Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Colourist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Cover: Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair (A); Ivan Reis, Andy Lanning and Rod Reis (B)
Publisher: DC Comics
Historically the Justice League series of comics has been one of the preeminent staples in the DCU, almost always featuring the best and brightest DC has to offer. That point was driven home further when Justice League #1 was the first series of the re-launch, ushering in DC comics’ new era. Issue two hit shelves last week, and it continues the story of the first meeting between the DCU heavyhitters.
The Road So Far…
Green Lantern and Batman meet up for the first time, with the police hot on their trail. After a short scuffle between the two heroes, they realize they have some common ground, hastened somewhat by the arrival of Superman.
What’s the Story?
While Barry Allen, works away in his Central City crime lab, Hal Jordan, Batman and Superman acquaint themselves with one another on Metropolis’ streets. Despite his best efforts, Batman is grabbed by Superman and thrust into a brick wall as Jordan recovers from Superman’s initial attack. He quickly rejoins the fray and wraps Superman in green chain constructs, which the “Man of Steel” quickly breaks free of. Clearly over-matched, Jordan tries to contact Allen and asks for his assistance as the Flash. He quickly arrives and makes a fool out of Superman before Flash dodges a punch, only to then be flicked across the street into a wall. The group eventually comes to their senses and go into hiding as the police close in on them. Meanwhile at S.T.A.R. Labs, Dr. Stone, father to the young Victor Stone, works away at his project related to superhuman activities, that is until he’s interrupted by his son. After missing another of the younger Stone’s football games, they part on frostier terms, but before Victor can storm off, the extra-terrestrial box comes to life and unleashes a tremendous blast which strikes Victor as his father can only watch with shock and dismay.
Although I felt like this second issue was better than the first installment, it still felt a little light. Much of the writing is strangely presumptuous, as though we as readers are firmly aware of events as they occur in the greater DCU, such that Johns’ attempts to skim plot devices’ details from further explanation glaze the story with an element of “this happened, just accept it.” Beyond this, I feel like Justice League #2 was a better experience altogether, at least from a story perspective. I think the gradual integration of the principal characters is a good move; in this respect the book is well paced and doesn’t simply dump all of the characters together into the same playground. I have a hard time becoming invested in this story though, as its “joined now in progress” elements and vague allusions to the threat the heroes are all scrambling from are too shallow. While the story works well in a respect, it seems like it’s trying to get by on the combined star-power of Johns and the Justice League title as the company’s flagship title.
The Pretty, Pretty Pictures
There’s nothing to say about Jim Lee’s pencils other than the work is fantastic. Every page of the issue is tremendously detailed and includes Lee’s hallmark creativity. Each page brims with dynamic artwork, ranging from the first page before Superman and Batman face-off, each of the Green Lantern pages, and the final pages as the young Victor Stone meets his fate. Joining Lee on art is colourist Alex Sinclair, who amplifies Lee’s talents by adding his own, jettisoning Justice League’s artwork to the top tier of the books part of the DC re-launch. The colouring work on the Green Lantern pages, notably the constructs towards the middle of the book, are not completely solid, but rather are somewhat transluscent and have a tremendous amount of three-dimensional detail to them. Lee’s pencil work is the highlight of this series, and if the mentioned pages weren’t convincing enough, take a look at pages nine and ten featuring Superman and Flash.
Justice League is easily the flagship book of the DC re-launch, but despite the plot’s scope doing the title’s status justice, after two issues the writing itself still feels light and I can’t help but feel altogether disengaged from the story Johns is trying to tell. To that end, I’m not sure what Johns is trying to do with this arc except clearly introducing Darkseid. In that respect, the story is all bells and whistles without rhyme, reason or substance. It’s a growing trend with Johns’ books (outside Green Lantern), something we saw with the latest Flash series and Brightest Day. On the positive side of the things, I love Jim Lee’s work in this issue. As a complete package though, the book has the name-power to drive sales but I question whether the story will have the legs to have any staying power with readers.