Back into our mini-preview of DC Comics' new 52! Tomorrow, Justice League will pave the way for their 51 cousins, re-introducing well known characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, now tweaked ever so slightly, given new outfits and dropped in a world more real then any we've seen them face. Next week, the United Nations gets into the action and forms their own team of heroes representing the super powers across the globe, now quite literally working together for the common good. The result is Justice League International.
The Outline - Written by DAN JURGENS, Art by AARON LOPRESTI and MATT RYAN & Cover by AARON LOPRESTI
With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International. Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen, Godiva and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust – but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?
The Review - When the JLI first appeared on the comic racks, I'm told it was more of a joke than anything; a less tense, more dysfunctional version of the Justice League. "Let's put Booster Gold (the sponsor loving media hog) and Guy Gardener (the arrogant, hot tempered Green Lantern) on a team together and watch the bickering commence!" The new 52 dictates that this iteration of the team be a more realistic approach. If the top heroes formed a league and followed none of "man's laws" but those they imposed upon themselves, then the United Nations would form their own team, packed with glowing, powerful representatives of their combined nations so they would look as good on the 10 o'clock news as they do while in battle, defending the citizens.
With a cast of characters to introduce (presumably to new readers), half of this book is devoted to Andre Briggs who assembles the team (with a green light from the UN..sort of). Through his short display for the government officials, we see The Creeper, B'Wana Beast, Plastic Man and Metamorpho are all living in the new 52niverse..and oddly seem to retain their iconic costumes! You'd really think Plastic Man and B'Wana, at the very least, would get makeovers. Hell, even Luke Cage left the 70's behind. More interesting still, the heroes, when assembled for the first time, do so at the Hall of Justice, which appears to be a public building before the UN take it over. No hints at who may have occupied it previously. It is also worth mentioning that the team on the cover of the book is not exactly the team we follow into their first battle...at least for this first issue...and it isn't exactly the team fully endorsed by the UN. Dan Jurgens (the writer) has mentioned in interviews that this team will be ever evolving as government bureaucracy rears its ugly head and politicians make it clear that Booster Gold is only a leader for as long as they will it to be.
It is with this subtext and a swift kick in the ass that the League, just having met and not at full strength, journey off to find a missing research team. In the few "getting to know you" panels we get, you'll see bickering between clashing cultures, flirting from a certain female hero who can appreciate a man in uniform, back sass at the Batman and a general air that should anything heavy come up...this crew might get creamed...fast. WILL THEY SURVIVE ISSUE #1??!! Well..of course they will..because DC has already posted teasers for #2 and #3. Way to spoil the suspense. I'm a huge fan of the dysfunctional family dynamic and when those people leaving behind their differences and stepping up to save the world are also super powered, I'm glued in. Justice League International already has the vibe of early issues of Thunderbolts where each hero seems confident in their own power but sort of laughs (at least internally) at the notion that they could ever act as a well trained, well coordinated team. Since most of the book is eaten up with these "getting to know you" bits, the action is sparse. In fact, the crew has barely been on the ground for mere moments before their foes attack and seconds later...end of book. All necessary I'm afraid, as the first half of the comic sets the tone for the series. Without it, it's just another team hero book with oddball characters thrown together as if someone used the "darts thrown at a cork board" method. Luckily, the process is fun, so you should be entertained enough to be anticipating the next issue. The characters are engaging, the underlying plot is very relatable in our modern times and the art, while fairly typical of hero comics, is solid. I'll definitely keep reading, so long as the writing keeps up this very fluid, natural way people interact and the reveal of the insidious Signal Men isn't a dud. Of course, a giant robot rising out of the ground is a strong indication of an awesome fight ahead!
Quick Notes on Characters:
Booster Gold - Seems not as cocky as we are used to. Still from the future. Missing Skeets?! Is still a little self conscious.
Vixen - Not given a lot of page time so far, but she doesn't seem as sassy as I remember. Still strong and confident, though.
Guy Gardener - Still a hot head..still arrogant..still not taking any bull. States he has been in action for some time now.
Batman - Seems more like a unifying force, contrary to his classic loner personality. Batman is concerned with heroes succeeding, together, for the greater good. Way more talkative as well.
What Comes Next - JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #2 - On sale OCTOBER 5 - The United Nations’ new international team of heroes must learn to work together – and fast – if they’re going to discover the mystery behind the giant alien Signalmen who are appearing all over the globe. Can Booster Gold lead his team to victory, or will they fall?
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #3 - On sale NOVEMBER 2 - With the appearance of four giant, alien Signalmen, the JLI must split up to investigate the mysterious cavern beneath each one. Will the individual teams be able to handle what hides in the dark? Or will it be too late by the time the next phase comes into play…
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JLI comic page without words courtesy of Newsrama