… (Unless you’ve read all the promotional crap behind this release, how would an entirely new reader of comic books ever know that there was any difference between this and a DC comic produced a year or two ago? They wouldn’t.)

I didn’t expect one issue to completely illustrate what this new universe would be like in all it’s entirety… but it gave no impression of the wider context of this supposedly “different” universe… which as a fairly regular reader of Batman comics who rarely reads any of the rest of DC’s output, just seemed like a Batman: Brave and the Bold Team-up – just one where Batman wasn’t already really good friends with Green Lantern… and Batman not getting along with other heroes outside the context of the Brave and the Bold is hardly anything new…

And… It was set “Five years ago”… how is this supposed to be the start to a new universe?

If you’re pressing the restart button, then you have to start AT THE BEGINNING – no flashbacks to the past, no glimpses of what has gone before… it just left me saying “So what?” – Do I want to buy more issues of this comic to find out that they will obviously form the Justice League – “NO!”

There was a conversation between Green Lantern and Batman, that could have been done in a few panels, and told me nothing except that they don’t get on… “So what?” – “Why should they get on anyway?”

There was some pages of some guy playing American Football and it told me his dad doesn’t show up to watch him play… ahh, what a shame! But again, “So what?”

Apparently this is a character who will become someone named Cyborg… I know this from reading some reviews of this issue online… as a reader that knows nothing about this Vic Stone/Cyborg, I was left completely bemused as to what this had to do with the conversation between Green Lantern and Batman and the “alien computer” that the alien shape changing technological being left behind when it blew it’s self up… all in all.. it didn’t develop what measly amount of story there was in the issue… so again it left me saying “So what?”

There wasn’t even a fight between a bad guy and the good guys… isn’t this supposed to be the Justice League? i.e. A group, or league of people, that fights for freedom and justice. So shouldn’t there be some doling out of Justice? Even a small, minuscule, tiny amount? Especially in the first issue of a book which is (supposed to be) heralding in a new kind of comic-book universe?

Batman and Green Lantern think the computer left by the exploded shape-shifting robot thing, that Batman was chasing at the beginning, has something do with the alien in Metropolis, a.k.a. Superman… “So What?”

The cover shows seven heroes bursting into action… there was none of this inside the comic book…


Therefore to be truthful and honest about it’s contents the cover should have shown only Batman and Green Lantern… otherwise the cover is just one big lie, one big dose of misrepresentation… surely if one bought it (without being able to look at it’s contents) then one could sue DC for fraud?

It seems that most comic books these days are just one big teaser designed to make you want to buy the next issue…

And the next issue will just be another teaser designed to make you want to buy the issue after that…

Both Marvel and DC suffer very badly from this “disease”… most of their writers (except Grant Morrison it seems, e.g. Batman, Incorporated #8) are totally incapable of being able to tell a story in one issue…

Because one cannot buy a comic book without having to then buy loads and loads more editions, once a month for the following few years, before finding out, eventually, what happens, is the main reason why sales are continuing to fall… Why bother to wait so bloody long for something which is ultimately pointless and inconsequential and unsatisfying?

The only point behind Justice League #1, and all the rest of the 52 #1s that are coming out this month, is to raise sales figures on the Warner Brothers’ spreadsheets… which is never a good reason to tell a story.

Yes, of course, they need to make sales… but they have to realise that a story that will sell, is not one fundamentally governed by its profitability… a good story needs a point to it’s existence other than this… or else it will end up being shallow and transparent, just like Justice League #1 is.

A good story needs a beginning, middle and end… it needs integrity and value… and this is true whether it is aimed at the pre-teen market, at teenagers, or at adults…

I don’t see how any one of any age group would read Justice League #1 and not say “So what?” at the end of it…

Hopefully this will not be the case for many of the other 52 #1s… as I really hope that they get the vast majority of them right, and give each issue a point for existence, other than just one big teaser for what will happen in the following edition… if they don’t get it right, then the Flashpoint series, and this control+alt+delete then “restarting”, will be a complete own-goal, and they will see sales, after an initial rise due to readers’ curiosity, slump very, very quickly, probably to below sales figures previous to Flashpoint…

Of the other 52 #1s that are coming out, I’m looking forward to the new series of Batwoman… (especially the artwork of J.H. Williams III)… which should have been with us long, long ago… we were promised this new series after the release of Batwoman #0 around this time last year… at last it is coming out!

