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View Full Version : Justice League #1...and onward



Toyboy
09-04-2011, 12:47 PM
For anyone who doesn't pay attention to such things, comic books - specifically monthly serialized stories in the standard funny book format of 22-32 pages - are in the shitter and have been for a few years. The top selling monthly comics are pushing numbers that would have meant cancelation in the 70's and 80's and new readers are a scarce commodity. As movies, games and TV shows based on Marvel and DC properties have taken off in the last decade, the publishing arms of those companies have been struggling and as such have had to rely more and more on news-grabbing gimmicks to stay afloat. The latest "event" to be trotted out in an effort to gain media attention and boost comic sales is DC's New 52 initiative which is essentially a reset button being hit on every DC title with each major series starting with #1 as a way of letting potential new readers jump on to books which have had their decades of continuity more or less wiped clean. The first of these new relaunches, Justice League, came out last week.

And it's not a very good comic book.


<<<<<<SPOILERS>>>>>>




So, the idea here is to reintroduce characters that most of the general public is well familiar with. We've got a core team on the cover consisting of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Cyborg (for the kids). This first issue, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee, presents the reader with the initial meeting of Hal Jordan (Earth's Green Lantern) and Batman which is shown in flashback (in the previews of pages 1-5 of this issue there was a clunky bit of narration stating "There was a time when the world didn't know what a super-hero was. That time is NOW." which was immediately followed by the caption "FIVE YEARS AGO". Someone caught that before publication and removed the "That time is NOW." bit).

A fleet of Gotham City PD choppers is flying above burning buildings as Batman chases some sort of homeless-looking robot monster dude. Although the cops are outfitted with high-tech sniper rifles and machine guns Batman is somehow able to dodge the hundreds of bullets being shot at his back. Apparently the GCPD is more concerned with shooting this vigilante than saving the citizens in those burning structures and don't really care who they take out with any stray bullets. Luckily for Batman, Green Lantern shows up in time to stave off the robot monster and cops with his magic ring. This ring can do anything, we're told, including put out the fires throughout the city.

Instead of rescuing folks from the destroyed buildings Bats and GL run down into the sewer where they encounter a "mother box" - a cosmic device created by Jack Kirby back in the 70's - which the two heroes speculate may have something to do with "...that guy in Metropolis". Of course they're referring to Superman who is revealed in the final panel in what is supposed to be a major "holy shit" moment, but it's fucking Superman. We know this character inside and out by now and even though Clark Kent/Superman has been rumored to be the character receiving the most intensive overhaul in this reboot it's very hard to get excited by his appearance. There's very little build up other than some minor bits of dialogue between the Batman and GL about this "dangerous alien" so seeing him is underwhelming. We know this guy already so hopefully in the next issue and in his own titles we'll discover more about this new version of this timeworn hero but to see that final splash page image is like "Yep. There's the guy that's on the cover."

In between these meetings we're also introduced to Vic Stone, a high school football player with daddy issues who will eventually become Cyborg. There's little that's intriguing about his appearance other than the set-up that his absent father is studying these new "super-heroes" that are popping up around the country. These pages almost seem as if they've been drawn by another artist, or more likely were quickly laid out by Lee and sloppily embellished by his longtime inker Scott Williams.

I've read a few comics written by Geoff Johns over the years and his reputation seems to be that he's a continuity nerd; he's adept at pulling obscure moments and characters from the DCU's history and incorporating them into his Hollywood blockbuster influenced stories. Because of this it becomes obvious that he's not as keen on crafting new worlds as he is at rearranging someone else's toy box, so his attempts here at setting up a fresh entry point for readers both new and old are mostly unsuccessful. There's little sense of wonder in seeing these larger than life characters because for the most part only their perspective is given. Books like Marvels and Kingdom Come did a great job of giving the reader a look at what a world with these god-like heroes would be like as we see it through the eyes of normal people, but Justice League #1 relies too much on the audience's familiarity with this stuff. Obviously there are few people who aren't already aware of Batman and the rest of the league so there's much that is taken for granted here and while future issues may get into the how's and why's of this universe my guess is that the creative team is going to forego much explanation and within a dozen issues or so get right back into run-of-the-mill capes and tights adventures. That's fine, but right now it just feels like this reboot is more about marketing and rebranding than it is about creating interesting stories.

