DC Comics (which is Batman, Superman, Green Lantern. Marvel Comics is Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man) attempts to be a superhero this week with the release of Justice League #1. The comic book industry is dying, aside from the staying power of providing Hollywood with the colored storyboards that will one day lead to the disappointing summer blockbusters of the future. DC’s plan of attack is twofold: 1) essentially reboot their entire line, taking books that have been around since the 30’s and starting everything over at number one, and 2) making everything available digitally on the same day it comes out in stores, or “iTunes for comic booksâ€. All of this might have worked if done a decade ago, but the companies are traditionalist, their longtime fans hate change, and the supposed new fans who this is supposed to attract have long since moved on from paying four dollars for 20 pages of superhero stories they have to READ, instead of just watching it on a giant screen. I’m not bashing the youngest generation; that price-to-entertainment-value that they have set-up is absurd.
I’m not sure how the 52 #1 issues DC will release over the course of the next month will affect the lives of Americans, much less the world of the comic book industry. If I had to guess, it won’t at all. In a year or two, everything will return to slightly worse than the status quo, and the major comic book companies will once again be struggling to figure out how to get back to marketplace of the early nineties. But, what the fuck, y’know? It’s an interesting story, it’s a good excuse to pick up some comic books, and I, much like the rest of the comic book industry, have the slightest thought in the back of my mind that this idea could have the muscles and cape to save an entire form of media. Just to keep taps on the goings-on, Mike Gravagno and I will be tackling every single new issue, telling you what you might want to check out, and what you can probably leave on the digital shelf.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
The first chance we get to see what this new universe looks like doesn’t really show us the new universe at all. Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee, takes place 5 years before the rest of the line, which means it’s 5 years before the Justice League breaks up. The story starts in a world where superheroes are new, misunderstood, and mostly hated. It’s also a world where a team of superheroes is just a twinkle in the eye of Batman and Green Lantern. They meet for the first time, trying to investigate a weird-looking-robot-alien-Transformer bug, who apparently is working for Darkseid, a tyrant from the planet Apokolips. With me so far? Because DC is really counting on it.
Anywhozlebees, Green Lantern and Batman meet, throw some banter around, and decide they need to go find this Superman everyone is talking about, who lives in a city named Metropolis. They fly to go find him, and when they get there, Green Lantern gets blasted in the face with a rainbow. That rainbow belongs to one Superman P. Jones, Hero Extraordinaire. He’s young, he’s cocky, he’s got a new costume, and he doesn’t take kindly to costumed freaks freakin’ up his city. And then we get a to be continued. That’s all folks!
The first issue didn’t blow me away like I was hoping it might, but looking back, I think that might be intentional, and, in the long run, a good thing. There’s a lot of pressure for this issue to save the world, and it’s not going to do that. But Johns and Lee, if not DC, have to set this up for the long haul. If the world is to be saved, it can’t be done with one issue. So instead of explosions and fireworks, we get a well-paced, character driven set-up for a slow burn, and that’s exactly what this needs to be. If this was Justice League #176, instead of the most important #1 ever, it would have been a really decent issue, so this issue needs to be discussed with that same kind of criteria.
The differences between Batman and Green Lantern (whose differences we all know, now that they both have movies) come to light immediately, and listening to them bicker is pretty fun, and most of what this issue has to offer. This whole story arc is clearly going to be “getting the band back togetherâ€, but for the first time, and that’s pretty interesting. Jim Lee, a name that makes most comic book fans impregnate the back of their fanny packs, is good here, if not life changing. The biggest problem is that he began his attempts for world conquest in the early 90’s, making it seem once again like DC, and in turn comic books in general, are saying “Please, please, PLEASE can we go back to 1992â€. He’s fine, and has a lot on his plate, so he’ll be gone within the first year anyway.
Justice League is good, and I’m excited for where it’s going to go. If you have been pissing yourself in excitement waiting for this reboot, you might need to see some more issues before you pass judgment. But if you’re a lapsed comic fan who is curious and has an extra four dollars in his Aquaman velcro wallet, this is a perfectly fine way to jump back in.
CAN’T WAIT TO READ THE NEXT ISSUE
I’LL READ IT IF I CAN FIND THE TIME
FUCK IT. COULDN’T CARE LESS
READ JUSTICE LEAGUE #1