Justice League No1 (The New 52)

When a comic book series starts, it’s impossible to know how it will continue, how it will end, how good it’ll be, how it’ll be received, and how fondly it will be remembered. The first issue is a good starting point (in fact, the only starting point, by definition), but it is not representative of the series. Of course it isn’t. It can’t be.

When you aren’t launching a new series, but are instead RE-launching a series, it’s even trickier. There is a massive amount of emotional investment already made in the series.  This first issue instead needs to make an impression on the folks who are already pre-determined to feel one way or another.

However, when you are completely re-launching an entire universe, nay, multiverse (we think), and by proxy every single title that you currently release, and not only that, but you are also 50% of the “Big Two” of comics publishers, this first issue has a fuck load of fans, money, and a huge chunk of the entire industry relying on it. No, that is not an exaggeration. If this goes badly wrong, it could turn people away from comics completely (especially considering the other half of the Big Two has been alienating the super hardcore audiences for years).

So, here it is. I bought a copy. I read it (because comics are for reading), and it was ok. Fantastic art direction, captivating plot (as far as I can tell), and a few surprises. It’s really not very easy to review a comic, especially considering how small and full of adverts they are.

Without giving any story away, it looks like heroes in this new DC multi-uni-superverse are not only new, but aren’t as honoured and adored by the federal authorities as the old DC heroes were (a nod in the direction of Marvel’s universe perhaps?). Batman is there, obviously (and I’ll get to him later), and he is still powerless, and still a massive dickhead. Green Lantern shows up, referring to himself in the third person. Although he doesn’t actually say that he’s Hal Jordan, if DC haven’t made him Hal Jordan, they’ve lost the bellyachers already. Green Lantern is very cocky, and it looks like they are modelling this Hal on the Hal Jordan from the movie, assuming of course that it is Hal, which is a massive mistake. Another point worth noting is that they are keeping the Green Lantern Corps with all of the other assorted Lanterns. It’s not an issue for me, and I loved Blackest Night, but some may raise their eyebrows at this missed opportunity to relaunch Hal Jordan the way that the fans liked it. I mean, this relaunch is permanent, right? Right? We also get to meet Superman, who looks about 20 years old (this is intentional). We also see Cyborg before he becomes Cyborg, and what seems to be influencing him. Perhaps we aren’t supposed to know it’s Cyborg, but as he’s on the front cover as Cyborg, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet. That’s not a bad thing though, people are going to want to jump back into the DC saddle asap, and so it’s pointless playing riddles with people who have several decades worth of material concerning these superheroes to fall back on.

My beef (and everyone that knew there was going to be one), wasn’t with the issue itself. As I have already pointed out, it’s ridiculous trying to form any sort of critical judgement on one book.  In fact my beef is with the statistics behind this 52 title relaunch (52 being a special number in the DC omniverse, representing the amount of deliveries per year that they can try and sell just one more badly drawn spin-off).

Of the 52 new titles, 11 are Batman orientated (not including the TWO Justice League teams he’ll feature in). By Batman orientated, I mean that he is either the title character, or the title character is from the Batman storyline. This doesn’t include Teen Titans, or All-Star Western, both of which feature Gotham City and/or a Batman character.

Of those 11 comics, 4 are straight up “Batman” books, by which I mean the story heavily revolves around him. So lets check the stats:

21% of the new DC lineup is Batman based, not including team-ups.  36% of those are just Batman.

Now I understand that 52 is an important number for DC, and that it can’t be easy to release 52 unique titles. However, I do believe that over a fifth of the output being centered around ONE character, one who will be invading other books as well, is too much. DC need to loose their reliance on this character, and you people out there need to stop buying this character! DC has LOADS of characters! There isn’t a solo Zatanna or Black Canary book being released! There isn’t even a Captain Marvel/Shazam! book being released! Not even a Martian Manhunter solo book. THIS is pretty unforgiveable, and while the blame largely lays with the corporate thinktanks that run the mainstream comics industry, they base their finding mostly on were the money comes from.

This is why Batman is the only decent DC film of the current generation. It kinda needs to stop.

Either way, I’ll be reading the books with interest. If you’re interested, here are the ones I’m considering picking up:

Justice League

Green Arrow

Action Comics

Green Lantern

Justice League Dark

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2 Responses to Justice League No1 (The New 52)

  1. Daniel Wes says:

    firstly i hope you have ordered your copies of the below stated books as you will no doubt be aware that a few have already sold out and if so you will also be aware that justice league not only sold out of 1st printings in 24hours of its release but also the 2nd lot of printings also sold out. onto you batman rant about there being “11” so called batman books all based around the one characters and his friends, we have 3 batmen, 2 robins, and a shit load of followers which were all made very public in the pages of batman inc. which saw batman (bruce wayne) traveling the globe in search of new recruits to make the batman more a name instead of just the one person. onto your multiverse rant READ FLASHPOINT YOU IGNORANT CROMAGNON!! lol this relaunch will be multiversed briefly all due to barry allen (the flash) being a selfish piece of shit who couldnt live without his mummy and so goes back to say her thus rewriting history. we are lead to believe that all the crisis up until after the brightest day however there are obvious articles that make this impossible (small bits such as arkillo still having his tongue and hawk man still being alive lol) other than this we’ll see how it all plays out. i hope that this is seen as creative feedback and not a late night rant from an old friend which it partly looks like lol. can i also recommend to you a few other titles such as aquaman, superman and demon knights as the writers and/or the art team have previous put out seriously good work (i could be horribly wrong though so no promises)

  2. joeverlander says:

    I’m lucky, because there are a few big comic stores around Soho now, they’re getting massively popular, so they’re buying up bollock loads of all new releases. When the above are released, I’ll be able to walk into store and grab a copy.

    As for Batman, there are three straight up Batman books, then there’s Batman and Robin, Batwoman, Batgirl, Batwing (African Batman), and Nightwing. There is also Catwoman, Birds of Prey and Red Hood books, as well as all of the teams that Batman or Robin will be appearing in, the All Star Western book which will be set in Gotham, at least initially, and there is also Suicide Squad, which I forgot about in the article. That’s a whole lot of one character, when other characters are being largely ignored. I don’t think that they should give up on Batman or anything, but it’s fucking overkill.

    Aquaman was tempting because of the storyline, but I don’t want to go overkill on DC, and the ones I listed just looked better. I’m getting my Superman fix from Justice League/Action Comics, and I’m not massively bothered about the Jason Blood/Demon Knights thing.

    Flashpoint irritated me, so I stopped reading it.

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