Obviously this is only one issue of one book and there are 51 others hitting the racks over the next 4 weeks so hopefully other writers will be able to give us something unique and compelling, but for the flagship book in a major company overhaul Justice League #1 is, to me, a missed opportunity.

Ian Jane
09-04-2011, 12:59 PM
That's fine, but right now it just feels like this reboot is more about marketing and rebranding than it is about creating interesting stories.

That's exactly what I was worried about when I heard about all of this. I haven't bought comics on a monthly basis in a few years and am definitely out of the loop compared to how nutty I used to be but all the PR hype surrounding this pointed to a cash in more so than, as you say, creating interesting stories. Publishers are understandably trying to draw in new readers, they need to in order to stay afloat but the reason I stopped caring about superhero comics, for the most part, was that the writers were consistantly having trouble doing anything interesting and seemed to be running out of cool ideas. Exceptions are there, as you say, Kingdom Come was pretty damn awesome, but they are exceptions and just that it seems.

Roderick
09-04-2011, 01:08 PM
FYI there are minor differences in the print and digital versions. Nothing major is different, but if you want to geek out on coloring changes, minor dialogue tweaks and word balloon optimizations check it out. Also, the first digital release was revised and replaced after more tweaks were done so there are actually three versions out there.

Toyboy
09-04-2011, 01:13 PM
DC claims that this reboot has been in the works for almost a year (although some creators claim they've only known about it since March) but this issue just felt rushed and uninspired. Personally, I still love the comics medium and maybe all this means is that Marvel and DC should move further away from super-heroes and branch out into other genres. There are Manga that sell in the millions in Japan that have nothing to do with super-heroes so perhaps DC should take a cue from that and place more emphasis on their Vertigo books and creator-owned titles. Spend less time forcing the same played out stories and characters on us. Try to promote comics in general rather than just use them as a byproduct and advertising for whatever summer blockbusters feature a DC hero.

Roderick
09-04-2011, 01:19 PM
Yup. Vertigo books are the only current titles I read on regular basis from either DC or Marvel.

Ian Jane
09-06-2011, 05:41 PM
Salon.com posted a good article on the whole new 52 relaunch here (http://www.salon.com/entertainment/feature/2011/09/02/dc_reboots/).

Toyboy
09-06-2011, 06:34 PM
Man...sorry. I cannot read any comic related article with a headline that uses "POW! BOOM!"

From Detective #1...

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a376/matthewallison/prv9699_pg3.jpg

Ian Jane
09-07-2011, 11:08 AM
Superman in jeans and work boots? Ug.

http://www.geekchicdaily.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/www-large/action-comics1-new-small.jpg

It's like they made him John Cena or something.

Toyboy
09-07-2011, 01:04 PM
Or Peter North.

Ian Jane
09-13-2011, 04:50 PM
So lame or not, Justice League #1 has been offiically declared the best selling single issue of a comic book for all of 2011 so far.

Toyboy
09-15-2011, 05:55 PM
Ya know, I don't want to trash any comic book retailers right now when the industry is struggling, but when I see stores pulling the same shady bullshit that went on in the 90's - the shit that helped crush the direct market - I want to see some of these fuckers take a dive.

Today I went to my (somewhat) regular shop to get some comics and although I've pre-ordered what I've wanted of the new 52 from DCBS I figured I'd throw some cash their way and grab a few of the new DC books that have caught my eye since that order went though. One of the comics that I saw a preview of last week I thought I'd pick up was Batman & Robin #1. However, when I took a look at the DC shelves I saw that the shop had bagged their remaining copies of B&R and put a $9.99 price tag on them. The second I saw that I turned around and left the shop without a word.

Fuck them.

Only in the so-called collectibles market will you see devious shit like this. This is a comic that came out a week ago with a cover price of $2.99. Because these new #1's are selling out and going into second printings these assholes felt they could jack up the price on the rest of their stock - "Supply and demand. If you don't wanna pay that someone else will" they'll proclaim, and they'll be right. Some dumbshit loser who couldn't get the book at some other shop is gonna drive to this place in a panic and shell out the 10 bucks and the shitbags that run the store will feel justified in their lowly behavior. These are the shenanigans that made me stop buying mainstream books in the 90's and it made me want to drive my car through their window today when I saw that they were pulling the same fuckery.

