Genre: Superhero Comics
Series: Justice League
Publisher: DC Comics (May 8, 2012)
Length: 192 pages
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I’m not big on origin stories. I’ve just read to many of them. So I didn’t expect to love Justice League: Origin, but even with my expectations set low, this book underwhelmed.
The set up for this one is fairly straightforward. Superheroes have begun to appear across the world. The mysterious Batman is in Gotham City. The flying dude dubbed Superman is in Metropolis. An Amazonian princess is newly arrived from Paradise Island. There is the guy with a green ring called Green Lantern. The Flash is running around in red tights. Cyborg is the athlete turned machine man. Aquaman is the Man from Atlantis. And the normal people of the world are understandably scared of these god-like beings. Sure, they seem benevolent, but you never know when demigods are gonna turn on you.
Then something happens which forces all these super beings to unite. Strange monsters appearing out of nowhere, stealing innocent people away, and repeating “Darkseid” over and over to themselves and everyone in hearing distance. And, voila , the Justice League is born!
What is fantastic about this book is the art. Jim Lee is one of my favorite artists ever, so anything he does is gold to me, but he exceeded my expectations in this volume. Every character has never looked better; the action scenes kicked ass; and there is real motion and emotion in the panels. This exceptional art is the main reason I kept reading when the story would take a turn for the worst here and there.
As for the story, the whole Darkseid-invading-the-earth plot was pretty cool. No, it wasn’t terribly original, but it was suspenseful and, at least, gave the formation of the Justice League some plausible reason for happening. The bantering between the superheroes was fun. (Hell, there were even a couple laugh outloud moments.) I also liked how Green Lantern and Flash’s prior history was acknowledged, and everyone was amazed Batman didn’t have any super powers. But every time I’d feel myself beginning to warm up to the book the plot would turn into yet another brawl-fest or yet another ridiculous verbal pissing contests that would ruin the story momentum.
The thing that really irked me, however, was Geoff Johns’ characterization of the League members. Okay, okay, they weren’t all bad, I’ll admit. Batman was actually cool; Superman was surprisingly interesting; and Aquaman was damn amazing. However, the rest of the JL were not to my liking. Green Lantern was a wisecracking idiot most of the time; Flash was just not very appealing; Cyborg was more machine than man; and Wonder Woman . . . well she deserves her own paragraph.
It really is hard to put into words Johns’ portrayal of Wonder Woman. I mean, this warrior princess is an iconic character; she has been around long enough to have survived more than a few rough patches in her portrayal, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one as bad as Johns. Actually, bad isn’t a strong enough descriptive term. Her portrayal sucked. Every time she appeared on the page I cringed to see what she was going to do or say next. It was bad. Really bad. I won’t say anymore.
Overall, this book was just a mixed bag: great art, so-so story. Ultimately, it was good enough for me to want to see where it all went, but I’m not sure my desire to continue was due to this volume or just because I’m a Justice League fan.