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Well, it’s finally here. Flashpoint #5 has hit shelves, heralding the arrival of 52 new No. 1 issues from DC Comics over the next month. But 52 titles added to anyone’s pull list is an overwhelming amount, even when you consider that most replace series that existed before Flashpoint. What’s a fan to do?
Like many of you, I’ve loved the heroes and villains that have graced the pages of DC comics for years. My favorite character has always been Barbara Gordon, I’m a huge fan of the JSA, and I think Morrison and Quitely’s All-Star Superman is a work of art. Frankly, I couldn’t be more excited about the relaunch and its potential for telling new stories and bringing new readers into the fold. However, I’m also curious as to how many of the New 52 I’ll still be reading by the third or fourth issue.
Much like the Cylons of Battlestar Galactica, I have a plan. Throughout the next month, I’ll check out all 52 No. 1 issues, focusing on what works, what doesn’t, and what were the standout moments — in short, which books were exciting enough to lead me to pick up the next issue. After taking a close look at each of the titles, it’ll be decision time: Which books am I going to keep on my pull list for the next month?
In battle-royale, last-man-standing tradition, I plan to cut half the books from my pull list at the end of the month, and continue cutting by about half each month after that until I’m reading what I consider the best of the New 52.
“New 52 Pickup” kicks off today with the debut of Justice League. Considering its status as DC’s flagship title, and that it’s the only new series dropping this week, I’ll be devoting more space than usual to a single comic, so let’s get started!
Oh, and … warning: spoilers ahead!
Justice League #1
Written by Geoff Johns, with art by Jim Lee
As a quick overview, this is very much an origin story of the Justice League. Comic Book Resources’ own Greg McElhatton already wrote an excellent review, touching upon some of the aspects longtime fans might find lacking, and I agree with many of his points. But I think there’s still enough here to merit sticking with this one for at least another issue.
It did read like an issue of The Brave and the Bold featuring Batman and Green Lantern, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The dialogue was snappy, it painted a clear view of who these characters are, and offered a somewhat reasonable explanation as to why they’re together in the first place. From the standpoint of a longtime fan, it’s almost a recap. However, from a new reader’s view, the issue has a lot of potential to draw people in.
Batman, Green Lantern and Superman are, at the moment, the most recognizable superhero movie properties DC has. Putting them together in the first issue gives new readers easily identifiable entry-point characters. If you picked up a book where Aquaman and Cyborg were on the first page, it might be a little confusing. Batman, Green Lantern and Superman, however, help readers transition into the lesser-known characters like Cyborg, which I think is a good move.
Speaking of Cyborg, Vic Stone’s retold origin produces a modern context for the character and gives us something to look forward to in subsequent issues beyond a fistfight between Batman and Superman. The new introduction is intriguing – almost enough on its own for me to stick around to see what happens.
That said, it felt like very little happened. Readers might feel cheated in picking up a book that promised the Justice League but gave them mostly Batman and Green Lantern, with one page of Superman.
However, it doesn’t seem like Geoff Johns wants to tell a rushed story. He’s playing the long game here and it shows. Justice League is attempting to be a gateway title, one that takes what new readers might already know and hopefully gives them a desire to find out more. I’m hoping by Issue 3 we’re going to see a real threat that the League has to come together to prevent and everything will tie together in a confluence of awesome. I’m also a fan of Johns’ plots and dialogue and of Jim Lee’s gorgeous line work, but that really only goes so far if we don’t start to see some of the other heavy hitters in Issue 2.
But, man, do I want to read more.
I can’t help but be curious as to how the League will come together. How does Vic Stone become Cyborg? Why is Superman so angry? Is Green Lantern still allergic to yellow here?
Until the rest of the New 52 hits stores in September, it’s difficult to tell how Justice League stacks up. However, the book is the flagship of the New 52 for a reason, and I think that the loyal will be rewarded. At this point, my plan is to keep the book on the pull list … but anything can happen in a month.
Status: Safe … for now.