Comics You Should Be Reading: Justice League
Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. Green Lantern. Flash. Aquaman. They're the world's greatest superheroes (or, at least, the greatest ones owned by DC Comics), and they've banded together to fight the world's greatest threats in Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's Justice League, a Comic You Should Be Reading fo sho.
Part of DC's recently relaunched books dubbed the "New 52," Justice League has so far put out six awesome, action-packed issues set five years in the past that show how the team first came together. When the book opens, superheroes are relatively new to the world, and most people find them suspicious, even criminal characters. When a dark god from another world invades Earth, though, that tune might change.
Probably the coolest thing about this first Justice League story, actually, has been its choice of villain. Whereas previous versions of the "forming a team" tale have had these super-people battle a giant starfish (yes really), here Johns and Lee have put them against the scariest bad guy in all the comics—Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips and champion of the Anti-Life Equation, who dreams of making slaves of the entire universe. That's a little scarier than a starfish. He's definitely the best threat possible to bring these heroes together, and the way he's defeated at the end of issue #6 leaves the door open for a lot of other awesome possibilities. Like, maybe in a few months he will attack Earth again with a giant starfish. A guy can dream.
Besides all that, here are three things it's important to know about Justice League:
1) It's the flagship title of the DC Universe. Whatever happens in this book sets the stage for all 51 others under DC's umbrella. Even the first six issues of this series have been trendsetting, explaining a crucial part of the current DC status quo—why didn't people initially trust superheroes, and what made them change their minds—and setting up a master villain who's sure to run afoul of our heroes time and time again. Besides the big, obvious stuff, though, there's a lot of smaller leads for future stories to follow up on, like the burgeoning friendship between Green Lantern and Flash.
2) It's a blockbuster action movie in comic book form. Sure, sometimes Michael Bay-style movies are just too dumb to enjoy. But sometimes you want something with lots of action, attractive characters and the occasional ridiculous explosion. Justice League scratches that itch nicely; it's about as "widescreen" as a comic can get; note how artist Jim Lee loves his two-page spreads. But writer Geoff Johns is a smart dude, and he packs enough characterization and smaller moments into these books to do these iconic characters justice. In fact, in addition to being about fighting Darkseid, the first six issues give us a point-of-view character in Vic Stone, aka Cyborg, who here first gains his powers and becomes a hero before our eyes, stepping into the world of larger-than-life superheroes just as we do.
3) Jim Lee is a badass. This artist has lent his talent to the best-selling comic of all time, X-Men #1, as well as record-breaking runs on Batman, Superman and more. He's working his magic again on Justice League, a book that mostly looks like perfect action comic. Jim really outdoes himself on the most recent issue, #6, when our team of heroes finally pulls together to defeat Darkseid… at least for now.
As Justice League moves forward, it will bring itself into the present and catch us up with what this team of heroes is doing now. It also, sadly, will be giving Jim Lee a break for a few issues, although the book's in good hands with artists Gene Ha, Gary Frank and Carlos D'Anda. Bottom line: this is the best place to see the best superheroes doing the best stuff. Check out the first story arc of Justice League now at your local comic shop, snag it online or wait for the graphic novel collection that drops in two months!