DC — The New52 Reviews: Justice League #1 (Braak’s Take)

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Braak, comic books, reviews
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I, BRAAK!, have also read the new Justice League #1 and, as you might expect, I have some thoughts on it.

Though, in fact, this is misleading — while I have some thoughts on the format, and some thoughts on the nature of digital comics and digital delivery, the most damning criticism of this as a comic book is that actually I DON’T have very many thoughts on it.

Ugh, argh, let’s get to it.

On the Comic Itself:

Ye Olde Plotte:

Back in my writing classes — to which I was never admitted, but was permitted to read the syllabi for and treated to my fellow college students’ long complaints about their homework, like a poor orphan child, grubby faced pressed against the window of a toy store, watching plump wealthy boys and girls crying about how their rocking horses weren’t quite the right color — they taught me about a technique called In Media Res, which means “in the middle of things.”

In Media Res means at the start of The Iliad, not only is the Trojan War going on, but it’s actually almost over.  The characters have all already met, the plot is already in motion, the story is right there, ready to go for the climax.  This is a good way to start a giant action-adventure story, because the scale is so big:  if we’d taken the time to introduce Menelaus first, and seen him complaining about his wife’s infidelities, and then he went to Agamemnon and asked him to help him go to war with Troy, and THEN they went to go find Achilles (Most Violent of All Men), and then after that they were all, “Well, shouldn’t there be a clever guy here, too?” so they went to go get Odysseus on bored — oh, excuse me.  “On board.”  But I think you get my point.

The structure of this comic isn’t just that it’s the very first part of what’s going to be a six-issue series.  It’s that it begins with Batman and Green Lantern meeting each other, clunkily delivering some exposition, and then going to go meet Superman.  It’s exactly like the first session of a Dungeons and Dragons game, where the dungeon master is all, “Okay, you are in a tavern and you meet Herbert the Elf.  Now, an assassin comes!  You don’t know who it is, but you think Aethelred the Dwarf, who lives nearby, might be able to tell you more.”

I guess you’d call it a “follow-the-breadcrumbs” plot, and the worst part is that we only get, like, two breadcrumbs out of it.

More than that, though, I disagree with Holland’s assertion that this immediately establishes the characters of Batman and Green Lantern.  I mean, it kind of does, but I think it’s really only interesting if you’ve already got a working knowledge of who Batman and Green Lantern are.  That is, while it kind of shows what these two characters are like, it does NOT show why I should give a shit about what happens to them.

Now, admittedly, I did already buy the book, so it can be safely assumed that I have SOME interest in what happens to Batman and Green Lantern.  But at the end of the book [HURRGH SPOILER] they are about to fight Superman.  This is not a good way to keep my interest.  “Oh no, what will happen!  Will Superman destroy them all?  Will Batman and Green Lantern ever become friends with Superman and form the Justice League?”

In the book called Justice League.  Which has a picture of Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman all together on the front cover.  Gosh, I wonder.

(On the other hand:  if the very first Justice League story arc was a six-part series in which the whole Justice League has to fight Superman, only coming around to him at the very end?  That would be a good story.  Alternately: what if the previous Green Lantern from this sector of space was a dick, and they had to fight him?  And when they beat him his ring went to Hal Jordan, and THAT is how Jordan became a member of the Justice League?)

Onne Thee Writinge:

Well, mostly see above.  But I want to point out a couple things.

1)  There’s a part where the helicopters are shooting at Batman (we don’t know why, really.  Good In Media Res!  What’s going on here!?!?) and Green Lantern is protecting him with some force-field in the form of guys with riot shields.  Here is what they say:

Batman:  Welcome to Gotham, Green Lantern.  (“Green Lantern” is in both Bold and Italics, so that you know that this is an important name to remember.)

Green Lantern:  They’re wasting their bullets.  This force field can stand up to…well, to anything.

Batman:  I’ve read about your “conflicts” with the Air Force out west, so I know you know the drill.

Green Lantern:  I know the drill.  They don’t like us.