I’m also intrigued by what Grant Morrison will do with Action Comics… as he is one of the few comic book writers that does actually make me want to come back for more… by giving each edition of his comics a contained story, which also ties-in with a longer running story arc…

I want DC to get it right… as I like to support them with some of my cash… as its a company that I’d hate to see go under… however they need to stop fucking about with continuity based massive overarching summer “events”, which generally turn out to be complete “non-events”, and re-focus on each issue they sell having a plot and a reason for it’s existence.

@Brendan Pickett

While I disagreed with pretty much all that you said (and no offense but Batman Incorporated #8 was embarrasing to read as both someone in the I.T. field and a gamer) but one of the things that stuck out for me was the following:

“If you’re pressing the restart button, then you have to start AT THE BEGINNING – no flashbacks to the past, no glimpses of what has gone before”

I’m confused. You don’t want them to start 5 years ago with the formation of the league… but you want them to start at the beginning? Just thought that odd.

I thought it to be a solid read. Had action, humour, personally I didn’t think the pacing was too bad (see X-men: Prelude to Schism and X-men: Schism for examples of pacing problems).


I’m not really into gaming – and although I have a fairly good grasp of general I.T. – I don’t work in the field – so I’m sure you would have a much better grasp on that kind of thing… and pick out the I.T. flaws and such… so can understand why you wouldn’t be into Batman Incorporated #8… still I thought it delivered an enjoyable, creative story, which tied in with the wider story arc of Batman Incorporated – but also could be read and understood on it’s own…

I can see why you might have been confused by my comment about starting at the beginning… I probably could have worded it better…

What I mean is that although this story is beginning to show the origin story of the League, it would be better to have it set in the present… so that the whole continuity of the new 52 #1s all happen in the same time-sphere… without jumping back and forth from one point to another… so we can see the developments happen in a kind of real-time environment, just in different locations… starting from the beginning and working our way up, instead of setting the beginning at minus five years… this could have been accomplished by just leaving out the “Five Years Ago” caption… which just got my back up… and reminded me of Supreme #41 and #42, which mimics this type of thing…

You’ll probably disagree with me on this as well…

I guess really that as it was the first issue of the new 52 #1s, my expectations were raised to probably superhuman levels… and when I finished it hadn’t reached these dizzy heights of expectation… i.e. leaving me with a sense of wow, wonder, enthusiasm and curiosity about what will happen next… – instead of a big “So what?”

Well I’ll give it another look at the comic book store tomorrow… as I’m going to my local one to get Daredevil #1 and #2 – as I’ve read a copy of these at a friend’s house and was impressed by it’s creative way of showing how Daredevil’s radar senses work, and, to me at least, an intriguing story which has left me wanting more and not feeling left unimpressed… and so perhaps my harsh first reactions of JL #1 will be tamed down a bit…

Were there any comments of mine that you did agree with? (As you said you disagreed with “pretty much all that you said”… which isn’t everything though!)

I liked the book, but it makes me think.

The issue did a fantastic job of introducing Batman and Green Lantern and demonstrating how they feel about each other. BUT it only introduced Batman and Green Lantern. With Superman mentioned and Cyborg foreshadowed, that leaves Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman off to the side. I figure it will probably be 4 to 6 issues before the team is together, has resolved a conflict, and decided to stay together.

Which means, why should I buy these at $4 a pop when I can wait until next summer and pick up the trade?

Now, if the business model is for the individual issues to be a form of advertizing, possibly a loss leader, with the real business to be in selling the trades, then I think it succeeded. I will buy the trade of this story. But, if this issue was supposed to convince me to put JL on my pull list, then it failed.


