Ricky Church reviews Justice League #1…
After writing Batman for several years, Superman in Superman: Unchained and crafting an epic tale across the DC multiverse, Scott Snyder has finally been elevated to the biggest league of all in the DC pantheon: the Justice League. Snyder begins his stewardship of Justice League by building off the events of Dark Nights: Metal and the miniseries Justice League: No Justice and revamping the team to a more classic line-up of the heroes. The first chapter of Snyder’s run paints an intriguing picture of what he’ll bring to the table and shows he has a good handle on the big ensemble.
The best aspect of Justice League #1 is Snyder’s writing of characters he’s rarely written before, namely Martian Manhunter. It’s great to see J’onn back on the team and Snyder utilizes him very well, focusing on what makes him such a fundamental piece of the League through his humanity and empathy. Much of the book’s perspective comes from J’onn, especially towards the end as they debate what to do about an unknown energy racing towards Earth.
Snyder’s handling of the other characters is well done too and, much like J’onn, it’s great to see Hawkgirl alongside the League once again. His portrayal of her was well written throughout Dark Nights: Metal, but now that he’s writing Hawkgirl proper, her characterization and chemistry with the rest of the team is another aspect that stands out. Fans of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoon series should be happy since this is essentially the line-up for those cartoons. We’re still missing John Stewart’s Green Lantern right now, but Snyder’s writing of the rest of the characters is so good you’d hardly notice there’s a spot missing right now.
Snyder also takes the opportunity to dive a little more into the high fantasy concepts he’s been working with more recently as the League debates whether they should allow this energy source called The Totality to hit Earth or not, arguing that it could change the planet for the better. That’s not the only fantastical element involved as the League fights back evolutionary creatures made by Vandal Savage or J’onn transforming into a large dragon and destroying part of the moon.
The big draw, however, is the inclusion of several villains as the Legion of Doom. Several classic villains, from Joker, Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd and Cheetah, are led by Lex Luthor on some scheme to destroy the League and conquer the planet using The Totality. It’s an intriguing hook to be sure, especially as even Savage was against whatever they’re planning. Snyder’s always written some interesting takes on the villains and utilizing them as the Legion of Doom rather than the Injustice League or Secret Society opens up a lot of doors that harken back to the Silver Age, right down to the Legion’s swamp base.
Jim Cheung’s art is well detailed throughout the issue and he makes each hero and villain standout. One of the best images comes from the Legion’s introduction which each of them looking fairly intimidating, but Cheung also displays nice transitions and parallels between scenes, such as how J’onn witnesses Vandal’s death amid the final moments before they can destroy The Totality. Tomeu Morey’s colours compliment Cheung’s artwork, giving the issue a vibrant look and feel with the various colours and settings.
Justice League #1 is an intriguing and entertaining introduction to Snyder’s take on the big team. The characterization on all the League members are spot on and the art from Cheung and Morey is great to look at in all its detail. This is certainly a good opening for fans new and old to jump into.