Justice Leagues Assemble

Posted on September 19, 2011 by

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Yeah I know that is the Avengers tag line, but it seemed to work for this as with the new re-launch of DC titles comes not only a re-launch of Justice League of America (now just Justice League), but also Justice League International and Justice League Dark. Now that we are done laughing about how the reboot was supposed to clean things up and we get 3 different Justice Leagues let’s take a look into the new world of Justice and see if we even want to apply to these Leagues.

Guess the best way to kick this off is with the original itself (though technically I guess with the reboot these are all originals now… hmmm… good debate there). Justice League of America has been shortened down to simply Justice League and while not much of the roster has truly changed for the core group the origins have changed for sure and this is no longer an encyclopedia of heroes in the DC Universe. Sorry, but it felt for awhile there as long as you either have some form of power or could shoot an arrow or throw a knife you were allowed in. Remember when these used to be “exclusive” clubs? Well feel better knowing we are going back that way.

 

The story is somewhat of a flashback style which after Flashpoint is somewhat ironic in itself. It goes back to how the league was formed. No assumptions, no the team is just there, no relying on the past set origin stories for the individual members, but a true telling of how it all came to be. As with any good team story you start small and work your way up. They did start small with the numbers, but not with the names. We begin with Batman and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan version) fighting a nemesis and realizing they need some help from the greatest E.T. of them all (No NOT Spielberg) and head to Metropolis.

As with any reboot of a series it is always weird to take in a new story. Things you feel you should know and go in thinking this is some mid-season recap episode to catch up all the viewers who didn’t watch the first half. If you can get that out of your head this is a good read. The banter between batman and Lantern are great, the whole being forced to come together is done well, the fact heroes are feared still is fantastic and I love how none of the heroes know each other’s real identities as none of them trust each other. This is really the beginning of it all and shows how the world forced heroes together and with this only being the beginning there is a lot of great work to come hopefully.

Let us continue this praise along with the fact the art is drawn by Jim Lee. Jim Motherf*****g Lee! This guy is a god of artists and has done some of the best work of all time and is working on this flagship title for the reboot. Now add in Geoff Johns who has proven to be a phenomenal writer and you have one amazing mix. Johns is not quite “god” status yet, but has done some great work of his own and if you have not seen his style is very detailed, very story driven, and the man knows how to make some good suspense. DC did not hold back on this title for sure to get the new reboot done right and get people bought in to it.

Moving along onto a far less impressive series we have Justice League International. First complaint is that the title gets a bit confusing when there is no Justice League of America so then does there need to be an “International” when there is no country specific one? Anyway that little gripe aside the story here is pretty bland, no real substance and honestly they name drop more characters you are likely to recognize than who appears on the team.

 

Okay yeah let’s hop on the team here for a second. First it has Batman tagging along doing everything short of screaming “I’m Batman so you have to buy this comic now!”, then there is the Guy Gardner version of Green Lantern who is in my opinion one of the worst incarnations and to roll it all out they made Booster Gold the team leader. I really wanna know what speech the guy gave to the UN to talk them into that decision! Not to say Booster Gold is a bad character when in fact outside of Batman he is the best in the book (sure the writer of JLI having written Gold’s solo series for a good while has nothing to do with it *winks*). It is just he is a known egotist with really no leadership skills to speak of. However, the line in the book where the man who put it altogether looks at Booster and goes “you realize we have to sell this to make it work.” really just explains a lot.

In the end the story moves slowly, it has about 3 pages of UN speech bubbles to start, no real action happens, the team is B-list really and the villains at the end… well by that point so late in the story they should have just skipped them and fluffed out a bit better story. If you get the chance read Justice League, but only if you have a friend willing to let you borrow JLI should you bother with this title right now.

To wrap things up with this we have a third Justice League coming out later in the month titles Justice League Dark. Much like dark chocolate M&M’s this series appears to be for those with a particular taste who will love it more than the original. The series focuses more on the supernatural than the super heroes / villains. It stars a who’s who of magic wielding heroes who will be taking on the more sinister side of the DC Universe.

 

It seems the focus and leader of the group will be one John Constantine of Hellblazer fame and Swamp Thing creation. I have always personally been a fan of Hellblazer and would love to see more of this character. Rounding out the cast will be Shade, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna, Enchantress and Mindwarp (the only new character who was made for Flashpoint). These are by far the weird B-list (in some cases C-List) heroes that have all practically had a cross over with Constantine at some point, but it does mean they all share some common things and I personally can barely remember in supernatural team comic books so this is fairly new ground to work with.

I want to have faith in this comic since it using a mystical theme which is not done much and with the characters in a reboot you should be free to do damn near anything you want. Once this drops expect a review on it from me, but so far it has my interest. Also with Swamp Thing getting a reboot and Constantine having roots in that comics (pun so intended) there is bound to be some form of crossover and that as well excites me.

So to recap we have one must read in Justice League, one skippable title in Justice League International and something to look forward to in Justice League Dark. Either way pick your poison as it appears Justice League titles will have something for everyone.

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