Friday, September 2, 2011

The Bill September 1, 2011

After months of bitching in anticipation, DC's big gamble finally became a real book in my hands. How's it stack up? How am I going to differentiate myself from 95% of the rest of the blogosphere? Join me after the graphic and let's find out.

The Big Story:
Justice League # 1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee

"Are these books always four dollars," the FutureWife asked as I forced her to read the issue in question. After I nodded in the affirmative, she retorted, "seems pretty light for four bucks..."

To me, that about sums up what I expect a new fan to think about this book. It looks nice and it reads okay, but the price is a bit high and the page count seemingly lacking (In reality it's fine, I'm just pointing out what a new reader would thing). That's not a good combination when you're trying to win over new fans.

The substance of the book is less 'Justice League' as it is 'Brave and the Bold'. Instead of trotting out new or lapsed storytelling techniques for this introductory issue of 'The New 52', the powers that be opted instead to rely on that tired old decompressed method that's been the rage for the past few years. So instead of seeing the team come together in this issue, we saw Green Lantern and Batman meeting for the first time and chasing down a lead. It wasn't a bad story, it just wasn't a special one.

Justice League #1 didn't feel like something that needed the entire universe to be reset for and that's a major problem. Where it should have been fresh and new, it instead felt like well-worn territory with a fancy new coat of paint. Sure, the attitudes of the heroes changed a bit - Hal, for better or worse, sounds a lot more like Ryan Reynolds now, for instance - but for the most part it felt like something that could have been told in the pre-Flashpoint Universe with some minor tweaks.

For all my bitching, I really wanted to be blown away by this book. I wanted to totally eat crow while writing this review, feeling embarrassed by over-reaction to the snippets of details I had. Alas, that's not the case. But instead of feeling vindicated, I feel sad for DC's big shakeup and what I see as a big missed opportunity.

That said, I did witness two non-fans coming into my comic store to buy all the new number ones. So regardless of what I - or the rest of the blogosphere, for that matter - thinks, the big relaunch achieved it's goal of getting new faces in the stores. I just hope they're forgiving enough to stick around for next month...


  1. Every time you refer to FutureWife, I can't help but picture some gorgeous Fembot having come back in time to save the Earth, and somehow ending up having to marry you to preserve the timeline.

    Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

  2. Couldn't have said it better myself man. The issue was fine, but it didn't feel new, it didn't have a urgent feel or the feeling that everything was different. Batman immediately seems like the same old Batman and if that's what we were going to get it probably shouldn't have started with him. This just seemed like an average issue, no bigger than last month's Red Robin or Wonder Woman.

  3. Snell, clearly you're stalking me because that describes my FutureWife to a T. I knew she was the one for me when she reached her hand out and said "Come with me if you want to live."

    Jason, coming from a major DC fan like yourself that means a lot. Sometimes I worry that my ranting comes from a place of Marvel Zombidom and I'm missing the point of the DCnU, happy to hear that I'm not totally offbase.

  4. Well thanks Matt, and nah I think you're directly on base. I know a lot of people have been saying this issue should've gave us more and seemed like more of a gamechanger, but it really just gave us a cocky GL, the same Batman, a Superman that you know will join them after a 2-5 page conversation and a Cyborg that now we're just waiting to see how he becomes Cyborg, which isn't that interesting when you know the end result.

  5. As a (fairly) new reader of comics, I feel like I should throw in an alternate perspective. I've been reading comics for only a few months, and those were all trade paperbacks (right term?); this was my first venture into individual issues. Like FutureWife, the cost per page seems a bit high (and I'm NOT a fan of the advertisements) but I didn't experience the let-down that everyone else has. There is no "same old, same old" for the new reader; I experienced a sense of wonder, laughed out loud a few times and LOVED the last panel. I'm excited for the next issue, although (again) this whole waiting thing is not my idea of a good time. If I knew for sure I could get these gathered together in a book at a later date, I would wait for that. But the point is that part of what DC did was pull back a bit to ease new faces into the world. And I think they did a pretty good job of it :)

  6. I'm always happy to be proven wrong, Stephanie. Thanks for the insight from a new reader! I forget sometimes that those things that are 'same old same old' for me and those of my ilk might be something fresh, new, and exciting for those of us comic collectors that aren't so jaded.

    I'm really glad that you liked the issue and that you're leaping into the monthly grind. While it's a bit pricey at times, that weekly trip to the store is the thing I love most about collecting comics. Try not to let the wait get you down, just keep telling yourself that if you were to wait for the trade, you'd have to wait six to ten months between volumes. Compared to that, waiting a month is a breeze!

    Welcome to the hobby, Stephanie, I hope you survive the experience.

  7. Great X-Men reference there Matt on Steph's comment. Really brought me back to X-men 143? Welcome to the X-Men Kitty Pryde.... ok now I'm just... gonna stop now.

    It's nice that while the new readers are blown away with the new DCU I find it hard to digest why DC couldn't have just thrown in something for us older fans as well with the new Justice league, and why every team up book these days has to have a coming together story lasting multiple issues us older fans are growing tired of it. WE are the one's buying the books month after month. So to show us a cockier Hal Jordan and a still "I'm smarter and stealthier than you are" Batman, really the only surprise was the last panel with a crazed Superman picking a fight with Batman. If that was introduced earlier in the story I think old and new fans alike would have been astonished or appalled (pick your poison) by the new characterizations.

    As the weeks went on and I picked up each no. 1 mainly I found myself faced with the familar formulas same characters just different more contemporary, movie friendly costumes. Only three books I've read so far took me by surprise Action Comics, Detective Comics, Batgirl, oh and Catwoman I guess just because of the ending. (no spoilers from me) These three or four showed off the most promise.

    Naked Joker is creepy, and the mystery is confusing but still kept my interest to purchase the next installment, especially the graphic final panel, and a facist Superman delivering ultimatums to businessmen to follow the law or he will send you to the moon literally is only recognizable to my grandfather and those familiar with the golden age so it is a more realistic approach to a super being in our mortal world. Babs out of the chair and fighting crime scared witless is just great writing. Catwoman well she seems to be a ultra nympho.

    At least it's better than the current dribble Marvel's putting out.