Justice League #1 by Ammar Al SubahiPublisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Overall: 3/5 Stars
Premise: Batman and Green Lantern team up for the first time to defeat a mysterious alien terrorist.
I'd like to say that I'm reviewing this because of all the fuss surrounding it and because this is the first issue of the flagship title of the new DC universe (DCnU). But the truth is that Alex threatened to kill me if I didn't do it. So without further ado:
The story begins with some straight up action: Batman is chasing a hooded figure on the roof tops of Gotham. Problem is, he's simultaneously being chased by Gotham P.D. helicopters. Apparently, super heroes aren't welcome in the DcnU. Despite the police being on his tail, Batman manages to catch up to the hooded figure who turns out to be an alien who is simply too much for Batman to handle on his own. Well, lucky him, because in comes Green Lantern swooping in from nowehere for the assist. Together they chase the alien down to the sewers where it self-destructs after failing to... activate, or maybe hide... some kind of mysterious box (it's pretty unclear what it is doing with it). The team retrieve the box, but can't identify what it is or what its purpose is. The only thing they know is that it's of alien origin. So, of course, they got to pay a visit to a certain special guy in Metropolis...
I don't know where to begin with the writing. Johns tries to quickly establish these characters and their differing world-views in a way that's almost as if he's going through a list, crossing off items. The result is awkward dialogue where one character states something and the other replies with the opposite. It comes off as really hamfisted and awkward, where the characters mostly tell us who they are instead of showing it to us: Batman is dark, brooding, and more careful and analytical. Green Lantern, on the other hand, basks in the light (like, literally), is cocky and is almost a borderline moron. Obviously they don't get along so well. But there are better, more subtle ways, to establish that than to force it all in one issue. Then there's the issue of the "sub-plot" introduced, regarding a certain future JLA'er, that really doesn't connect with the main plot at all. And more, actually. But I'm running out of space.
The artwork is great, though. Classic super hero stuff. Gritty enough to capture the spirit of Gotham City, but still "flashy" enough to allow the super heroics without it looking ridiculous. Jim Lee's style is so universal, he'd probably be a good fit for any comic.
This book is not going to be a progressive one, or anything like that. And from the looks of it, any character development is going to be superficial at best. But then again, who's expecting any of that from this book? The JLA is about super heroes joining forces to kick evil in the butt. And I guess this makes it a "pure" super hero book, in a sense.
For those of you familiar with their previous works: Johns and Lee (et al) give you exactly what you would expect from this creative team-up (for better or worse). But it's still a little rough and there are some issues that could be improved. But overall, this book should serve as a good introduction to the new DC universe. Check it out to see if any of the characters specifically interest you and then go check out their own main titles.