Something Nice – Justice League #1 Review
|2 September, 2011||Posted by Erik Carlson under Uncategorized||
There was a time in our nation’s glorious pulp history when Batman, the star of Detective Comics, actually used to detect things. Since Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns constructed a gritty and violent AARP –knight writers exploited this new archetype and have written about a sociopath who believes that if he breaks enough limbs he’ll somehow avenge his parent’s murder. What was a ground-breaking tale steeped in 1980’s meta-violence ultimately ruined the world’s greatest detective instead making him the world’s most terrifying thug.
When DC decided to restart their books (a marketing ploy until next year’s big event), I had high hopes that perhaps they might give Batman a case. Have him actually solve a crime instead of just smelling the location of the bad guy. In Justice League #1, we meet him running from military aircraft and outrunning sniper’s bullets without breaking a sweat. Where is the subtle urban legend feared by a superstitious and cowardly lot? Sure he’s still gruff and believes Gotham is his alone (unless he franchises you a bat-symbol), but the fun of that attitude was that he was always the smartest guy in the room. A man who, like the great Midnighter spoof, had already fought the fight a hundred times in his head before throwing the first punch.
Then there is Hal Jordan. This new universe Hal seems more like Ryan Reynolds Hal. He’s cocky, brash, lights up the sky like the sun, and loses his ring immediately. Which begs the question: If the source of your power was a poorly-fitted ring, and anything you think of can be created, would you make something to keep the ring on your finger? Go ahead try swiping the ring off your finger in one motion. I’ll wait. See? Rings don’t come off that easy. Unless, of course, they are magic rings which specifically choose who will wear them.
Much of what I dislike about DC comes from lazy writing (and their over-use of chainguns). These characters, many of which have 50 – 60 years of history deserve better than cheap gimmicks. I’m tired of crossovers and muddled big events (to be fair, I’ve stopped reading most of Marvel for this very reason). I want to read a book that, if not consistent, will at least promise more than ten issues. By way of example, Power Girl was great until the relaunch was mentioned and the filler issues featured Power Girl being saved by children. Same with Catwoman before DC did the first 52 event and, in the next issue, she had a baby. These conceits were tired in the 1960’s when they were first done in other books. Give me something I can look forward to each month without needing crib-notes from other books.
Since my hypocrisy knows no bounds, I enjoyed the potential of Justice League #1. I’m intrigued that the new DC Universe is dealing with issues experienced in Marvel’s Civil War and Powers where metahumans are not trusted. I love that we are getting a civilian POV like in Astro City. I think that it is time DC gave us some depth to the universe and not simply one-dimensional cut-outs who fight and talk tough. It’s enough for now to see relationships in unfamiliar waters. I just hope that the laziness that has overshadowed the DCU for so long doesn’t darken this, too.
I’m giving this, and seven of the fifty-two DC relaunches, five issues to really wow me. Here’s hoping for the best.
Writing (dialogue): 3/5 – I can’t get over that stupid ring trick. Do you really expect me to believe Batman can swipe a ring designed by an alien master race?
Art: 4/5 – I love Jim Lee, but have always felt his work it too busy. This is no exception.
Story (entire 32 pages): 4/5 – A fun reintroduction to characters we’ve been reintroduced to numerous times. A great starting point for anyone unfamiliar with DC, wanting to get into comics but may be overwhelmed by too much diaspora, or die-hard fans looking to just enjoy a book.
(For those who own the issue – Turn to the sketches section and pay close attention to the on-again-off-again stylings of Wonder Woman’s pants)