An OK and fun book, but just fun and OK. Not BIG and GRAND. It doesn’t blow your mind. If Darkseid is the reason for a global threat that causes the heroes to come together, then we should have seen an open and obvious global threat. Not a single parademon trying to plant a bomb in downtown Gotham and another parademon (if not the same one) planting a Mother Box in a Metropolis sewer. They are also putting way too much emphasis on Batman, using him as the one who brings the Justice League together. A street crime fighter. That’s just not big and grand. It should have been Green Lantern coming to earth to warn its heroes of an oncoming threat. Compare this Justice League # 1 issue to the Kurt Busiek and George Perez Avengers # 1. It’s not even close. Yeah DC can say something like, “Well they’re the Justice League and not the Avengers and we’re not Marvel”, or something. But you know that comic fans are going to compare the two and if you want us continue to spend our money on every issue …
You see, DC Comics should have established the characters for us first before bringing them together as a team. The Justice League # 1 should have been the last book on the stands for us to buy. Not the first. I don’t know these characters. To have Superman hit Green Lantern as hard as he did, and not knowing Green Lantern’s power because they never met? What if he hit Batman like that? That was actually a killing blow. It’s a clear indication that this is NOT the Superman that we know. Superman didn’t determine Green Lantern’s power level before the blow. In that, it read more like a cross between the Brave and the Bold and the Teen Titans. The Justice League # 1 should have been big and grand but it was a bit too intimate for that to happen. It should have been amazing. Maybe it should have been Justice League # 0 as an introduction rather then the actual first issue. Well let’s see what happens in the second issue. They’ve already started the infighting again. But don’t worry, we all know what’s going to happen again. I’m sure that Batman is going to again find a way to defeat Superman again. Again. Am I nit-picking here? Probably but it’s because I want to book to continue with top sales every month …

I didn’t think NuJL#1 was awful, but it didn’t impress me enough to check out #2. The whole thing just looked and felt dead in the eyes. I didn’t connect with anything. I didn’t get the feel of a brave new direction. I didn’t feel like I just participated in anything epic. Flashpoint #5 ended with not a bang, but literally a whimper (from Batman, while tearfully reading his dad’s letter) and JL#1 picked up with the same lack of steam for me. Action? Sure. If that’s all that matters, it was a fine comic book. I wasn’t sold.

[…] Justice League #1 Review (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) […]

I managed to pick up Justice League 1 at Barnes & Noble for $3.99 today. If this is now Dc launches a line, I hope they flop miserably. And this is froma long time DC Comics fan. If I were a new reader who has a depth of intelligence, I’d ask, “Why is this set five years ago? Why is Batman such a crank? Why is Green Lantern such an obnoxious character? Why do they have to handle Superman?” I was left was so many questions, and didn’t care about the answers. Wasted panoramic panels. Unlikeable characters. Stilted dialogue which sometimes tries to be too self-serving in attempts at humor. Felt like a ’90s Image title. All flash, no substance. Why are thees heroes doing hat they do? Why should we care? Maybe if Eddie Berganza could edit a story, we might have gotten heroes and situations we care about. Consider me gone. I give one chance, and you blew it, DC. It was just a complete insult to anyone’s intelligence.

I hate the fake “drama” of two characters — supposedly friends — bitching at each other throughout the story. It isn’t just in this issue, but it’s been constant in DC books over the last 10 years or so.

I was going to post my further thoughts, but Neil A. Hansen summed them up perfectly.

I avoided reading this at the time because I’d mail-ordered the comic and hadn’t received it yet.. Now that I’ve finally read it (and reviewed it at http://theidiolect.com/category/comics/ ), I wondered why I avoided reading about it because not enough happened to it for spoilers to apply. But I’ll agree that it it read like a pretty good first few pages to a story, only drawn out to 20-odd pages and sold for four bucks.

I’ve hated the made-up hostility between GL and Batman that they’ve pretended in the last few years has been there all along, even though you’ll never find it in any actual comic from before Hal died. But I enjoyed their interaction in this comic and didn’t find it overdone, even if their “off to see the Wizard” adventure to find Superman didn’t really make any sense.

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