Review: Justice League #1-6 by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee

Justice League (2011-2012) #1-6

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Jim Lee

Published by: DC

Note : This review is for the digital version of these comics available from DC Comics on Comixology

Before I start this review, I will admit I have some bias. As I write this review, I am wearing my Justice League shirt from San Diego Comic Con. Also at San Diego Comic Con, my sister worked pretty hard to trade someone for a Justice League carry-all bag for me (which Jim Lee signed for me after I told him the story).  So I pretty much had to love Justice League or else my sister and my efforts were wasted!

So, here we are six months into Relaunch. I think by now pretty much everyone has settled on which books are their favorites. For me, it’s Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Demon Knights, Teen Titans, Aquaman, and Batman.  There are lots of other books I enjoy, but those books for me have really defined what has made Relaunch such a success in getting me back into reading comics on a regular basis.

When talking about Relaunch’s great books, it would be unfair not to mention Justice League. It is DC’s flagship title, AND it has been the top selling comic for the last six weeks.On top of that, pretty much every issue has been reprinted multiple times, and it remains a top seller digitally as well, even with its inflated cover price of $3.99 an issue.

Justice League is the book that is helping to define Relaunch, and while it isn’t my favorite DC book, I do enjoy each issue, and I feel that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee have managed to accomplish everything this book needed to do:

1) Make Justice League relevant again.

2) Make Justice League fun again.

3) Breathe fresh life into the DC Universe.

These three things were no easy task, and Johns and Lee have been doing it masterfully!

Here’s the thing about Justice League – it knows exactly what it is and needs to be. A massive big budget action movie that helps reestablish the main stars of the DC Universe as well as bringing in lots of attention to the whole line. You have the two biggest names in DC, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, as the creative team, and each of them is bringing their A game.  You’ve got a cast starring characters who are pretty much all top ten selling comics these days.

It is very clear that Johns and Lee understand how important this book is to DC’s revitalization, and each issue shows that they are determined to make this comic bigger and more exciting than anything else on the comic shelf.

For the most part, the characterization in Justice League has been sharp. I have really enjoyed the way the characters have played back and forth against each other, especially Hal Jordan. Some of his scenes, especially with Batman and Aquaman, were just laugh out loud funny.

There have been some questionable character moments, especially with Batman unmasking to save Superman, and Batman being at the White House at the end to debut the Justice League, but for the most part these are just small quibbles that never detract from my enjoyment of these characters.  And the story has seemed to try and offer some explanations for why Batman was making those decisions.  I do still think they were out of character, but I appreciate the effort.

I also think the action in Justice League has been top notch. Jim Lee was at the top of his game here, and while at times Justice League has a few too many splash pages, some of them were just downright gorgeous. Wonder Woman taking on Darkseid needs to be a poster!

I also love that the Justice League managed to defeat Darkseid without making Darkseid look weak or lame.  Too often in comics, the bad ass villain is defeated in a way that makes him seem kind of lame.  Darkseid’s defeat was just as much about the heroes making a bold and desperate move, not about them overpowering Darkseid.  I love those kinds of victories.

As much as I enjoy Justice League, it is far from perfect.  I do think that some of the dialogue got a little clunky at times, again, sort of like an action movie. There were lots of lines that seemed just there to provide hasty exposition or a quip that didn’t quite seem to fit right.

While I thought issue 1 was a great start to Relaunch, I also feel some of the middle chapters dragged on some. One of my biggest complaints about DC Relaunch has been that most of the team books seem to take forever to actually get the team together, and Justice League was a major part of that complaint. It was nice that each character got some time to shine, but it took so long to introduce Darkseid into the story, it really felt like his defeat was done in a hasty way.

That said, issue 6 was the first comic I’ve read since coming back to comics that I would say deserved a perfect 10 score. Everything hit on all cylinders on this one. The battle with Darkseid felt epic, and this issue helped establish many of the reasons DC Relaunch looks like it does today.

Issue 6 was also the first issue in the series that I felt justified it’s 4 dollar cover price. Instead of just some sketches or some poorly written prose pieces, this issue had a full backup starring Pandora, and that went a long way towards making me feel better about spending 4 dollars on a comic. Especially since so much of the series has been fast paced and splash pages. Justice League typically is one of the fastest reads I have each month.

Now that the origin story is out of the way, I can’t wait to see what the Justice League has been up to since. We’ve gotten a few hints and teases in other comics, but I am really excited to see what happens next in this book. Pandora should be showing up soon, and we’ve got some cool Shazam backups over the next few months.

Earlier in this review, I said that Justice League really had three major goals. Be relevant, be fun, and breathe fresh life into DC Universe. I can definitely say that Justice League has succeeded at all three. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Final Score: 9.0 While not necessarily DC Relaunch’s best title, Justice League continues to be a lot of fun. And issue 6 is one of the best comics I’ve ever read!

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