Oof.  You know what should never be delivered in the form of dialogue?  Information that both characters already know.  Especially if one of them says something like, “I know you know what I am telling you right now.”  You know who doesn’t do that?  Anyone.

“This force field is impenetrable.”

“Yeah, I can SEE THAT, jackass, due to how it’s stopping all the bullets.” — me, the reader, who doesn’t need something explained to Batman so that I can tell what’s going on.

You know what would be better?  If Green Lantern was telling the COPS that they were wasting their bullets.  And if they then pulled out a rocket launcher and tried to blow him up with it, and it still didn’t work.  Hahah, at least it’s interesting.

Worse, talk about a missed opportunity, here — shouldn’t the superhero world be one in which different places have different reactions to their heroes?  Batman is a creepy, enigmatic figure who assaults the mentally handicapped; Green Lantern is a glowing space god who protects jet fighters from alien monsters.  Shouldn’t it actually be that Green Lantern shows up in Gotham and doesn’t understand what’s going on?  Either 1) he doesn’t even think of Batman as being a hero — because honestly, why the hell WOULD he?  He doesn’t read the comics, all he knows about Batman is what he reads in the paper:

Or, at the very least, why isn’t it revealed that the way that things happen in Gotham is fundamentally different from the way things happen out west?  Blech.

Also:  “They don’t like us.”  They who?  The police?  The air force?  The Gubbermint?  Civilians?  Helicopter pilots?  The answer is, “Anyone that we need to be conveniently shooting at Batman in order to add stakes to what is otherwise a ‘Batman follows a mad bomber’ plot,” and for that reason the In Media Res that once was good is now bad:  “Why are they shooting at Batman?”  “Because they don’t like him.”  Question raised and answered in two pages, bravo.

I don’t want to harp on this too much, but it’s illustrative of a point I’m going to make later, so check out this bit on the next page:  Batman is somehow shadowed, despite the fact that Green Lantern’s super-bright glowing power ring is right in front of his face.  Green Lantern’s face is lit up — this is to show the difference between Batman, who is dark, and Green Lantern, who is light. (UGGGH.)

Batman:  The world’s afraid of us.

Green Lantern:  You say that like it’s a good thing.

Batman:  It’s necessary.

This is NOT a good way to describe two different characters and their approaches to crime fighting, because it’s STUPID.  Batman doesn’t want the world to be afraid of “superheroes” — because, first of all, there ARE no superheroes yet (this was explained in the few panels of opening narration) and, second of all, Batman has absolutely no reason to think that he is in the same category of person as Green Lantern.  Batman is a secret vigilante who dresses up like Dracula and kicks muggers; Green Lantern fights aliens from space.  They have nothing to do with each other!

Batman doesn’t think the world should be afraid of “us” — that is, “people who wear costumes” (this is the only thing they have in common) — he thinks that the world should be afraid of him.

More importantly, though, is that NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME TO TALK ABOUT THIS.  Batman is taciturn in the first place, and in the second place, he’s in the fucking middle of chasing an alien bomb monster while being shot at by the police.

Auggggh.  Okay, hold on, I want to do a bit on the art and then see if I can tie this all together.

Thee Artte:

I’m not going to lie:  I grew up reading comics in the 90s, and Jim Lee was formative in my sense of comic book aesthetics.  The huge chests, the square jaws, everyone has the same haircut.  There’s a lot of frenetic action, there’s never anything NOT happening on panel, and it’s all colored to look like some kind of liquid oil paint has been thrown all over it.  I won’t say that there isn’t a warm nostalgia that I feel when I see it.

But you know what?  I also stopped reading comics in the 90s, for exactly those same reasons.  The style of art evolved (well, devolved) into a bloated, messy, slimy-looking mess (culminating with the work of the Rob himself).  Subsequent to that, I’ve been exposed to the clean, crisp Bruce Timm designs from the animated serieses.  I’ve seen J. H. Williams III personally draw every possible style of art in Promethea, Brian Hitch’s amazing photo-realism and action panel layout.  I mean, I’m not an expert, but I’ve seen a lot of other art since the 90s, and it’s all better than this.  It treats the panels as a way of illustrating not just the action, but the nature of the story.

