The TW Review – Justice League #1

Edit: I wrote this review for the Friday edition of The Daily Athenaeum, so excuse the short paragraphs and partial breifness in analysis. That’s newspaper writing, people. Anyway, I liked what I wrote here, so I thought I would post it.

Read.

Justice League #1
Writer: Geoff Johns, Artists: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair

“There was a time when the world didn’t know what a super-hero was.”

The comic opens, and page one presents three panels. Panel one depicts a snapshot of a swat team cop. Two provides an overhead view as we focus in on a rooftop. Panel three zooms in on The Dark Knight.

There’s a progression here. We begin our focus on one form of physical fitness and evolve on to another. Evolve being the key word.

Batman on this page signifies something new or the ideal form of human police force, and by way of Jim Lee’s page layout, the old school swat member and Batman are in the midst of face off. He even draws them on opposite sides of the panel to give the illusion of each character staring off.

It’s humanity against super-humanity, and fear is in the air as both conflict over co-existence.

Or maybe it’s more a matter of discovery?

“Justice League #1” stands as the new DC comic book to begin an era and to excite an audience once more. It’s purpose as a product rests on the attraction of a new or lapsed audience, and it’s here to remind a populace of the super-hero concept’s true home.

While the line “the world didn’t know what a super-hero was” may not entirely ring true in our current cultural layout, the thought of the genre’s place and background may be a little perverted.

It’s the era of Hollywood. Iron Man makes more sense in a film than in print. People’s understanding isn’t very clear.

Not that it necessarily needs to be, but people have forgotten the comic book’s role in the super-hero genre. The medium and the genre don’t exactly match up for people anymore. They’re becoming their own things.

And this is perfectly fine. I’d rather people see comics as a medium then simply “super-heroes,” but still, capes are so much of the history. Both elements are forever tied to another.

This comic seems to remind us of that while also recalling the late 1930s as the super-hero genre first took flight. In some ways, “Justice League #1” says “this is the birth of the super-hero,” giving the comic this “Action Comics #1” vibe.

This statement, I feel, could be accurate, as this is the comic book, out of any comic book, that will provide people with a sense of new found discovery. And by that, I mean people discovering comics

The first page, if so interpreted by the audience party, provides a meta textual comment. It’s depicting what this comic book is intended to do: smash our world with the comic book awareness.

It does so in a semi-menacingly fashion, though.

Human beings fear these proto-gods, and the gods don’t even like each other. There’s nothing welcoming about it, but rather it feels like some sort of forced relation.

If desired, you could interpret this as a comment on the overall DC “all-new 52” relaunch.

Johns writes this comic well. Coming from me, this is a big compliment as I haven’t ever been a fan of this guy’s work. His comics hold too many monologues about nostalgia and too much “serious” character work for my taste.

The dude knows how to structure a story, though. I’ll give him that.

With “Justice League” I feel Johns channels a bit of another successful, modern super-hero team book – Brian Michael Bendis’s “New Avengers.”

Bendis’s Avengers work prides itself on indecisive, more-human-than-super-human characters. The Avengers may be the world’s greatest super-team, but in Bendis’s hands these characters must discuss what needs to be done rather than just act.

His version of the team is very human by way of its function. They almost work like politicians.

John’s brings that human concept to his version of the Justice League. While both Batman and Green Lantern still act quickly under fire, jumping from Gotham City to Metropolis in minutes in order to work, the characters’ relations are very flawed.

Green Lantern speaks of himself in the third person, and he cannot help but sound like egotistical jerk as he shows off to Batman. Batman is very untrusting and looks to work by himself rather than with Green Lantern.

Both characters are very godlike in their ability, but their social skills are so human.

Johns’s Justice League channels but also plays opposite to Bendis’s Avengers.

Just by nature of the comic’s character driven focus, I’d say Geoff Johns is totally trying to capture the the tone of Marvel Comics’ successful Avengers franchise.

I’m in favor of this first issue. While most complain of a lacking cast, I feel I read what I expected. Sure, the entire Justice League doesn’t appear, but honestly, in this day and age of decompression, did you really expect a done-in-one snapshot?

There’s enough action, question, and interesting character work to capture a reader’s attention, and Jim Lee back on art details is never a bad thing.

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