Review by C.J. Bunce
It was way back in August that we first previewed the very first images of the new Justice League of America here at borg.com. DC Comics has had a big month with big changes–first we reviewed Jeff Lemire beginning a new Green Arrow story in the monthly series, then we were introduced last week to Tatsu, a new recruit in a new Justice League whose superhero name is that of her sword, Katana. And if you’re not keeping up we chatted a few days ago about DC Comics’ two trade editions available for the plain ol’ Justice League of the New 52. And that’s not even getting into the cancelled Justice League International monthly title and the awesome Justice League Dark we’ve raved about here earlier.
Today DC Comics put the America back in the Justice League. Sure, the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg)–the League with all the egos–will continue as a monthly series, but the rest of the original JLA superheroes we all know and love are back in their own separate league. They may not be the World’s Finest but writer Geoff Johns and artist David Finch have launched a new story, “World’s Most Dangerous.” And if Issue #1 is any indication I think we’re in for a better league with the new JLA.
The new roster has what you’d likely have pegged as the usual suspects before the New 52 began–Green Arrow, Hawkman, and Martian Manhunter. It also brings in a new Green Lantern created by writer Johns last May, Simon Baz, a Lebanese American and first Arab American Justice League member. It has the former Justice Society of America member Stargirl, the alias of Courtney Whitmore, a character named by Johns and created by him in 1999 and no doubt in a place better than her former role as merely girlfriend to Mr. Terrific. Young superhero Vibe is a charter member of the JLA, too, the Latino member Francisco “Cisco” Ramon, a character originally created back in 1984. We’ve also previously mentioned the deadly Katana, but the surprise JLA member is Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. All of these charter team members are enticed to join the JLA by Colonel Steve Trevor–a ringer for Captain America’s Steve Rogers in many ways, known to New 52 Justice League readers as the liaison between the Justice League and A.R.G.U.S. (the Advanced Research Group Uniting Super-Humans), a U.S. Government agency led by Trevor of the S.H.I.E.L.D., O.S.I. or new G.I. Joe agency variety. The enticement? What do you give each of Green Arrow, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Stargirl, Vibe, Katana, or Catwoman to team up in their own Justice League? You give them what they want the most.
With Vibe Issue #1, also released today, we get a good backstory of the kid-turned-superhero-from-Detroit by Johns and Arrow TV series creator Andrew Kreisberg. In Justice League of America Issue #1 we get a multi-layered starting point for this new team and more. In a bit of a reverse spin on the Seven Samurai/The Magnificent Seven, these eight superheroes aren’t trying out for a job, it’s the job that is after them. And each character gets his/her own chance to stand out. Colonel Trevor is the star in this introduction, playing a bit like Agent Colson from the movie The Avengers. It’s hard to dodge the comparisons in the New 52 to Marvel Comics elements. Just as the X-Men under Cyclops have their home away from everyone else at the island called Utopia, our Justice League is kept at a distance from us in a satellite orbiting Earth. So I think a pretty fair comparison can be made between the Marvel Universe’s Avengers/X-Men split and the Justice League/JLA split. And I am thinking we’ll see Green Arrow surface in his own leadership play on the Wolverine role before long.
DC Entertainment has provided borg.com readers with the preview pages above from Justice League of America Issue #1.
Collectors or variant covers may find their heads exploding with JLA #1. All in there are 52 state flag covers (including DC and Puerto Rico) to be on the look out for, especially for those of you caught up on your state quarters and state flag stamp collection. Finch’s play on the U.S. soldiers raising the flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in WWII is pretty cool. We have little doubt that Justice League of America will soon be at the top of DC Comics’ 52 titles. Based on Issue #1 we will be adding this one to our pull list and think you’ll find it worth checking out–even if you only stick to picking up one reading copy.