And we’ve already seen how comics can and must design the characters they include.  If you look at the parademon in Justice League #1, and then compare it to some of the earlier Jack Kirby designs:  well, look, Kirby’s designs are sometimes a little goofy, in the sense that they’re all bright colors and crisp geometries.  And if you want to make it a little more realistic, I can understand that.  But turning the design into a generic 90s complicated-mess-of-a-monster?  It looks like a daemonite from the Wildstorm comics, and you know why?  Because that was how they drew all the aliens in the 90s. 

Taking clean designs from previous generations, and making them “grimmer” or “grittier” by just throwing a bunch of crap on them is exemplary of the worst excesses of a decade of comics that literally appealed to no one but 14-year-old boys.

Thee Nineties:

These were all the things that bored me about comics:  messy, complicated art with generic designs.  Expository dialogue where characters just keep explaining things to each other, and certain phrases are bolded apparently at random.  Brainless plots (read any Rob Leifeld book about a team infiltrating a base and then try to tell me a story where Batman follows an alien around Gotham and then goes to ask Superman about it because he’s the only other alien he knows — I guess in Batman’s mind, all aliens know each other?  Like, if you’re not specifically from Earth, then you’re in the Big Space Club, or something? — tell me that this plot is any fucking better), pointless, arbitrary action sequences.

I know that some people have said, “This isn’t really an attempt to recapture the 90s,” and maybe it’s not.  I can believe that, sure — I do believe that DC wants to go into the future of comics.  But whatever they’re doing, it’s definitely letting them make the same kinds of mistakes that they made in the 90s.  I don’t know how those guys forgot about them, but I sure as hell didn’t.

Thee Coste of Livinge:

I think, first of all, that the Comixology browser is dumb.  It’s badly designed, I can’t read one comic without clicking in three places (I think; maybe there’s a way I can go right to the comic I have just as soon as I sign in?  But I don’t know how to do that, which is a sign that the interface is dumb).

And, yeah, are you kidding?  Four dollars for 25 pages?  And I don’t get anything from it except, “Well, I’m Green Lantern, and I can make forcefields and am a dick!”  “Well, I’m Batman, and I don’t have any powers but I think the world should be afraid of me.”  “Well, I’m a kid who plays football and whose dad doesn’t love him very much.”  “Hello, it’s me, Superman!  PUNCH!”  END OF ISSUE.

That’s it, huh?  Four dollars, and I can read it in less than ten minutes, and in those ten minutes I get nothing.  Not one interesting idea, not one new take on any of these guys, not even a decent cliffhanger.

You know what else costs four dollars?

The Translated Man and Other Stories.  A whole book, AND four short stories.  You can even read it on your tablet if you want.

Listen, I recognize that the cost of making a comic book is high.  You’ve got a lot of people to pay:  writer, artist, letterer, colorist.  And you’ve got your entire infrastructure to support:  editor-in-chief, sub-editors, assistants to the editor, receptionists, the marketing department, the human resources department, the rent on your building, the electricity and air conditioning on your building.  You probably have coffee and snacks in the breakroom, and that stuff isn’t free.  All that AND you have to have money left over for a payout to the shareholders at the end of each quarter — that’s every THREE MONTHS you have to pay all those people and still have money leftover.

That’s a lot of shit to pay for, and that’s the reason that I get 25 pages for FOUR DOLLARS.  But the fact is, I don’t care.  I don’t care how expensive it is to make a comic book, I don’t care what your overhead is.  I am not spending thirty-two bucks on comics that I’m going to be finished with in an hour (there are about eight titles in the new lineup that I’m kind of interested in).

And if you CAN’T do better than the four-dollars-for-ten-minutes-of-entertainment rate, then you’d damn well better find a way to PACK those ten minutes with entertainment.

  1. I’m going to go on another Green Lantern bender, which seems to be what I do when I comment on your comics-related posts, so, sorry, but …

    The reason I do not like this introduction of Green Lantern is that Green Lantern, if you really think about it, is not a guy people on Earth should see. He has a whole galactic sector to protect and it just happens to include the Earth, and everything a Green Lantern is empowered for has to do with protecting that sector against big interstellar threats. (And I suppose keeping the peace between warring planets/cultures within that sector.)

