Writer: Bryan Hitch
Art: Sandu Florea, Tony S. Daniel
It’s fair to say that for every era, there must be a Justice League. The team has always been prominent at DC, but that prominence only accelerated with Grant Morrison’s 1990s revamp, the 2000s Timmverse cartoon, and of course, the upcoming film. The “rebirthed” Justice League comic gives readers the opportunity to get on at the ground floor of this latest run even if, functionally, the book isn’t noticeably different from Geoff Johns’ recently-finished series.
Justice League launches us into a series of worldwide earthquakes which spread the League across the globe in an effort to stop them. Wonder Woman’s dealing with rebellious armies in Russia; the Green Lanterns are trying to stop tsunamis in China; and Batman is coordinating everybody else. Emphatically, a Justice League story needs to go big, and this opening issue makes an admirable effort at making them the right team to handle for a disaster of Biblical proportions.
This is both a strength and a possibly a weakness of the story. Readers who want to see the Justice League take on a big, cinematic-level story will certainly get that here. Hitch and the Florea/Daniel art team certainly make for some impressive imagery, opening with a scene of Wonder Woman literally riding the lightning into battle and it only gets better from there. Fans of Grant Morrison’s 1990s JLA series, where every issue felt like an event, will certainly find this kind of story familiar and comforting.
On the other hand, Morrison’s classic run also made plenty of room for characterization and relationships. Part of the charm of that classic run was its ability to show the interactions of the League as a team, in parts and in whole. Morrison was adept at contrasting Superman’s optimism with Batman’s paranoia, or Green Lantern and the Flash’s perspectives as the junior members of the team. Hitch’s Justice League isn’t quite there yet, though granted, it’s only a first issue. There are hints that he’ll get there–we get some cute dialogue where Cyborg expresses a “man crush” on Superman–but there needs to be more of this to balance against the constant action.
Justice League is the latest of many incarnations of the team and only time will tell if it’s a “great” run on the book. While it’s the only Justice League game in town at the moment, it’s certainly off to a great start and looks to be worthwhile for readers who want to keep a toe in DC’s waters.
Rating: Four leagues out of five.