This whole relaunch is predicated on the idea of giving new readers a jumping on point while simultaneously boosting sales and keeping this sinking ship afloat for a few more years. Retailers should be doing everything they can to welcome and embrace any newcomers they get into their stores who want to actually buy and read a comic book of all things, but what do they do? They try to pick their fucking wallets when they aren't looking. If I was a first time reader, or a lapsed reader and I walked into this place for the first time to see this underhanded crap I'd never come back. Fuck, I won't be going back. I wanted to do a local store a solid and give them some of my money at what should be a high point for them, but to find out they don't give a shit?

Nope. Sorry, fuckers. I'll get that shit elsewhere.

Imagine going to a theater to see a movie that's been out for a week and after you ask for two tickets they tell you it'll be $76. You check their sign, see that the stated ticket price is $12 and when you ask what's up you're told that the movie's just been so popular, and that screenings are selling out so they figured they could charge more. You don't like it, wait for the DVD.

Fucking pricks.

Ian Jane
09-15-2011, 07:21 PM
Well said. I've seen shit like that before and it's annoying. As a responsible retailer putting your customers first you should not be marking up back issues... until they're back issue. Then it's fair. But if it's still the current issue and you're marking it up? Then you're a dick.

Newt Cox
09-24-2011, 05:32 AM
The best comic shop I have ever been too had a great policy about comics. All comics stayed cover price for 2 months. The shop was also super kid and family friendly. Sadly back in 2004 the owner got divorced and sold the place to 4 customers. And they completely changed the store. They got rid of the quarter,50 cent and dollar bins. And now it has Jenna Jameson and other pin up posters on the walls. Last I heard it might be closing soon.

Ian Jane
09-24-2011, 09:38 AM
There were a lot of times as a kid when I'd go in every week for new issues and come out having spent more in the $0.25 and $0.50 bins than on the new issues. I still do that when I go to cons, I just dig through the cheapie bins. Since I don't care so much about the latest superhero stuff I tend to find more quirky/oddball titles that way anyway and I just seem to get a sick kick out of sifting through all the crap to find that one book I want for $0.25 for some reason.

Newt Cox
09-25-2011, 04:08 AM
There were a lot of times as a kid when I'd go in every week for new issues and come out having spent more in the $0.25 and $0.50 bins than on the new issues. I still do that when I go to cons, I just dig through the cheapie bins. Since I don't care so much about the latest superhero stuff I tend to find more quirky/oddball titles that way anyway and I just seem to get a sick kick out of sifting through all the crap to find that one book I want for $0.25 for some reason.

I am the same way. With current stuff,i know most of it will be traded. So I either buy the trades or check them out from my local library. But any comic shop I go into I hit the cheap bins. The last 2 years at Coast Con there was a dealer with $1 bins. Or 40 comics for $20. Well I talked to him and told him I was gonna be spending a nice amount of money. So he told me if I was spending at least $60 i could get the comics for 10 cents each. The first year I spent 100 bucks on 10 cent comics. And this year I spent 80 bucks. Both years I had bought so many he gave me two empty longboxes to help me transport them back home. When digging thru the cheap bins I am always looking out for what i call "Dead universe" books. Comics from companies that had a universe and the company is gone now. I also look for oddball stuff and comics based on TV shows or movies. This past Coast Con I got about 20 various Married with Children comics.

Ian Jane
09-25-2011, 09:56 AM
I'm a sucker for the TV and movie adaptations too, but mostly of the pre-2000 era. At one point I was trying to put together a run ot NOW Terminator comics. I got pretty close before I realized that they weren't actually very good.

Newt Cox
09-26-2011, 04:55 AM
I'm a sucker for the TV and movie adaptations too, but mostly of the pre-2000 era. At one point I was trying to put together a run ot NOW Terminator comics. I got pretty close before I realized that they weren't actually very good.

Yeah,I put together a complete run of it years ago. And it was really bad.

Ian Jane
09-26-2011, 09:01 AM
Most of the NOW stuff was. I was collecting Green Hornet for a while too, but mainly because they had cool guys doing the cover art.

Newt Cox
09-27-2011, 01:17 AM
Most of the NOW stuff was. I was collecting Green Hornet for a while too, but mainly because they had cool guys doing the cover art.

I really enjoyed the NOW Green Hornet stuff. Been slowly collecting all the issues and mini series. Also the various Ralph Snart series were fun. The Married with Children series,some are good some are ok and some are total crap.

