It’s no surprise that a relaunched Justice League with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee at the helm would be big news. However, the biggest obstacle facing this new Justice League series is that it’s the first issue in a line-wide restructuring of the entire universe. Not only that, this is a Justice League “origin story,” showing the 5 years earlier foundation of the League. That fact, as we can see from Lee’s review and from what I’ve seen others say, is what it’s being judged on and I’m not sure if that’s actually fair.
The biggest arguments are “Why isn’t the team already together” and “Why are we setting the first story arc of the first relaunch title in the past?” I can imagine the decision for an origin story was made because it doesn’t look like any of the main League characters are going to get origin stories in the relaunch (with the exception of Superman), so making the origin for the whole team (and also Cyborg, who appears in Justice League as regular, pre-accident Victor Stone) seems to be the way to go.
There are some things about the story itself that give me pause, I don’t mind the slow build aspect of it. The meeting of Green Lantern and Batman seems organic and a pretty standard basis for most super-hero team ups. I like the villain that they’re diving into an Apokalypse/Darseid story right off the bat, as it’s a threat big enough to warrant all of the heroes that do show up working together. The tone of the characters generally seems right, although I could do with less “Batman being a jerk to everyone” that’s been his status quo for the past ten years or so. However, the scene with Barry Allen at the end of Flashpoint gives me hope that they’ll transition Batman into a team player again and not someone who has disdain for all of his co-workers. Green Lantern’s cocky-douche bit is something I’ve already begun to grudgingly accept, as they’d been moving the character that way as the movie came closer to coming out. I suppose every team needs its hot head and supposed funny man, and it looks like that’s going to be Hal.Superman is the big wild card here, as I think we’ll see a much more different take on him in the entire DCU, especially since we’ll be seeing him across three eras this month (his first appearance in Action, some time after that with the League and then five years after that in the regular DC timeline in Superman).
Like it or not, the slow burn introduction is here to stay, and if I remember correctly it went on to do pretty well for a lot of team books (like Ultimates, for example). Some folks have wondered if that approach is the best way to entice and keep new readers, but I think it’s exactly the take they should have rather than throwing tons of characters and a status quo that the reader isn’t familiar with at them. I don’t know if I’d recommend any mainstream superhero book to any totally new to comic reader, but for those that have fallen away from the medium or are interested in checking out DC I think this is a good start. While the shock of the new and months of build up may have colored our expectations, I still really enjoyed this issue and look forward to more. I give the book 4 out of 5 jihadist parademons.