I bought this on impulse, due to finding a cheap used version for sale on Amazon. I had zero interest in most of the DC Comics reboots, outside of Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, and most reviews I’d read of this series when it came out were not that good. But curiosity got the better of me. . .
This book is a mess. It’s basically one non-stop action story, with some minimum attempts at characterization. The premise is that it takes place “5 years ago” when superhumans were first appearing on Earth. The general population, as well as the various governments, are wary or afraid of these superhumans and don’t fully trust them. Aliens, who are Darkseid’s Parademons are showing up in the sky and just randomly attacking people and blowing things up, so one by one the heroes meet and team up to stop them. First, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) confronts Batman, then they head to Metropolis and meet Superman, then Green Lantern calls his friend, The Flash (Barry Allen) to come to help them. Wonder Woman is out sight-seeing and enjoying her very first taste of ice cream, when she sees the commotion and jumps in, and then Aquaman appears out of the Ocean, where the parademons are also attacking, and joins the fight. There’s also the introduction of Cyborg, the newest hero. He’s a teenage athlete, who is almost fatally injured during the attack of the parademons, and his father, who happens to be a scientist for S.T.A.R. Labs, has him rebuilt with metal parts to save his life.
To avoid too many spoilers, I’ll just say that they defeat the parademons, and when Darkseid appears, they fight him off too, and are hailed as heroes by the public. President George W. Bush honors them in a big ceremony, thanking them for saving everyone. However, the heroes are not sure about becoming an actual team, thinking this was just a one-time thing. But then the President hears about another emergency and asks them to help, so we see them team up once again, and a reporter dubs them The Justice League (after Flash tried to call them The Super Seven).
As I said, there’s little characterization here. The most egregious example is that we’re never given an explanation in this story as to who Darkseid is, where he comes from, or why the parademons were attacking Earth. If you were a “new reader”, as this reboot was ostensibly designed to appeal to, you’d have no clue who he is, or why you should care. Hal Jordan and Barry Allen are both written as a couple of overgrown kids. I get that this is a new continuity, but if you were going to regress them this much, you might as well have stuck with Kyle Raynor and Wally West as Green Lantern and Flash. Jordan, in particular, is written as a cocky punk. That didn’t feel like the character I know.
The Cyborg story didn’t feel that important to me, either. As the only character in this book who doesn’t have his own solo title, I feel that he should have been more front and center in this series, being the stand-in for the audience. Not much is shown of Superman’s background or motivations in this book, same with Batman. At one point, Batman casually takes his mask off, in the middle of the street, to let Green Lantern know who he is. That seems rather reckless and out of character for him. We see that Wonder Woman is this wide-eyed innocent who loves to fight. We also see her interact with Steve Trevor, who is referred to as Colonel when he first appears, but then is later referred to as Captain. Aquaman is the only character I thought this book got right, as most of the characters react to him the way many of the audience would, that he swims and talks to fish, so what good is he? But he gets some cool scenes that show what makes him powerful.
The only real plus-side I gave say about this book is that Jim Lee’s art is great, as usual. Well, except for some of the new costume designs, especially Superman and Darkseid. But that’s the only reason I could recommend this book. If you’re a really big fan of Jim Lee’s art and just want to look at the pictures, then get this. Story-wise? TWO THUMBS DOWN.
I can’t get past that stupid looking Superman costume. Why would a “Man of Steel” need to wear body armor?
Yeah, I agree. If they just drew it as cloth, like usual, and ditched the high-collar, it would look perfect.
I love Jim Lee. I still have his artwork from his days drawing silver surfer.
I picked up from teh library recently a couple of graphic novels from DC, one was a justice league title (the injustice league), two were a wonder woman titles (love and murder & bitter rivals) and one was a batman title (year 100).
The justice league comic storyline (by dwayne mcduffie) was a bit trivial and cliche. I mean bad guys come together to attack the members of the justice league…ok…but why?
The best title I read out of the bunch was Batman Year 100.
McDuffie’s run on JLA was hampered from the start by editorial interference. And when he publicly complained about it, they kicked him to the curb.
[…] picked up this animated film on DVD recently, it’s based on the comic-book JUSTICE LEAGUE: ORIGIN by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee which, if you read the link, you’ll note that I wasn’t particularly impressed with. But […]