Justice League, Volume 1 Origin (The New 52) Review

Justice League, Volume 1 Origin (The New 52) Review

Note: If you don’t know which comic to start reading, check out this review.

Courtesy DC Comics

There’s a kinetic energy that flies off the first page and doesn’t let up until you’ve reached the back cover. Non-stop action, gorgeous artwork, and fun character interactions make this a highly recommended read especially for newcomers like myself to the series. Justice League Volume 1 Origin is part of DC Comics’ New 52, where all the series in their catalogue hit the reset button and start from ground zero. In ‘Origin’, Batman is just an urban legend, Superman is ‘that alien guy from Metropolis’, and the word superhero is not part of the cultural lexicon.

Written by Geoff Johns, the story starts off in Gotham City with Batman meeting Green Lantern for the first time as they investigate a mysterious alien creature that leaves behind a strange cube believed to be a computer of sorts. I really enjoyed the bold, hyper-confident, characterization of Green Lantern and his interactions with the dark, brooding Batman; his polar opposite in terms of personality. When Green Lantern discovers his new ally doesn’t have any super powers he blurts out, “You’re not just some guy in a bat costume are you? Are you freaking kidding me!?!” Not one to be underestimated, Batman finds a way to quickly disarm Green Lantern’s ring unnoticed. Then Batman holds out the ring to an unarmed Hal Jordan and asks “What’s this do?”, followed by a funny disparaging zinger (I won’t spoil it here).

The momentum continues as the duo heads to Metropolis to find someone who might know a thing or two about aliens. As the story unfolds, we are introduced to the Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. The always colorful Green Lantern makes fun of Aquaman by calling him ‘Aquafresh’, but gives him props for wearing orange. “It’s Atlantean Scale Mail. Do they think I’d choose Orange?” retorts Aquaman on his “costume”.

It’s no wonder Green Lantern and Flash are fast friends. By day, Barry Allen is a forensic specialist while his secret identity is the Flash. Flash is young and conceited, like Green Lantern, but that’s why they’re so much fun. In a confrontation with a super powerful alien, Flash boasts he’s never been touched, then the tiniest flick of a finger sends him flying like a home run.

We are also introduced to the origin of Victor Stone, a young football player with aspirations to turn pro. Victor has a tragic story as we learn he desperately wants his father’s approval but his Dad never comes to any games and thinks his life is wasted as an athlete.

The superb artwork is illustrated by Jim Lee. There’s so much eye candy on every page and I’m not talking about the skin-tight costumes. “I don’t wear costumes,” explains Green Lantern, “This is my uniform”. The look of Superman has been updated; he doesn’t wear a red underwear and his cape is secured directly to the armor. As a whole, the look of all the superheroes are younger and modernized. There’s also a lot of attention to detail like how Green Lantern’s ring is always glowing and the way vibrant coloring brings to life the action in each frame.

Much of the earlier part of the story find our heroes at odds with one another which functions to define their personalities and abilities. As the principal characters learn to work together, ‘Origin’, shapes up to be a straight forward plot about emerging super heroes versus a basic villain. The simplistic plot acts as a framework to introduce the Justice League to a new generation of readers who can read this comic with no prior knowledge of previous story lines.

“Origin” is very self-aware and plays on our inherent knowledge of these mythic characters even if you’ve never read any comics before. These super humans are inexperienced, virtually strangers to one another and just coming to terms with how they can help man-kind. They’re not quite a team and not really super heroes yet which is part of the joy in watching them evolve into what will become the Justice League.

Justice League Volume 1 Origin (The New 52) is a recommended read particularly for the uninitiated looking for a fun, action-packed entry point to an iconic comic series.

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Posted on September 25, 2012, in Comics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I agree, Justice League is one of the best New 52 series, along with Animal Man and Team 7.
    Jim Lee left Justice League, and a lot of bloggers think it’s because he’s going to work on an old series DC is planning to relaunch, WildC.A.T.S.. As you probably know, it was him who created this series, exactly 20 years ago.
    If you have an A-list artist, you give him an A-list series: WildC.A.T.S. would be a C-list one, so, in a normal situation, Jim Lee working on it is pure nonsense.
    But maybe in this case Jim Lee sticked obstinately to this project because he wants to bring his old series back to life, and DC decided to indulge his whim because otherwise their working relationship would have gone really uptight, and it would have ended as soon as possible. Jim Lee on a C-list title is better than Jim Lee on a Marvel title, DC thought.
    I hope Jim Lee won’t write WildC.A.T.S.: he’s an awesome penciller and he’s very skilled with creating characters (think about Grifter, for example), but his 90s stories were boring as all hell. Since then he always worked with the most talented writers, so maybe he learned something from them and got better, but I don’t think so: writing well is a talent, not a technique, so you can’t learn it from anybody, no matter how good your teacher is. Good writers are born, not made.
    But maybe all this hype about Jim Lee working on WildC.A.T.S. will be proved wrong: perhaps Jim Lee doesn’t want to slip back (especially now that he’s at the top of his career), no matter how fond he is of WildC.A.T.S., and perhaps DC never thought to bring WildC.A.T.S. back to life. Only time will tell.

  2. I’m gonna have to check out Animal Man and Team 7, thanks for the recommendations. I have a lot of comics to catch up on. I’m actually a newbie when it comes to comics although I did hear about Jim Lee leaving JL. I saw some of the work from the new replacement artist for Jim Lee and I think it’s pretty promising. Whatever project Jim Lee works on next, I’ll probably be curious and check it out too. Thanks for commenting, sounds like you definitely know your comics!

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