Toyboy
10-14-2011, 02:17 PM
My box of new DC #1's finally arrived after a detour to Texas.

Quick rundown of the good and the bad -

Aquaman - Probably the best thing I've read by Geoff Johns, but that ain't sayin' shit. The real draw here (get it?) is Ivan Reis. His work on this book is the best cartooning I've seen in a DC book in a while. The dude is a great superhero artist and his rendering here is like a tighter Neal Adams.

Swamp Thing - This is the best written book, at least dialogue-wise, that I read in this batch. Scott Snyder is someone that gets a lot of praise and I can see why, although his Batman #1 wasn't all that interesting to me but that could just be that I stopped caring about Batman a while back. The art is very nice to look at.

Hawk & Dove - It is very easy to trash Rob Liefeld, but the dude has somehow gotten worse with age. This book is dreadful.

Demon Knights - I have no idea what I just read.

The Flash - Next to Aquaman this has the most appealing art so far (I have yet to read Batwoman so that may change) in that it isn't just telling the story panel to panel like movie storyboards - the pages are uniquely laid out and suit that title character's powers with a lot of motion and curved angles drawing your eye across the pages. Really looking forward to the rest of this series.

Wonder Woman - I need to read this again because I can't really remember what happens. Wonder Woman has a girl in her bed and there are centaurs, and you know how I feel about centaurs.

Animal Man - Jeff Lemiere gets much praise and this is the first time I've read his work. Some neat ideas I'm looking forward to seeing expanded, but the family/home scenes in the beginning are painfully generic. There's more characterization in cereal commercials.

I still have 4 or 5 more to read from the titles I chose.

Ian Jane
10-14-2011, 02:31 PM
Wonder Woman - I need to read this again because I can't really remember what happens. Wonder Woman has a girl in her bed and there are centaurs, and you know how I feel about centaurs.

I generally find that hot Amazonian lesbians cancel out centaurs and then some.

I looked at that Swamp Thing the other day but didn't buy it - but I will when it hits trade.

Ian Jane
01-04-2012, 12:55 PM
So even if the new 52 didn't set Toy Boys nuts ablaze with superhero love (ha!) DC beat Marvel this year by a decent margin.

For some reason The Hollywood Reporter has an article (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/dc-comics-marvel-sales-figures-277720?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thr%2Fnews+%28The+Hollywood+R eporter+-+Top+Stories%29) on it.

Toyboy
01-11-2012, 11:58 AM
My prediction is that by the end of 2012 DC will announce the first line wide event since the relaunch and by the end of 2013 all the numbers will be back to where they were 2 years ago.

I have to wonder why I even care about all this stuff. Even the "good" mainstream comics like Spaceman and Waid's Daredevil aren't moving me. I might have reached my breaking point. Last great comics I read wer RANX book 1 and Ben Katchor's The Cardboard Valise.

The Hungarian Inframan
01-11-2012, 02:08 PM
best of the 52s: Batman and Animal Man. Lemire is turning this series into a very nice horror-action serial, ans Snyder on Batman is just the perfect combination of creator and material.

Jeremy Wallace
02-28-2012, 04:46 PM
I actually enjoyed Justice League 1 from the New 52. I must be stupid.

Jeremy Wallace
03-11-2012, 12:25 PM
Just read the first 6 of Aquaman and Justice League. Thoroughly enjoyed both. Swamp Thing and Animal Man are next.

Ian Jane
03-11-2012, 02:33 PM
Curious to see what you think of Swamp Thing. It's really the only one from the relaunch that I'm interested in. Will probably pick it up once it's collected.

Jeremy Wallace
03-11-2012, 07:01 PM
Curious to see what you think of Swamp Thing. It's really the only one from the relaunch that I'm interested in. Will probably pick it up once it's collected.

I picked up 3-7 and had comic book guy order 1-2 for me. I'll let you know what I think.

I've heard many good things about Animal Man as well.

Jeremy Wallace
03-13-2012, 06:10 PM
Just finished 1 and 2 from BATMAN (new 52). I have to say that I am really enjoying this relaunch. Am I the only one?

Jeremy Wallace
03-14-2012, 05:56 PM
Picked up #1 of Death Stroke. Meh... Weakest of the New 52 so far. Too bad. I was really looking forward to some violence and gore.

