“Justice League no. 1,” released this past July, serves as an introduction to the series while leaving the reader something to look forward to. The issue does a good job of introducing each character in the League systematically, from Wonder Woman to the Green Lanterns Jessica and Simon, Cyborg, Flash, Aquaman and Batman. Yet, the overall context of the world and time period in the DC universe is lacking, especially with this being the first issue in the rebirth of the entire franchise. Regardless, the specific story line and framework for the entire volume is well introduced. However, I wouldn’t consider this issue no. 1, more like a preview. Not much actually happens in terms of story; DC is simply laying the groundwork.
In the first few pages, we are introduced to Wonder Woman, who opens the story by giving an intriguing monologue on her current “mission of peace.” This introduction fits well into the opening pages by drawing the reader in. The dialogue is also accompanied with beautiful illustrations as she fights a group of Russian soldiers (the reason why is never given). Unfortunately, the details of this peace mission are not continued as her battle interrupts the monologue.
As the battle ensues, a massive earthquake erupts and readers soon learn that earthquakes are occurring worldwide as the earth’s fault lines begin to fail. A news reporter, relaying this information to the reader, admits that the world’s fate lies in the Justice League, yet she doubts if even superheroes can save them from this “extinction level event.”
The apocalyptic scale of this event is a unique way to start this series since it immediately puts the Justice League in their prime: saving the world when it needs them most. Through the mass devastation, we see the members of the league spread around the world attempting to rescue as many people as possible from the destruction. For example, we find the Green Lanterns in Beijing, Cyborg in New York and the Flash in San Francisco.
While the different characters’ stories across the globe provide a diversity to the issue, it’s not enough of a story to create any gripping interest. As I began getting invested in the story of one character, the focus would flip to another character, making the whole issue feel choppy.
In the midst of the League’s efforts, other immediate threats begin laying the foundation for the next issue. As the League rescues citizens, some people around the world become hypnotized and enter a trance, muttering about stolen words, power and knowledge. Was a force even greater than the Justice League awakened? Is this a result of the earthquake? What caused it?
Towards the very end of the issue, Batman is introduced to threat attacking citizens in Gotham, yet there’s little development here. Surprisingly, Wonder Woman is attacked by a group of zombies calling themselves “The Kindred.” The amount of conflict introduced here is quite large. Hopefully, this will lead to a rich story in the next issue and answers will be provided.
When approaching this issue, I expected to see the Justice League working together, not separately. However, this issue begins in media en res style — in the heart of the action. While this is enjoyable and the spreads of different heroes are visually stunning (The Flash has the best pages in this issue as he saves a young girl from a burning building), the story jumps around too quickly between characters, depriving the content of any deep meaning.
Considering that this issue is the first in the franchise’s reboot, I expected DC to ease into the story in some way, as they hope to gain new readers and properly introduce them to this world. At the same, a decision like this leaves avid fans wanting more.
Overall this read was enjoyable, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I’m hoping next issue will dive deeper into the story and have the Justice League working together.
Art: 5 / 5 Gorgeous
Entertainment Value: 4 / 5 High
Readability: 3 / 5 Moderate
Interest in Next Issue: 3 / 5 Moderate
OVERALL SCORE: 70%