Comic Book Review: Justice League #1
Team books can always be hit or miss depending on the creative team. Luckily for this iteration of the Justice League, there is some hope for who has taken over. Books like Justice League are usually worth following from the very start of a new run when everything for the most part starts off simple, before they get too out there or begin to lose ideas for what to do next.
Unfortunately, I felt myself a bit let down by the approach to this new story. The fun in books like this is when we have something straightforward and not too grand in scheme. I was already wary from the hype that this would be a cosmos-shaking mystery, but just from those first pages I was quickly feeling the pain of a plot that was pushing too hard. This is not to say that the story is bad, but it also does not have wide appeal for readers who aren’t looking to bend over backwards to piece together what is going on. Knowing who the villain was, the motivation for this threat was easily understood, yet it was the plan by said villain where the problem has arisen. I mean we started in one point in time, then another, then in the present, and then all over the place at once. It didn’t help either that each page we are left with so many word bubbles and conversations to follow which are flowing from one into the next. The X-Men tend to handle telepathic communication a bit more fluently.
This could be one of those things where someone argues, what’s wrong with a story that makes you think? And my answer to that is how there must be a limit to what you expect from readers. I felt like I had to reread conversations twice just to make sure I knew what this Totality was, what dangers it posed, and what is at stake if the Justice League were to fail.
What also concerned me was how big this cast of characters has gotten. Most times I won’t have a problem with a big team, but when you have a big team and an intricate plot? You are pretty much just asking for readers to get lost in too much noise. Where I could give credit to this first issue is that we are seeing a version of the Justice League that isn’t too stiff or consistent with most of their interactions. It was a big plus to see a hero like Martian Manhunter leading the team and doing it so well. He added an exciting twist to the way that they operate, even if I still feel like he could have been better utilized under different circumstances. Still leading, but with a different plot that is not this.
At the very least, the artwork was satisfying. Seeing that this was Jim Cheung on pencils left some expectation when it came to the quality of work, which did not disappoint. The detail that went into the way he captured these heroes, the new enemies, familiar enemies, and beyond was distinguishing. Of course some of the problems did lie with the artwork as well since quality aside, it was still difficult to take in so much going on at once. There was nothing to truly focus on which made the plot any easier to understand. The inking from Morales was a good touch for adding depth to various objects, and Tomeu Morey is always an excellent choice for color artist as someone who has a strong pallet of colors that breathes life into the pages.
Justice League #1 I wish I could say I looked forward to more of. This was the first time where I felt turned off by the first issue because it wanted to be much more than it needed to be. I could probably see myself picking this up again with the next story arc, but this was all too much.