Travis Sheldon
03-20-2012, 05:06 AM
Back in 1993 I sold my shop. We had new comics, back issues, sports and pop culture memorabilia, lps, toys, etc...
If it was crap collectibles, we stocked it. (As long as it was crap we liked!)
The companies were at, what I thought was, the height of gimmickry with die-cut, super fold-out, holographic covers, etc...
Image and Valiant were the Kings of the day.
And I hated them both.
I desperately wanted the Valiant stuff to go over, but I couldn't get behind them.
I just saw their stuff as product.
Of course in this day and age, that's what everyone regards "collectibles" as.
A few years ago I started getting into The Walking Dead series and really enjoyed it.
Now I just watch the show and save myself $3 a month.
There's no way I can get behind the 52 stuff. Origins have been retconned to the point where I no longer care.
The media companies want to blame downloaders for their sales tanking, but it's not that, it's lack of quality.
Sorry DC and Marvel, or Time Warner and Disney, but there's nothing you can do to make me want to read your crap again.
I'm happy digging through the bargain boxes to read the real pulpy dreck instead of your high gloss turds.
There's a reason stuff like the Dark Horse reprints sell so well.
I'm sure there was a purpose to this long typed screed when I started. But I no longer care...

Travis Sheldon
03-20-2012, 05:07 AM
Oh and, " You kids get off my lawn"

Ian Jane
03-20-2012, 10:19 AM
Ha! Well said. I worked at a comic shop in the mid-nineties part time (mostly for fun and to help out my friends who ran it) and the gimmicks and alternate foil jizz enhanced limited edition ultra rare varient schtick got old fast. That, coupled with the grading systems that are now in place, sucked a lot of the fun out of the comic book industry.

Todd Jordan
03-20-2012, 12:12 PM
And it's not just comics. The trading card industry (for non-sports anyway) has gone the same route. I went from a die-hard collector to selling my collection and not longer caring about cards. And this is coming from someone who put together and published some guides. Greed, speculation, and dick heads trying to make a quick buck ruins the fun. ONce the smoke clears you have companies you liked that went under and the market is flooded with all kinds of shit. Limited edition this and that, and basically creating a collectible. Seel at a high price and when it doesnt sell, dump it and make it worthless. That's the game.

Travis Sheldon
03-20-2012, 07:26 PM
I promote a collectibles show every month, and have since October 2008, and get to see the monthly regurgitations.
I was having a problem getting comic dealers to come out, but found out it was because most had gone out of business or changed to make gaming their number one focus.
I still collect a limited amount, but I ran out of room years ago and don't want to wind up on an episode of Deceased Hoarders.

Ian Jane
03-21-2012, 09:40 AM
I had roughly 30-40 long boxes of stuff at one point and wound up selling off most of my collection when I moved to the states in 2001. By that point I had burnt out on the collector mentality but there are times where I reget selling off some of my stuff, like the silver age Marvels and a lot of the indy and underground stuff I had that I'll probably never get again. That said, I'd need somewhere to put all that stuff. These days I'm far more interested in gettign a good collected version of something than dealing with single issues and the back issue market.

Jeremy Wallace
03-21-2012, 04:15 PM
All of that is very true but I am finding that the NEW 52 is a great launching point for the new reader (like my fuck trophies). Plus, I am even enjoying some of them.

Ian Jane
03-21-2012, 04:25 PM
Getting into them with your kids is awesome. Don't let us bitter old comic nerds piss in your Batman flavored Cheerios, Buzzedherface.

Jeremy Wallace
03-21-2012, 04:31 PM
I have to admit that I am finding Marvel's new Hulk amazing! As well as a lot of the DC 52. But this is coming from a guy who was never hardcore into comics as a youngster. I read GROO, Conan and Star Wars. lol

Ian Jane
03-21-2012, 05:19 PM
No shame in those choices. I still have the early Pacific Comics issues and his 1st appearance!

Roderick
06-06-2012, 03:11 PM
My prediction is that by the end of 2012 DC will announce the first line wide event since the relaunch and by the end of 2013 all the numbers will be back to where they were 2 years ago.


It apparently only took until mid 2012 for the numbers to drop back to 2 years ago (http://www.comicsalliance.com/2012/06/05/dc-new-52-sales-bump-data-charts/) levels. You were way off, dummy.