Justice League of America #1
By: Rob Gruszecki
Five years ago as dusk began to fall on the streets of London, a mysterious rendezvous took place between a Professor Ivo and an unknown informant to discuss the rising appearance of superheroes on Earth. Fast-forward five years to a strange cape charging through a forest, fearing for his life. At his heels every step of the way is a Justice League consisting of the same members we would expect but not quite acting the same as we are used to. As the man flees their capture his narrative brings us to the office of Director Waller as she discusses future plans for an A.R.G.U.S initiative with Colonel Steve Trevor. This new operation, consisting of Trevor acting the part of liaison to a coalition of the super-powered set up to keep the threat of super-human vigilantism under control, is basically to be used as a counter measure to the already existing Justice League. The proposed team is one you wouldn’t expect but upon further explanation makes for a decent contrast to the League and will certainly lead to an intense ride in the pages of Justice League of America.
Geoff Johns (Justice League, Aquaman, JSA, Green Lantern, Infinite Crisis) is at the peak of the DC pyramid these days as he spearheads the main creative decisions for the universe, its continuity and its shared character development. Everything he has done in the pages of the New 52 Justice League over the past year and a half of issues builds to this point where the bigwigs of the DCU are forced to compile a police force as powerful as Superman, Wonder Woman and the like but this time they will have them under their constant surveillance and control. Reading Johns DC work is something special as he approaches his stories with such an understanding of the material, its history and D-list characters and writes with such a passion that you can really feel his love for the world bleed through the page with each word. The first issue in JLA is no different and I even found myself caring about who Vibe was and why he was to be recruited. Johns work has always had a really captivating presence to me and although this issue acted mostly as an introduction and assembly of heroes issue I still enjoyed each story beat. He managed to set up a logical way for these characters to come together and presented it where I really cared what would be the next step for them as a team. That being said, they do actually have to become a team first as this is one of those number ones that teases ‘hey, betcha can’t wait for this team that’s on the front cover to actually come together and utilize the ancient power of punching!’ Despite that I thought the catalyst set off and seeds for a plot worked for me and made for a great comic.
David Finch (New Avengers, The Dark Knight, Brightest Day) handled pencil duties in Justice League of America and where I can totally understand his appeal and fan base, he simply is not my cup of tea. I have never been a fan of the Marc Sylvestri, Cyberforce style of comic art as it just seems to me like comically hyper exaggerated anatomy and consistent scowling but if that’s your thing than pick up Justice League of America as it has it in full force. Finch is obviously an incredibly talented artist and despite not being my personal favorite had much to offer in the book that even appealed to one not disposed to that style, for example his depiction of Catwoman was fantastic, gritty, sexy and powerful. His Justice League full page was beautiful and the Martian Manhunter was a highlight for me as his depictions of the alien are extremely intimidating and commanding. All of my problems with the art in Justice League of America were purely personal taste as his execution, storytelling, layouts and character designs worked very well with the tone of the new series and will surely please many DC fans.
Justice League of America is a welcome addition to the New 52 line and is definitely an exciting installment into the ongoing continuity and shared universe. Geoff Johns and David Finch work well as a team and hopefully will continue to produce entertaining and inventive stories that stay as fresh and enthralling as this first chapter.
Rob Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on twitter @Ghost_Factory
Listen to his music www.ghostfactorymusic.com
Read more of his comic reviews (Dear, Ghost Factory. What Should I Read?) or listen to the Comics Round-up weekly Podcast both found at www.flashfact.org