    Since Earth in the DCU is not an exploratory galactic culture, and is instead a sort of backwater nonetheless beset with alien invasions, Green Lantern should be OUT IN FUCKING SPACE PROTECTING EARTH FROM THE FUCKING ALIENS. He should not be lighting up Crime Alley like goddamn St. Patty’s in Vegas.

    Not only should Green Lantern have no idea that Batman is a “hero” per se, but Batman and the rest of the world should by all rights have no idea that Green Lantern exists. If he’s showing up on Earth in full costume, power ring ablazin’, he’s already buggered off from his assigned duties and deserves to be kicked out of the Corps.

  2. braak says:

    Yeah. I mean, even if you did something (which I think is reasonable) in which Green Lantern sort of only three-quarters knows what his job is, in terms of scale (giving room for him to find out more about just how extensive his sector space is), this is a completely, COMPLETELY stupidly wasted opportunity.

    This is a TEAM BOOK, and Johns has the opportunity to make all of the characters and their places in the world different: Batman is a semi-mythical masked vigilante. Wonder Woman is an exiled Amazon princess. Aquaman is the King of Atlantis. Superman is the first “out” Superhero. And Green Lantern fights ALIENS IN SPACE. At the very least, he’d be more interesting if he were working WITH the government, like with their alien investigation department or whatever, since it gives both the opportunity for a contentious relationship with them (between government bureaucracy and Hal’s hot-headed, go-it-alone nature) AND a contentious relationship with guys like Batman (between Batman’s “I have to work outside the law” and Green Lantern’s hardcore sense of law and order).

  3. Jeff Holland says:

    There’s the overused “flashforward/flashback” way a lot of TV shows open up these days – showing the cliffhanger and then cutting to “…Two Days Earlier.”

    And man, if Johns was so adamant not to do a done-in-one (or hell, even done-in-two) “pilot” story, he could have at least used this setup to whet the whistle.

    Page 1: 7 panels crashing up against each other – each showing a close-up of one of the team doing something iconic (a batarang thrown, something caught in the golden lasso, a shark chomping on top of someone’s head, etc.), and a lot of cacophonous dialogue (“Lantern, get down!” “You’re finished, monster!” etc.)



    Batman: Hh.

    Page 3: “Two weeks earlier…”

    There. Now you can go back and have people meet however you want – because you’ve at least shown the audience what they came looking for: big action featuring big characters.

  4. braak says:

    It’s over-used because it works. That’s why so many people liked Lost: it is a super convenient, functional way of hooking the reader before you make your introductions.

    So, this is good, but I’d do it even differently.

    Let’s say page 1 is actually…let’s say it’s the Flash, in a building that’s burning down, trying to get people out of it. Just a page, not much dialog, maybe a little bit at the end of the Flash saying, “It’s okay, I’m here to help.” At the bottom, while he’s saying that there’s one of those radio bubbles, saying, “Flash, we need you at Bay City Bridge right now…”

    Two-page spread. This is the Justice League, fighting monsters on Earth, probably right in the middle of wherever I just said. Bay City. The pages are actually divided up so that there’s a center piece, and then seven panels around it, each showing basically the same thing from a different direction. Green Lantern is trying to keep some kind of huge ship from landing, Superman is wrecking some parademons, Aquaman is by the docks dousing fires and also wrecking parademons, &c. In the middle is Cyborg, with lots of lines trying to coordinate what’s happening. “Superman, we need you to handle that carrier, I need Green Lantern at the secondary landing site.” “Aquaman, your position’s compromised, fall back.”

    If there’s a loose cannon on the team — let’s say for the sake of argument that it’s Wonder Woman — here Cyborg says something like “Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman I need you at landing site three. Do you read me?”

    Page 3 is Superman clearing some guys out, and then starting to fly up over the city while Cyborg says something like, “Batman? Batman, I’ve lost your signal. Where are you? Does anybody have eyes on Batman?” Superman is up over the city, he looks out in horror at something that we don’t see, and says, “Oh. Oh, no.”

