Comic Book Friday: Justice League Volume I: Origin

Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin

My knowledge of the Justice League and some of the characters who comprise the epic team-up of powers come from watching various incarnations of DC heroes on television — most likely from the classic cartoon show The Superfriends.

So, I come to the New 52’s reboot of the team with a fresh palate, even though I’ve read around the epic team-up for a while now with various characters in their own collections. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the epic team-up and having read these six issues, I have to say that I’m not exactly excited by what I’ve seen. The story, such as it is, is an origin one of how the team got together. Apparently this happened due to an epic invasion from another dimension and the evil Darkseid sending wave after wave of various monsters to our dimension to (as near as I can tell) destroy every major city in sight.

Geoff Johns wisely uses the larger page count to give each hero on the team his or her own introduction to being part of the Justice League. In some cases, this works well such as with Aquaman who gets to be pretty all-around bad-ass when he emerges onto the scene. In other cases, it’s not quite as strong as it could be such as with Wonder Woman who we find out has never, ever had ice cream and thinks it’s the greatest thing ever. I have to admit this plot line made me stop and scratch my head a bit because it seemed so, well, pointless in comparison to all the other characters getting an epic debut in the story. I wonder if I hadn’t read the New 52 take on the character before this is it might have stood out quite as much.*

*I’m thinking it probably would, but I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here.

The one new character whose origin we get to see is Cyborg. I don’t know much about his background or previous appearances so I can’t comment on whether this new take is better or worse than what has come before. It does establish some things well and overall it works.

The big problem I had with this collection (well, beyond the Wonder Woman stuff) is how it felt a bit like the last hour of Man of Steel. This is not a good thing in my book. It felt too much like a mindless excuse to have various characters bash on things and destroy large chunks of various cities and settings rather than an actual story or an exploration of these characters. If the only thing bringing these characters together is the potential to bash on things in new and interesting ways, I’m not sure if or how that can sustain a comic book series for any length of time. It also makes me a bit more wary than I already am of the upcoming Justice League movie. I’m hoping that someone over at DC realizes that fans want more than just cool CGI renderings of things getting destroyed and that maybe some character work and depth might be in order.

Looking at other reviews on various social media outlets, I have a feeling I’m a bit in the minority on not out and out loving this book. I don’t expect great literature from my comic book reading, but I do expect to enjoy it more than I did this collection.

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