Justice League (vol.2) #1 (2011)

Justice League (vol.2) #1 (October, 2011)
“Justice League, Part One”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Jim Lee
Inker – Scott Williams
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Patrick Brosseau
Associate Editor – Rex Ogle
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $3.99

Having read an issue from this run of Justice League yesterday, I realized I haven’t read the first issue of this volume since it first came out.  I pondered that for a bit, and thought… ehh, it’s only been a couple’a years.  Then, the stark realization that it has been over a half decade set in.  Yeesh… where in the hell does the time go?

I was just barely starting college when this came out… and now I’m about to graduate.  Feels like an eternity and a blink all at once.  Anyhoo, let’s get right down to the dawn of… The New 52!

It’s Gotham City… five years ago.  The Gotham City Police Department are tracking the Batman… as he follows a figure wrapped in tattered rags.  The police chopper… opens fire (!) on Batman, however, he is able to dodge and toss some smoke grenades skyward to obscure their vision.  He fires a bat-line into the leg of the creature… who isn’t terribly pleased.  The figure is revealed to be a Parademon!  Well… what we know to be a Parademon, anyway…

The Parademon pulse-blasts Batman away before launching into an all-out attack.  Shortly, he and the surrounding area is bathed in a green light… followed by an energy-construct fire engine plowing into it.  Hal Jordan is on the scene… and is quite surprised to learn that the Batman actually exists.

The GCPD resumes their steady-handed investigation into the situation… which is to say, they continue their willy-nilly blasting.  Hal is able to hold them off with some construct SWAT officers.  In the distraction, the Parademon attacks from behind… then proceeds to destroy the police choppers with his fire-breath.  Hal whips up some energy construct bats to fly the helicopters to safety.

The Parademon transforms into a quadrupedal… or however you say “a bunch of legged” form that resembles an insect… or “a dog” if you’re Hal Jordan.  It flees the scene, but our heroes are in hot pursuit.  Hal makes sure to extinguish the multiple fires around town with more constructs.

Our next scene is Hal attempting to play “getting to know you” with Batman.  He presses him for information regarding his powers.  When he replies that he has none, Hal is rather taken aback.

So much so… that he doesn’t realize it when Batman swipes his ring!  It’s a pretty funny scene… probably the best part of the issue from a writing standpoint.

The duo follow the Parademon into the sewer, where they find it fusing what we know to be a Mother Box into the wall.  It “pings”, and moments later, after the ‘demon says “For Darkseid!”, it explodes.  Our boys are safe, in a… er, safe though!  This bit is also likely an “ah-ha” moment for a handful of readers.  Hal repeats what the suicide-parademon said… “dark side”.  So, there ya have it.  I know for much of my childhood, he was Dark-seed… hell, sometimes I still say it that way!

Hal and Batman approach the Mother Box… and consider the fact that it might be alien in technology.  There just so happens to be another new alien on the block… well, in Metropolis, anyway.  Sounds like it’s time for a field trip.

We shift scenes to a high school football game where Vic Stone, star player for the Ford… Titans (har har) is tearing up the field.  Oh yeah, we also get a super-sneaky appearance from the mystery-woman of the New-52, Pandora.  See her in the stands?  I’ll hand it to DC… this was some subtle stuff.  Small touches like this are always neat.

Anyhoo, Vic is upset that his father no-showed the big game… after which he was supposed to meet with scouts from various colleges… and hoo-boy, they are frothing at the mouth at the thought of having Vic play for their team.  It’ll come as no surprise that I was never a blue-chip athlete… I ran some track, and kicked butt in volleyball… but it was never gonna pay my way through college.  That said, I’m amused by the thought of a room full of coaches and scouts all shouting over each other for the opportunity to sign a high school kid.  Not saying it doesn’t happen… just the way it’s shown here is quite silly.

Vic returns to the field… just in time to see a green energy construct jet fly overhead.  Here we learn that Vic’s father conducts studies on the super-set.  Later, our guys land in Metropolis where Hal enters into a building to find our Metropolitan alien… it doesn’t go well.

We wrap up this issue with Batman facing off with the alien in question… Superman!  (duh)

Not a whole lot to talk about here, right?

I mean… it might sound pithy, and that is certainly not my intention.  I remember being a bit nonplussed upon reading it the first time… and today, I’m simply unmoved.  I think this is a fine story… for a story, however, for the launchpad from which we’re going to spring into the new DC Universe?  Ehh… I just don’t see it.

We get buddy-cops Batman and Green Lantern for a good portion of this.  Now, we pre-Flashpoint folks expect there to be some tension between these two… there’s history and precedent for it.  Here… I dunno, we’re so confused.  We don’t know what has happened and what hasn’t… or has yet to.  Thing is, DC didn’t appear to know either.  Hard to get invested in this when we have so little to go on.  From what we did know… this was a ground-up reboot… except when it’s not.

One of our first captions is kind of the albatross that pigeonholed this incentive… “Five Years Ago.”  I think had they left that out, and didn’t push so hard to youngify their roster of heroes, this might have worked a bit better (long-term).  Hell, maybe keep the “Five Year” thing… but make it so Green Lantern and Batman already knew one another.  I feel that would’ve went far to assuage confusion.  Keeping in mind that Batman and Green Lantern were pretty much kept the same as their pre-Flashpoint counterparts… they could keep them as experienced heroes, and play around with their backstories… make everyone else new, but these two keep a bit of their cache.  I dunno… I think that might’ve helped.  I mean, in the early New-52 issues of Batman, he’s already shown as having had four Robins… dassalotta boy wonders’s’s for five years.  And Green Lantern was starring Sinestro, fresh off the end of the pre-Flashpoint War of the Green Lanterns… dassa lotta baggage as well!

Anyhoo… the issue itself.  Well… not a lot happened.  Hal and Batman do some verbal ballet and we meet Vic Stone, star high school football player.  There’s a cliffhanger where Superman shows up.  Dunno… feels more like an issue of The Brave and the Bold than Justice League.

The art is Jim Lee… and it’s pretty great.  Dude gets a lot of flak for his poses… and while there is a fair bit of that here, it is offset by some great action.  I remember really digging the coloring here the first time I read it… and I still think it’s nice.  Love the green energy outline surrounding Hal.  Really cool touch.

I know I’m kinda being tough on this… and, there’s a reason.  Perhaps I’m letting my bias show… which, wouldn’t be the first time.  This came at a time where there was so much uncertainty about what was to come.  We readers just lost a generation’s worth of continuity to a stunt… and we really wanted a nugget of understanding what was to come.  Call it “fan entitlement” or whatever buzz-phrase is currently floating around the comicsphere… but, I remember this being a pretty tough time in the fandom for folks like me.

As I said above, this was a fine issue… just not the way to launch a new universe.  Still I do recommend checking it out.  It’s the foundation for much of what’s going on even today with the New-52 firmly in the rear-view mirror.  It’s been collected a bunch and is available digitally for just 99-cents.

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