New 52 Review – “Justice League #1”

The first complete issue of DC’s New 52 and their new continuity is out. While some might argue that 52 titles is 10 too many, it’s hard to complain about this particular entry to the roster. 51 more reviews are coming in September, covering the entire set of first issues.

General Information

Title: Justice League (2011) #1

Author: Geoff Johns

Illustrator(s): Jim Lee (pencils), Scott Williams (inks), Alex Sinclair (colors)

Cover Date: October 2011

Cover Price: $3.99 US in print or digital, or $4.99 US for the combo pack, which includes a print copy and a code to download a digital copy as well.

Buy the digital edition.


Hal Jordan is dispatched to Gotham City to deal with an extraterrestrial arrival, and he encounters the city’s existing protector, Batman, for the first time.

High Point

Batman and Green Lantern compare power sets. Two pages of pure gold.

Low Point

The script and art don’t mesh for one word in one panel. Geoff Johns clearly had one thing in mind, Jim Lee drew something that (honestly) works better, and the script wasn’t adjusted to update the dialogue accordingly. Something is compared to a dog, but the visual to me screams “insect.”

The Scores

Despite the fact that this is the fifth “origin of the original Justice League” story I’ve read, it feels original. This isn’t just a new history for the same characters or adding details, this feels like rebuilding from scratch, as though Marvel’s Ultimate line had started with the Avengers. Some might object to the cover art, as three of the seven characters aren’t in these pages at all and one looks nothing like he does on the cover, but it still feels very much like building a new Justice League. If this tone and energy carries through the rest of the New 52, this is going to be a really fun month. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is some of Jim Lee’s best. He’s excited and it shows from start to finish. His fetish for “extra” lines feels less pronounced here than in the promotional art releases, and the splash page in this issue is the one that has finally sold me on Superman’s new look. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is fast and establishes the core characters quickly. If you are familiar with past incarnations, you won’t be bored, as the manner in which the characters are introduced is entertaining and interesting in its own right. If, on the other hand, you aren’t familiar with them, everything you need to know is here. I’m not joking; I honestly believe that, if you could somehow manage to locate a human being who is fluent in English but who has never heard of these characters and hand this person this comic, he or she would understand it easily. I give it 6 out of 6.

The characterization of these characters is great. They are on the job, but interact in a way that lets the reader know what kind of people they are. The goal was to relaunch the line with the characters in their most iconic, and the only title of the 52 we’ve seen appears to be a success in this regard. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is fantastic. If you’ve ever enjoyed a superhero comic, you owe it to yourself to give this one a shot. I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow is quick and smooth. The thread connecting these characters is clear and easy to follow from start to finish. There are 24 pages of story here, and yet it still felt short because I wasn’t done reading it yet. I don’t mean that in the “low calorie 1990s” sense in which you would get 24 pages of art depicting 6 pages of story, but in the sense that I just wasn’t ready to put the story down. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, if you have enough interest in the title that you’ve chosen to read this review, you should really read the comic. I’d be stunned if you don’t enjoy it. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Justice League #1 receives 40 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

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