Review: Justice League of America #1 By Geoff Johns and David Finch

JLA1

Justice League of America #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by David Finch, Sonia Oback, and Jeromy Cox

The short of it:

Five years ago a mysterious man spoke with Professor Ivo about making their future, and how they will be known as the super villains. Today a mysterious man runs through a forest, under attack by three shadowy figures that look like versions of the Big Three, and he knows his death is upon him, but he won’t submit to it yet. Meanwhile, in Washington, Amanda Waller is talking to Steve Trevor about their new Justice League. He’s not overly into it, and Waller keeps trying to push it on him by reminding him about the things he went through for Diana, and then lets him know that Diana is getting it on with Superman. She’s got the long term plan in mind, ready to set up contingencies for all possible terrible outcomes to the super-pairing, and as creepy as it may be, that’s how she ropes in Steve. In an effort to help Diana in the future. He’ll at least look at the team.

Hawkman is a little mess of insanity, as he claims to be Thanagarian Police Officer, Katar Hol, on a hunt to stop alien fugitives….but the perp we see him go after doesn’t quite fit the part. Next up is Tatsu Toro, Katana, which Trevor wisely points out is nothing more than an assassin, and Waller points out that she’s competing with Deathstroke for the role of best in the world…oh, and she still talks to her dead husband in her sword of infinite death. Vibe is up next, and he not only has a new name but a new origin story and even some new powers, but he’s just a kid and is way out of his league. Stargirl is a media darling with a ridiculously powerful weapon but something that terrifies her in the dark. Catwoman actually gets recruited, unlike the others who are just picked, and she seems almost like a replacement for Green Arrow.

The team is decided, Waller has had her say and is ready to call it a day, but Trevor isn’t quite done yet. Once she’s gone he calls his own little meeting….with the eavesdropped that has been present the entire time. The Martian Manhunter. J’onn agrees to help, but is very clear about what will happen if anyone tries to betray him, but then the mysterious man from the beginning shows up and things go flat as he talks of a Secret Society.

This looks like a job for the Justice League of America!

What I liked:

  • Stargirl is Stargirl. Courtney Whitmore? Check. Cosmic rod among the most dangerous weapons on Earth? Check. Pat Dugan? Check. THANK YOU GEOFF!
  • IVO!
  • Waller uses folders and files so Cyborg can’t spy on her. Nice subtle way to make Vic more awesome without even showing up.
  • I didn’t expect to like Finch’s art here, but he really pulled it off. Hawkman looks awesome, Tatsu is subtle and vicious, Vibe looks like a kid out of his element, and Courtney is absolutely adorable. And J’onn…he makes J’onn look badass.
  • J’onn and Steve have a hell of a talk, and Geoff does a great job getting into the mind of everyone’s favorite Martian. He’s been in Stormwatch, but he hasn’t had a whole lot of time devoted to just what kind of a character he is now. The two page conversation here cements it perfectly, he wants to help, he wants to be a part of the team, but the second anyone tries to do something about him, he’ll make them all pay.

What I didn’t like:

  • Man, is there anybody who doesn’t know Superman and Wonder Woman hooked up?
  • The last page ‘mystery man’ reveal was only going to go one of two ways. Either a multiverse, or one of the people on the cover. Way too easy to predict.
  • For as nice as the introductions were, I could have gone for one more hint about the villain. Shadow guy, Professor Ivo, and shadowy knockoffs of the Big Three. How about an idea of what they were doing? This problem will be gone by next issue.
  • Not enough Baz.
  • The parts of Finch’s art I didn’t like? His Amanda Waller and Catwoman

Final thoughts:

This book was good, but it’s a first issue, and it feels like a first issue. The plot doesn’t really move forward in any direction, rather it spends the issue being fleshed out. This issue is purely spent setting up the dominos for the series, giving us a team, giving us a purpose, and even giving us a last page twist. For as much happens, nothing happens, but you know what? It’s still better put together than Justice League #1 was.

Does Ivo means Amazo’s? Or an Anti-League of Super Amazo’s?

I get the logic behind scouting out a team where every member is a potential counter point to someone in the League, and some of them are pretty good. J’onn for Superman, Vibe (with his dimensional vibrations) for Flash, Baz for Hal. Hell, I even get Catwoman for Batman since they’re actually familiar with each other. Where do I draw issue? Katana for Wonder Woman while Hawkman is for Aquaman. Not to knock Tatsu or Arthur, but Hawkman is a better match for Wonder Woman. Tatsu just has gender in common.

I kinda wish that this was J’onn’s first appearance, and that Stormwatch hadn’t happened. It would have made his appearance here so much more awesome.

So I went ahead and bought the first issue of Vibe on Comixology after reading this. CURSE YOU GEOFF JOHNS! Selling me books that he’s not even writing.

Overall: 8/10

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