What They Say
With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International. Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
DC’s new 52 is in full swing and one their lead week titles is the new Justice League International! The big thing about the new 52 is supposed to be accessibility. While I’m not a total newbie to the DC Universe and its myriad of characters, I am not super versed in all aspects. Why was I excited about the new JLI then? Well, I am familiar with a few of the main cast and love the greatly under appreciated Booster Gold. I see the new JLI to be a great way to get a fresh start with some characters I really enjoy without having to *know* who they are.
JLI starts as any real first issue should, getting the team together. There is some amusing pages in which Andre Briggs, head of U.N. Intelligence, tries to convince the U.N. leaders of the idea and who should be included in the team. The issue moves pretty quickly in introducing the team and getting them into action. Herein lies the problem with JLI in the scope of the new 52. The members of the U.N. know who these superheroes are, the public knows who they are, they know all about each other, but what about the target audience for this new #1? What about people who haven’t read comics before? What about people who fell out or didn’t keep up with EVERYTHING? Sure we are given every-one’s name and real identity but the banter between everyone suggests a history amongst them. Sadly, a history we aren’t supposed to know anything about.
Within a page of the team meeting each other in the Hall of Justice, Guy Gardner (every-one’s favorite hot-headed Green Lantern) quits the team because they are letting Booster be leader. Why? What beef does Guy have with Booster? As an introduction to these heroes and this team the issue works very well. It is a great first issue in that respect. But by adding personal drama so quickly readers can feel out of the loop. There is no extended back story on any of the characters and we are just thrust head first into this world. There isn’t even anything for continuous readers to grab on to. I read the end of the Booster Gold series, I liked everything about it except maybe the last page, and here there isn’t anything for me to grab onto in terms of Booster Gold continuity.
There is action in this issue too and that adds to the fun of the book. But the action lies in the last four pages. These pages are great as we get to see the characters interacting in their first joint fight but it all acts as a prelude. We don’t get to see anything cool! Just a single large image of the heroes in fight poses and some small ‘blast’ panels. Should other people pick up this book though? With caution. If you are completely unfamiliar with the characters it’ll be interesting to meet them and see their interactions. If you are somewhat familiar you’ll manage just fine and be excited to see the battle promised for issue #2. If you are really familiar you will probably love the crap out of this book!
The strongest part about JLI #1 is the character interactions. There are lots of funny parts and it is really cool and interesting to see the team dynamic play out. It just isn’t a super solid stand alone first issue. DC promised to stop writing for the trades with the new 52. JLI, at least this initial introduction, would be best read in a trade. But if you are an art junkie…if JLI is anything amazing it is the artwork! Very crisp, very clean, very beautiful. Just needed tighter scripting and to be more aimed at new readers.
Content Grade: C