    I like this way, because it gives us a little bit of an idea about how all of these guys are going to function as a team (the Flash is doing his best to help people, Wonder Woman is off on her own, Cyborg is trying to coordinate everything), as well as some more mysteries — if you see the Justice League fighting some monsters, then there’s no mystery. What happened? Some monsters showed up, the Justice League is fighting them. But this leaves us with more questions: what happened to Batman? What does Superman see?

    Also, because the action starts on Earth, we can build up to this point in the narrative, and then still have somewhere to go.

  5. braak says:

    Cut to, Three Weeks Earlier:

    Green Lantern is chasing a parademon into Earth’s atmosphere. They crash land in Metropolis and start fighting. Green Lantern keeps demanding that the parademon identify itself and explain what it’s doing; the parademon just starts hucking cars at him, or transforming in weird, fractal shapes, like a Shoggoth made out of math. After a page or two, Superman shows up, and demands that both of them stop causing trouble and surrender immediately. Green Lantern calls him an idiot and tries to restrain him, Superman breaks through his Green Lantern powers and is going to knock him out, then the parademon attacks.

    The two of them take it out together. When it’s defeated, Superman says he’s going to take it to Star Labs, Green Lantern says no, he’s going to take it into space. There’s a standoff, but Green Lantern eventually relents, and says that Superman has no idea what he’s getting himself into.

    LATER, Batman is breaking into Star Labs. He sneaks in and finds the Parademon body. Superman shows up immediately. They, too, have a little bit of a stare down:

    Batman: Believe me, if I didn’t want you to find me, you couldn’t.

    Superman: Believe me. I could.

    Batman uses his detective insights to figure out a little of what’s happening, maybe on the grounds that, “whatever they’re made of, criminals are criminals” or something. We’d have to figure out the details of what the plan is, obviously — maybe it’s just Batman figuring out that this thing is a scout, or a saboteur, and is the front-runner for what’s going to be a much bigger problem. This is where we can have the good argument, between Batman and Superman about whether or not becoming a visible superhero is a good idea.

    Anyway, I like this because it lets us have the “visible superhero” argument between the two people who actually should be having it. It lets us use the Green Lantern for what he’s for — that is, identifying and dealing with space monsters — as well as setting him up for an “Overbearing Prick Learns the Value of Other People,” as setting up Batman for HIS role (“detective”) and setting up a key element of Superman’s character (“I don’t know what’s going on here, and I don’t care how monstrous-looking that thing is, I expect you both to surrender and come with me peacefully”).

  6. braak says:

    Now, the question is: how do we get Aquaman and Wonder Woman involved in this?

    So, if it’s me and if, for whatever reason, I HAVE to use Darkseid this early in the narrative, then I’m going to just USE THE HELL out of Darkseid.

    Remember the deal with the New Gods? How the Old Gods were destroyed, and then the New Gods came?

    So, let’s go back to 3 million BC, to the height of Atlantean civilization. And these guys are also in the midst of a war. There are recognizable parademons around, and maybe a giant “boom tube” portal in the sky, from which armies are invading. All kinds of crazy shit goes down — Poseidon, who is the progenitor of the Atlantean civilization, and the first master of the ocean, is protecting Atlantis. Volcanoes and waves of fire are torching the rest of the Earth. Mercury — the Flash of 3 million BC, is dashing around, you know, doing important things. This whole sequence is going to reflect that very first sequence in issue one.

    Chronos, the god of evil from the Old Gods, who looks like a prototype Darkseid, turns up on Olympus, where we find Athena and Zeus. Zeus is a frail-looking old man. Athena has something that she’s trying to keep hidden.

    Chronos says something like, “Well, here you are, Zeus. I thought you’d be out, protecting your pretty humans, but I find you cowering like the weakling that you are.” He grabs Zeus by the throat and holds him up in the air. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

    Zeus says “Shazam”, and turns into the Captain Marvel of 3 million BC. There is a giant lightning bolt that destroys the top of Mount Olympus. Athena flees. Apollo, the Green Lantern of 3 million BC, crashes a comet into the Earth, causing the world to flood. Poseidon uses up the last of his power protecting Atlantis as it sinks beneath the waves. Zeus flies with Chronos through the Boom Tube to the planet of the Old Gods, where they crash through the surface, chased by a gigantic bolt of lightning.

