After Flashpoint, everything is reset. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee show us how this new Justice League came to be! And what a wild ride it is!
JUSTICE LEAGUE NEW-52, VOL. 1: ORIGIN
JUSTICE LEAGUE NEW-52, #1-6
Authors: Geoff Johns
Artists: Jim Lee
Inkers: Scott Williams (with Sandra Hope, Batt, and Mark Irwin)
Colors: Alex Sinclair (with Gabe Eltaeb and Tony Avina)
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
The beauty of this trade is you don’t really need to know anything about the Justice League. Just know that in Flashpoint Paradox (yes, there is a separate trade for that), the Flash changed history and when he attempted to change it back, the new 52 DC universe was created with new history for everybody.
What You’ll Find Out:
As Batman chases a monstrosity through Gotham City, Green Lantern shows up, amazed that Batman is even real, and helps to corner the demon. The demon explodes, screaming “For DarkSeid” and leaves behind a mysterious box. The box leads the two to another alien in Metropolis. However, Superman has also recently been attacked and is taking no chances with these newcomers. Batman actually tries to calm things down, but with Lantern’s mouth, Superman just isn’t listening. Unable to match Supes’ speed, Lantern calls his buddy, Barry Allen…the Flash. After another brief skirmish, Batman is able to stop the fight and leads them into the sewers to get away from Metropolis PD.
In a lab in Metropolis, Victor visits his dad who is studying a box like the one Batman found. Suddenly, both boxes make a very audible “Boom”. In the lab, an explosion engulfs victor, but in the sewers, hordes of demons fly out. This prompts Wonder Woman, who is attending the U.S. Capitol, to head outside to find some of these winged creatures that are attacking people. She assumes they are harpies until another “boom” drops hordes on top of her.
Even as Victor’s dad holds him close, promising his son that he won’t die, demons continue to carry off ordinary people. Batman and the others actively fight the demons, doing their best, but there are just too many. More and more people are carried off. Suddenly, Wonder Woman jumps into the fray (much to the joy of GL who has the hots for her immediately). But she does little to turn the tide. As the demons retreat to over the ocean, Victor’s dad injects him with nannites. Suddenly, Cyborg is born, a massive structure rises up out of the ocean, and Aquaman appears on the shore, with some defeated demons.
As Victor discovers he is no longer entirely human, he runs off while the newly formed Justice League (not their name yet but it’s easier than saying their individual names every time) surveys the damage, but suddenly more demons attack. And the U.S. military decides to take out both demons and the enhanced humans. Suddenly, Cyborg appears through a portal and almost immediately after, Darkseid follows, easily scattering the League.
Darkseid easily dispatches Superman (and his followers take the Man of Steel away). Then he breaks Green Lantern’s arm. He seems to ignore the rest and finally, Batman has an idea. He reveals his identity to Green Lantern, as a way of trying to gain trust, but he completely loses his bat suit and allows himself to be captured by Darkseid’s demons. Green Lantern rallies the rest of the League for another assault against Darkseid…this time against his eyes.
As the League battles ferociously, Batman arrives in Apokalypse to find Superman completely immobilized and priests surrounding him. Batman manages to free him so that Superman can help turn the tide against Darkseid. And that he does. Cyborg opens up another boom box to send Darkseid home and with one hell of a struggle, they manage it.
And finally, once the dust and fires clear, the crowd cheers. Whereas before the super-powered beings were seen as a threat, now they are hailed as heroes, even receiving presidential commendations. Of course, not all want to be a team, but that’s what makes them great…they may not work together perfectly…but they can still be the Super Seven! Wait…uh… maybe they’ll come up with a name later.
What Just Happened?
This. This is how an origin story is done right! This is how you reboot an iconic team! Coming from a new DC fan, this is the perfect entry into the DC mythos. I mean, sure, you have Jim Lee, who is amongst the best artists to ever tackle an issue and he is definitely in his top form here (even avoiding some of his tropes such as re-used poses for women). His scenes are packed with action and drama, every single one. There’s not a page in here that’s not beautiful to look at. That’s not all thanks to Jim Lee. Scott Williams’ inks bring the images to life and the color in this book is just amazing, so Alex Sinclair definitely deserves praise as well.
But let’s face it, Jim Lee isn’t the reason this book was amazing to read. He definitely helps things along, but I’ve read some Jim Lee titles that were definitely subpar (anybody remember Divine Right). What makes this book such a great read is Geoff Johns’ writing. And looking back, now that the New 52 series of JLA has ended and we’re into the Rebirth years, you can see things building, a crafting of a truly epic saga that may have started with a new story of how the Justice League met, but still hasn’t really ended yet as Johns’ plans have not yet come to fruition.
It’s a similar Justice League to what many who have grown up with them know, but it’s also different. The biggest change is Cyborg’s appearance as a founding member. But tying his origins into the Boom Boxes from Darkseid makes it work so well. He doesn’t even feel like the junior member. He acts and looks like he belongs.
The characters are introduced slowly which allows us to see their developments, especially in the dialogue. Batman, as always, is dark and brooding. Green Lantern is cocky. Flash is just the “nice guy”. Wonder Woman acts superior. Aquaman is kingly (not always a benefit). Superman is…super. The team doesn’t even always act as a team, with Lantern and Aquaman clashing over who should lead, Lantern trying to impress Wonder Woman, Lantern laughing at Batman’s lack of powers…okay, so most of the drama seems to come from Green Lantern, but that also allows for much of the growth to come from him. Especially when Batman calls him out.
Which leads me into the dynamics. The relationships feel real and the humor adds to the story instead of distracting from it. Green Lantern’s surprise (and Flash’s surprise) at Batman’s being real and not just a myth. Wonder Woman and Superman’s flirting (although I can see how that may upset some Superman/Lois Lane purists).
And lastly…Darkseid. He is truly the most ferocious that he’s ever been. He plows through the League as if they were nothing (breaking Green Lantern’s arm was just brutal). After this TPB, it’s clear that Marvel’s Thanos is just a pale comparison. But the League rallying to fight him, even with being short their smartest and strongest member, was great to see!
Final Thoughts: Great art, great storytelling, and great characters help to make this TPB one for every Justice League fan and may even draw in some newer ones. But the best part is (and the most dangerous if you’re strapped for cash) is this makes you want to read the next one…and the next one…and the next one…all the way up to Darkseid War…and then Rebirth one-shot…and then…damn you, Geoff Johns!