Justice League #1
Justice League #1
- The Justice League are back and better than ever!
- The Legion of Doom are back and badder than ever!
- The Hall of Justice and Hall of Doom jump right out of your memories on to the page
- Classic Good vs. Evil framework
- Great sense of family in the new Justice League
- Martian Manhunter is awesome
- Scott Snyder begins another epic run
- Beautiful art
- Great to see Vandal Savage used well
It’s finally time. After whetting our appetites with the short story in DC Universe #0 and the four issues of Justice League: No Justice, the new era of Justice League begins in earnest with this first issue. Scott Snyder is finally able to play with all of the toys, and after the first issue, it’s not hard to see why he was so excited.
A long, long time ago, back when I was a kid, superhero comics were very “black and white.” The battle between good vs. evil was very clearly defined. You knew which was which, and there was very little ambiguity. The Batman in this comics fought crime in a cape that was a pretty bright shade of blue, in a Gotham City that was also pretty bright. Then, as the years went on, Batman’s cape got darker, and Gotham City got seeder and more shadowy. Along the way, the lines between black and white blurred, until the norm became more of a large grey area. The Justice League even fell into that grey area, going so far during the events of Metal as to break the Source Wall. But, thankfully, the Justice League seems to be returning to that time when the team stood for all that is good and, well, just.
It is a point that will be hammered home time and time again in the issue. It all starts at the very beginning with the reveal of the new Hall of Justice, a gleaming white building that just seems to scream “Good Guys Live Here.” Indeed, you will intentionally find yourself thinking of the old SuperFriends/ Super Powers cartoons. Although the Hall of Justice is straight out of those cartoons, don’t expect to see Wendy and Marvin or the Wonder Twins hanging around. The building serves as the Headqaurters of the “main” Justice League, which in this incarnation consists of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Green Lantern John Stewart. Overseeing this new Justice League is their Chairman, Martian Manhunter. It is solid lineup of both tentl[ole heroes, and ancillary heroes deserving of some extra page time.
One of the other themes that runs through the issue is the idea of the Justice League as a family. This is superbly illustrated by the opening sequence, which features Martian Manhunter overseeing a mission on multiple fronts, connecting all the team telepathically. Throughout the entire sequence, there is a hilarious sequence involving imitating Batman’s voice that plays out, which you can’t help but smile at. This version of the League are again at ease around each other, working as a well oiled machine, with Martian Manhunter as the glue holding them together. This sense of family, camraderie and, most importantly trust will surface again, as Martain Manhunter convenes a telepathic boardroom to share information. Everyone creates the telepathic boardroom together, and Manhunter says it will become more realized they use it.
The villain they are battling in this first encounter is Vandal Savage, who is using six tribes of new-age Neanderthals to try to move the Earth out of it’s orbit. Why? Well, ti has to do with an object that begins streaking it’s way towards Earth at the very beginning of the issue. How does the Justice League stop it? Why, They BLOW UP THE MOON, of course. But, it turns out that Savage was trying to get Earth out of the way of the object streaking through space.
Though, it turns out that the object is the least of Savage’s problems. This is due to the fact that Lex Luthor has determined that he is not a hero after all, and he has reformed the LEGION OF DOOM! In addition to himself, he has recruited Joker, Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta and Cheetah. There is no grey area here, they are definitely evil. It turns out Savage’s base is actually the HALL OF DOOM! Having bought the place, Lex moves in, dispensing with the rest of the Neanderthals and KILLING VANDAL SAVAGE.
As he is dying, Vandal Savage opens his mind to Martian Manhunter, sending all of his knowledge of what is happening and what is coming to him. Manhunter is afraid, because what Vandal Savage showed him tells him he might have made the wrong choice and Doom may be coming to Earth.
So, in one of the coolest things I have ever seen in comics, the symbol the League uses comes from the Martian symbol for Justice and looks a bit like the Hall of Justice, whereas the symbol for Doom is the same symbol inverted, with two angled lines, and it looks just like the Hall of Doom. It’s really amazing.
Scott Snyder got his feet wet with Metal and No Justice, but here, at last, he jumps into the deep end. It is clear from the very beginning that he has a deep affection and respect for these characters, and what this title represents. His core team is made up of both stalwarts and new additions, the perfect mix of past and present. I also love the return to the spotlight of Martian Manhunter, and his new role as chairman. The telepathic connection of the team offers up tons of story possibilities, and I can’t wait to see it further used and explored. This new Justice League is comfortable working with each other and functions as a team from the very beginning. This is a cohesiveness that has been missing from the Justice League and immediately lightens the mood of the team when they appear in the book. It also establishes them unmistakable as the “good guys.” Likewise, when Lex Luthor and Legion of Doom appear, it is immediately apparent that they are going to be the “bad guys”, with Lex Luthor being the “chief bad guy.” It is almost as if we are back in the “black and white” days of good vs. evil. In fact, the only character really skirting the line here is Vandal Savage, who is doing a ” bad” thing, but for a very “good” reason. In the end, he opens his mind to Martian Manhunter, in the hope that he will be able to use the information he has in his mind, so I guess that means, he sort of dies a “hero.” Mr. Snyder handles each of the characters in this new and diverse cast with his usual aplomb, and I am loving the banter between team members. I can’t wait for more of it.
Again, Mr. Snyder has gotten very lucky in the art department, It is easy to say, with very little hyperbole, that is one of the most anticipated books of the year. Mr Snyder has, on Twitter, been very excited about Jim Cheung’s pencils and Mark Morales’ inks for quite some time now, and it is not hard to see why. The Hall of Justice looks magnificent, the Justice League has never looked better, and , as for the Legion of Doom, well, they bring new meaning to “if looks could kill.” Lex Luthor looks as malevolent as ever, with a sickening smile on his face as the meteor hits at the end of the issue. You can just tell no good will come of this. Also of note is the beautiful coloring job of Tomeu Morey, the final step in bringing this stunning story to life. This is the sort of top notch team you want on a top tier book.
IN THE END: Scott Snyder’s Justice League is off to a roaring star. It’s the battle of Good vs. Evil that you remember when you were a kid, all grown up. DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS TITLE!