    This is the classic “planet splitting in two” from the Fourth World series.

    When the dust settles, Athena and Mercury are on Themyscira. They reveal that they have taken the last fragment of power from each of the Old Gods, and are founding the island of the Amazons to protect that power — because one day, the New God of Evil will come back for this world, and that power will need to be reinvested into a champion who will fight for the Earth.

    Athena then says that she will help the human survivors, high up in the mountains, rebuild the civilization, but Themyscira must remain hidden forever, et cetera and so forth, a secret weapon to be used against evil when it returns.

    This gives us two things: 1) a good reason for Wonder Woman to be introduced here and now. And 2) a good reason for Aquaman to be involved. As the last king of Atlantis, he’s actually the only one who has any idea what’s going on; the Amazons just know that they’re supposed to field the champion, the last power of the Old Gods, but the Atlantean archives are where we can find all the information that we’ll need about Boom Tubes and Apokolips.

  7. braak says:

    Now, I still don’t know how Cyborg and Flash get involved in this. What’s Cyborg’s deal, anyway? Here, let me quickly look him up on Wikipedia.

  8. braak says:

    Oh, dude. Cyborg got his cyborg implants when he was attacked by an extra-dimensional monster at…STAR Labs. So, that’s no fucking problem at all then, is it? Vic Stone is doing an internship at STAR, or maybe he just works there, or maybe he’s visiting his dad who works there — and something that they’re doing to the parademon triggers an accident: deadly fractal acid, or something, a boom tube opens and some Apokolips monster comes through and messes him up.

    This could even happen before Batman goes into STAR Labs — if you didn’t want it to happen on camera. Maybe Batman shows Superman the security tapes.

    (Superman: How did you get these?

    Batman: [silence])

    The video of the boom tube is what makes Batman think this isn’t just a random monster crashing into Metropolis, but the beginning of an invasion.

    Anyway, Cyborg gets outfitted with his new parts, scours the internet for information about what happened to him, realizes that it’s something to do with the parademon and suspects that either Superman or Batman is involved, and then goes looking for them — while simultaneously trying to connect with other heroes. Maybe he kind comes close to finding Batman, who is reasonably impressed (though pretends he isn’t). Maybe he manages to get to Green Lantern through his government liaison, and manages to track down the root of the urban legend called the Flash. Maybe STAR Labs has access to information that suggests the existence of the lost continent of Atlantis…

    And so he sort of uses Superman as the lynchpin of the Justice League, while remaining the actual organizational mind behind it.

  9. Lindsay says:

    I like your re-write much better, Braak. I didn’t hate JL #1, but I did find it fairly bland.

    Also, I said this in my review, but Superman Beyond #0 came out last week, and was 4 dollars, but it was 30 pages of content, 30 comic pages, not counting ads. In JL #1, I count 24. I smell ripoff.

  10. Jeff Holland says:

    That’s all very good.

    One thing I cut from my review – because clearly it ran a bit long as it was – was that if I wasn’t so annoyed with the structure overall, I still liked the idea of Cyborg being created as a direct result of the Justice League’s first adventure, which is as good a reason as any to tie him into the series (which also requires me to tamp down the old-reader part of my brain screaming, “But what of the New Teen Titans in this reality? WHAAAAT?”).

    It’s not unlike how the animated series tied the creation of the JL so thoroughly into the discover of J’onn.

    Want to re-read Warren Ellis’s “New Maps of Hell” story now, which was, I believe Ellis described, as “If I were going to do a Justice League movie and nobody knew who any of these people are, here’s how I’d introduce them and make them aware of the threat.”

    In that structure, the first issue introduced a mystery – one that was tangentially related to a story Lois and Clark are working on, a case Batman’s called in on, and an attack on Themyscira Wonder Woman responds to.

