DC’s New 52 has been largely hit (Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Batman, Action Comics)and miss (Hawk and Dove—which is coming to a merciful end with #8 thank God,Red Hood and the Outlaws—and not because of Starfire but because it’s just a badly written series about a couple of the worst sidekicks in comics history whom I have no interest in reading about,Catwoman—more on what a rancid piece of shit that book is in a later post) but so far the newJustice Leaguehas been pretty good. As the flagship title it had a lot to live up to and the first arc finally ended last week with #6. So since it was such a long arc even without the delays that a couple of the issues went through I thought I’d do everyone a favor by summing up what happened in those 6 issues which take place 5 years ago in the past and set the foundation for what the new League is to be.
Issue 1 started off with a semi-return to the status quo: Batman picking on a Green Lantern.
Feels almost like home already. Glad to see some things aren’t changing.
Hal Jordan is hanging around in Gotham for some strange reason and he and Bats meet for the very first time. Hal is being a bit of a dick as usual and Batman is trying to figure out what’s going on behind a recent string of disappearances and weird phenomena. Turns out GL is trying to look into it as well and along the way showcases that even in this new universe Hal Jordan is still an arse.
Batman at one point gets annoyed enough to snatch Hal’s ring right off his finger. No that hasn’t changed either.
Anyway they figure out that all these strange events are centered around these strange boxes when they finally find one. It’s obviously a Mother Box, a fact that we the audience know but of course the heroes don’t know it yet. Nothing much else happens except Bruce and Hal continue to snap and snarl at one another while reluctantly teaming up, we get a glimpse of Victor Stone on a football field…
…and then towards the end of the issue we get Superman doing something to Hal that I’m sure most of us wanted to do to him ever since the first page.
We then end that issue with a promise that issue 2 will be Batman vs. Superman. Something which has never been done before. Ever. Never in comics or cartoons or animated movies. And Batman has never won the fights or anything.
The promised fight in issue 2 is less Bats vs. Supes and more Bats trying to talk Supes down while Hal showcases that not only is he a dick, he’s a total moron.
Yeah….Hal, the guy just threw you through a building and you just saw him tossing around cars like they were nothing. You really think chains (how original) will hold the guy?
Luckily Hal just happens to be good friends with a police scientist named Barry Allen, has him on speed dial, and the Flash arrives to save the day.
Well actually Superman finally stops trying to fight everyone after that. I suspect it’s largely due to the fact that Flash is so pathetic that Clark doesn’t know whether to laugh or feel sorry for the guy.
It’s just in time too because more demons from Apokolips arrive to attack the heroes. Meanwhile Victor Stone gets into a fight with his dad about football and that’s really where things end.
And issue 3 starts off with Wonder Woman trying ice cream for the first time. No I don’t have those scans…those are all over the place. Just Google it.
Her little foray into the world of Ben & Jerry is interrupted though by one of the demon things being vaulted over a building. So she puts the ice cream down and joins the fight, instantly wowing the guys.
By this time those demon things are all over the place, including the lab where Victor’s father works. Things go wrong and Victor is caught in a massive explosion. He is mortally wounded and his father gets some of his colleagues to help drag the kid to surgery where he does something drastic to save his son’s life.
Ending there and going into issue 4 we meet Aquaman, whom we have established is seen as something of a joke. Yes that was funny inAquaman 1…I laughed my ass off at the scene where all the people in a restaurant gasped in horror as Arthur ordered fish and chips…but it’s starting to get old.
Hopefully they’ll start to lay off some, especially after the following pages. Okay Johns we get it…everyone thinks Aquaman is lame but he’s really a badass and you’re out to prove it. We get it, we really do. Arthur is the man. Stop with the jokes.
Anway Hal shows his ass and we get Arthur performing major overkill in order to give Hal the metahuman equivelant of the finger.
Hal shuts up after that, and then goes on to get laughed at by Batman when he accidentally touches Wonder Woman’s lasso, leading him to confess that he does what he does to impress people.
They don’t show Bats laughing. Frankly I’m kinda glad they didn’t. The guy is scary enough when he’s grim.
They keep on fighting and then the Big Bad shows up in the form of Darkseid, who doesn’t say anything except “I am Darkseid”. That’s basically his only line for the rest of his appearance in this arc.
Meanwhile Victor wakes up from surgery horrified at what his dad did to save his life and he discovers he has some sort of connection to those funky boxes the demon things have been using to come to Earth. Through that connection he manages to get himself dumped into the field of battle where the other heroes are. And hence the whole team is finally united.
Issue 5 begins, once again, with Hal being a dumbass. He manages to get his arm broken when he tries to take Darkseid on his own. Meanwhile Superman gets kidnapped and taken away, the whole team is scattered, and Batman has had enough.
I guess he is fed up since he decided to take off his mask in the middle of a city that is currently under seige, which is no doubt still crawling with people who would recognize him…and unlike Hal, wouldn’t be stupid or thick enough not to know who Bruce Wayne is.
Anyway Bruce gives Hal a little pep talk and then let’s himself get carried away by one of the demons who takes him over to the doorway leading to Apokolips, where in issue 6 he discovers Superman being tortured. Meanwhile Hal finally manages to get his head out of his butt, rallies the other members, and they all take on Darkseid together. Wonder Woman thrusts a sword through one of his eyes, Aquaman pierces the other with his trident, and then Cyborg feels the Mother Boxes doing some crazy stuff and figures out that by hacking into them he could cut the connection to Apokolips.
Which he does after getting a pep talk from Batman, who has just given one to Superman to get him out of his funk and driving Darkseid back through one of the portals.
So the day is saved and the team is sort of together. They get commended by the President and they are almost immediately called to another emergency.
Well I know now who will no longer be allowed to talk (and it isn’t Hal unfortunately). Seriously you can practically hear the other six mentally face-palming.
And that’s the end of the first arc. Also there’s some little background story on Pandora, that mysterious purple lady, but I haven’t paid much attention since she’s just a contingency plan in case this little experiment of DC’s fails and thus if it does they have an out and can create some sort of Crisis-like story to reset whatever doesn’t work back to the way it was pre-Flashpoint.
All in all it wasn’t bad. Not great but not bad. It feels a bit more realistic but that’s about it. Also there’s no Martian Manhunter. I mean nothing against Cyborg, but there’s no reason for him to be there. Batman has always been the tech guy and with Cyborg there…well you saw in this first arc. He did nothing but give motivational speeches. Is this going to be Bats’s role in the new Justice League? Team cheerleader? I am going to be very depressed if it is.
It just doesn’t feel the same without J’onn either.
This dragged on way too long as well but that’s about standard for comicbook arcs nowadays. I was starting to get bored and impatient and now that the arc is over I’m more relieved that we got through this than excited to see what’s next.
Jim Lee’s art can be a bit much at times. It feels way too 90s. I don’t want to read a comic that appears to have been drawn in 1992. This is 2012 damn it. Quit it with all the unnecessary lines. To give him credit though at least he kept the sexualization of Diana to a minimum. And there are no pouches.
Just…come on guys. This is DC’s flagship title. You really need to pick up the pace. Johns, this isn’t a Green Lantern book…quit focusing on Hal so damn much. And please don’t turn Cyborg into a Gary Stu like it appears you were doing with this first arc. Cyborg is a good character but damn he was really wearing me down with this appearance.
Overall, out of 5 I would give this book a 3 so far. Make Hal Jordan shut up and I’ll move it up to 3 and a half.