Ricky Church counts down to Justice League by looking at some of the team’s greatest adventures. First up is Justice League Origin…
It’s just a few short weeks until the release of Justice League and tickets are rumoured to be going on sale later this week, giving fans and newcomers alike time to brush up on some of their favourite stories featuring the world’s finest heroes. These characters though have been around for 50 – 75+ years (with one particular man of steel reaching 80 next year) so there are a vast amount of stories of the League and the times they’ve saved the world.
In the coming weeks I’ll look at some famous stories featuring the Justice League in comics, animation and video games for readers to check out if their anticipation for the film is proving too much and they feel the need to dive all in on some more Justice League adventures.
First up is…
Justice League: Origin
Perhaps the most prominent example is the first story arc of The New 52, DC’s previous reboot in their comic line. Justice League: Origin features six of the seven League members seen in the film and follows a similar plot as the League come together to confront the forces of Darkseid. Written and drawn by DC superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee respectively, this was an introduction to new and old readers alike to the formation of the Justice League with a bit of a different spin on these familiar heroes.
Gone were the years long relationships between Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the others. Also gone was their time as superheroes with each member being relative rookies in their crusade against crime. Origin‘s plot is a little thin – Darkseid’s horde of parademons invade earth with Darkseid himself arriving soon after and the League has to stop them destroying Earth. There’s no big MacGuffin for the League or Darkseid to chase and much of the story is one fairly long action scene.
That’s not really a criticism as Johns knows what type of story he’s writing and uses the threat of DC’s ultimate villain to bring Earth’s most powerful heroes together. Where he really succeeds, though, is in the interactions between the characters. There’s a lot of nice banter between them, particularly Batman and Green Lantern, and Johns gets most of their characterizations right. For example, Wonder Woman is still new to man’s world so she’s not the fully recognizable Wonder Woman yet and is still considered a fish out of water, and Superman is a little more brash than usual, but for the most part Johns depicts them well.
Each Leaguer is also given a fair amount to do on their own. Though Aquaman comes into the story fairly late, he still shines in his scenes, especially in two moments that are among the book’s most memorable. In fact, Johns fills the book with plenty of awesome moments, including a cool fight between Superman, Batman and Lantern and Wonder Woman striking a critical blow to Darkseid. There’s a lot in this book that makes it an epic blockbuster in comic book form.
When it comes to depicting these moments, Lee excels. His level of detail in the imagery comes across in nearly every panel, particularly during the Superman/Batman/GL fight and when the League take on Darkseid as one. The New 52 is also known for giving the heroes a bit of an upgrade for their costumes, something that was and still is a bit controversial, but whatever your opinion on them Lee makes them look good. His rendition of Darkseid is also very imposing and intimidating, making you see why he’s such a feared character.
Justice League: Origin is light on the story, but Johns and Lee deliver plenty on the character front with their writing and gorgeous artwork. I recently reviewed the Absolute Edition of this story and Lee’s art is fantastic to look at in that format, allowing you to really take in the amount of detail he put in. The story was also adapted into the animated film Justice League: War, itself a reboot of sorts for DC’s line of original animated movies, though it’s not as good as the source material, however. Nevertheless, fans and newcomers will want to check out Origin in the lead-up to Justice League.