    Like Johns, he only focuses on three of the league, but unlike Johns he gives each leaguer something to respond to that’s in his/her wheelhouse. (It’s the same thing next issue by bringing GL and Flash into the mix.)

    And with this structure – a mystery – he gives the audience clues to come back to, putting them in the same boat as the league: “Just what’s going on here, and can I solve it before the heroes do?” which is really why mysteries are fun to read/watch.

    I think this is the real problem with the new JL. It’s neither character-driven nor plot-driven, so there’s nothing to latch onto. We’re not following any particular hero’s journey (barring Cyborg’s, I guess?), and there’s not enough mystery within the plot itself to tease the reader into getting the second issue – only vagueness.

  11. braak says:

    I was also thinking that the neat thing about the notion of Wonder Woman as specifically a weapon created by the Old Gods to fight the evil New God is that she could have come out during the 1940s, and fought in WWII with the Justice Society, and that would let you do a neat scene in which Hitler is abandoned by Darkseid and then kills himself and then Wonder Woman, realizing that this isn’t what she was called up for, goes back to Themyscira where time runs at a different rate. So, she can also have had her weird 40s adventures with Steve Trevor AND she can be still relative young in terms of the modern era.

    It’s kind of neat, in my mind, to both explicitly set the Justice League up as being a new pantheon of deities, and the Justice Society as a prototype League that sort of didn’t come together because the evil wasn’t really big enough.

    I actually really, REALLY want to write the Justice League, now. My version of this story would involve Kanto, who insists that Darkseid is actually too important to bother with Earth, and an epic battle that involves and Elaborate Plan that Batman comes up with in which Wonder Woman infiltrates Kanto’s ship and crashes it into the moon, the Flash evacuates all of Bay City by himself while Aquaman crushes it and the invading army with a giant tidal wave, and Green Lantern helps to shoot Superman through the sun so that he can charge his power up and just kick the hell out of Kanto.

    It seems pretty important to me that if you’re going to do the Justice League, while you DO need cosmic level threats, you still need to leave yourself a little bit of room.

  12. mbourgon says:

    You mention In Media Res. But it also seems like you should spend as much time with On The Nose – it seems most of the dialogue is like that.

  13. braak says:

    A valid point! But this thing was already a thousand words long.

  14. NotQuiteMyStuff says:

    I have to say the best part of the New 52 is finding blogs like yours, where the writing is enjoyable even if the comic is not.

    I’m one of the target audiences: someone who used to buy superhero books and still picks up other types of comics.

    If I’m paying $4 for 22-25 pages for a much-hyped #1, I want to see the team on the cover. I also expect something which defines the series and capitalizes on the debut vibe. It may not succeed, but I want to recognize the attempt.

    This has none of that. It does not resemble any of the #1 issues I’ve bought or which have become comic book milestones, or big debuts in other mediums.

    At best it seems like a slow start to a Batman/Green Lantern/Superman crossover not meant to stand on its own. It’s frustrating – even movies, tv shows and video games end the first installment with the title team together and the premise established.

    If DC was on its game, it would consider the strengths and weakness of what new or returning readers are likely to know about their line. Which is primarily through animated series, movies, out of context panels on blogs, random news stories, Family Guy references, etc.

    They could still have a complex tale, but couched within distinct elements both new and old fans would enjoy, even if they are a bit cheesy, like the roll call or the Hall of Justice.

    Instead they are resorting to modern comic tropes new/returning readers are unlikely to understand or appreciate: decompressed story, references like New Gods only more faithful readers will get, starting prior to the origin story and dubious “realistic” costume redesign.

    The art is rather bland when compared to all the various styles out there, especially the iconic images from merchandising or cartoons.

    I think Lee and company do not realize the previous publishing successes of the 80s/90s cannot be repeated. And if they were going by what has had greatest staying power or crossed over into the non-fan market, things like Paul Dini and Bruce Timm would be the derivative base, which would not be a bad thing.

  15. […] far, it looks like our initial impressions of Justice League were spot-on, unfortunately. It is big, loud and dumb: six issues of superhumans […]

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