Justice League of America #1 - Mania.com

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  • Issue: Justice League of America #1
  • Written by: Geoff Johns
  • Art By: David Finch
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Series:

Justice League of America #1

The latest JLA sister title

By Tim Janson     February 25, 2013
Source: Mania.com

It’s time again for the next wave of DC Comics’ New 52 titles, this being the 4th wave.  I have been skeptical of the New 52 since the beginning but I will give DC credit for one thing…they are giving just about every character in the DCU a chance to sink or swim.  I can’t tell you how many times “back in the day” I had hoped that this character or that character was given their own title.  Clearly DC isn’t afraid to throw titles at the wall to see what sticks as there have already been over 15 titles canceled.  And you know what?  Why not?  Why not let the readers and the consumer make the decision for you?  I mean did most people know that titles like Voodoo, G.I. Combat, OMAC, and Static Shock were not long for this world?  Sure, but hey rather than a bunch of writers, editors, and marketing twits sitting around a conference room and trying to make predictions on what fans will buy, make it simple, give everyone their title and see how they do.

Which brings us to Justice League of America, not to be confused with Justice League.  The new JLA fills the gap left by the canceled Justice League International and is another attempt by DC at creating a successful second title featuring their premiere super team.  However it is safe to say that these are not exactly partner teams.   Already in charge of the Suicide Sqaud, the new JLA is also the project of Amanda Waller who wants a Justice League team which she can control, which she cannot do with the current main team.  In her own words she wants a “league that isn’t hiding twenty-two thousand miles above us in a satellite.”

To this end she recruits, or perhaps coerces is a better term, Colonel Steve Trevor to help.  Trevor will not only act as a liaison but also help decide who should be on the team as well as trying to recruit who he wants as the team leader.  The team goes after the new Green Lantern, Hawkman, former JL member the Martian Manhunter, Vibe, Katana, Stargirl, and Catwoman.  Coincidentally, this new wave of titles also features Katana and Vibe getting their own solo titles.  I’d hazard to guess both will be canceled within a year.

But again, that is the whole point of the New 52.  With Waller in charge we’re maybe looking at a team that is a Justice League/Suicide Squad hybrid.  Does this team have enough star power to last?  That’s the key question.  At first glance I would say no but what it does have going for it is writer Geoff Johns who perhaps understand the JLA better than any current writer and unlike self-absorbed writers like Bendis who looks at characters like his personal playground, Johns actually respects the characters and respects their history.  

This is a standard first issue which is used to set the table for the future.  Finch is a fine artist and has proven his ability to handle the daunting task of handling team books in the past.  This is a wait and see book.  I think the book will need some more heavy hitters to survive in the long term.


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jedibanner 2/25/2013 6:29:48 AM

Bendis bashing Tim, really?

If there is one guy who's broug back life into characters and still respect their history, it's Bendis...but that's just me...and a lot of people who bough his Avengers book again and again and again.

Now for the JLA book, I though it showed promises and was interesting. I love Finch's art so that's already enough to buy the book IMO but the story is nothing new yet interesting with these type of characters thrown in the loop...but like you said, it's a wait and see book for now.

millean 2/25/2013 8:09:30 AM

I was disappointed in the book, as nothing really happened.  I guess this setup issue was a necessary evil, but I just can't get excited about this lineup.  I'm going to give it a chance, though.  My over/under on the number of issues before it gets canceled is 10.

tjanson 2/25/2013 8:35:20 AM

Jedi...I will respectfully disagree...Bendis, in my opinion, is about the worst thing to happen to comics in the last 20 years.  But I will agree that his is the perfect work to appeal to a lot of easily led fans who think that every storyline has to involve the end of the world/universe or that think you have to kill characters off on a semi-regular basis.

jedibanner 2/25/2013 8:49:21 AM

Hehe, you can almost sense you were holding back Tim.

Easily led fans? Wow...

But isn't the goal of the Avengers or JLA or any group of that magnitude to be involved in world/universe ending issues and only their grouping can prevent that possible end?

Heck, even the way he wrote Spider-Man was spot on Vs the actual book of Spidey which isn't worth anything anymore. The idea to bring Wolverine ans Spidey and Cap and Thor and Iron Man together again was just great. It SHOULD be like the JLA, bring all your most popular, most imporant characters in one group and then it's even more interesting.

And when you consider that even though some didn't like certain characters dying and changing their minds a few time, it was done with logical steps and though process. Secret War started to divide some people, House of M really affected everyone in the M universe, Civil War just flat-out seperated friendships and love (even though he didn't write it, he used it to his advantage in all his books), Secret Invasion added doubt and distrust oover everything that happened so far and then Siege closed the loop with a glence of hope to bring everyone together again regardless of how they felt and how they fought earlier, they were all heroes ready to fight evil.

How can all that not have a positive impact on the characters and how he wrote the stories?

I think he deserves the recognition he's been getting and we can't deny his coming to Marvel has revolutionized how Marvel aproaches their character and events (I mean, fear itself, how horrible was that...).

shac2846 2/25/2013 9:12:26 AM

 Bendis is a great writer. I posted about this earlier but I know there are a lot of people that have Busiek's run before a few years before bendis took over. I have both Busiek's and Bendis's run and while Busiek's was good I would definitely without a doubt but Bendis's avengers work ahead. Then again that's just me. I think it's funny when people bitch about bendis but before he took over avengers was a book that dip in and out of sales. Bendis has people coming back to the sinlge issues and buying the trades. 

spiderhero 2/25/2013 10:20:12 AM

tjanson: You really need to explain why you think Bendis is the worst thing to happen to comics in the last 20 years. I'm not being antagonistic, but such an opinion would seem to be baseless.

I'll give 2 reasons he's great for comics:

#1 Sales. Sure, the bottom line can't be the #1 concern - I'm looking at you 90's- but he has done VERY good things for the health of Marvel as a company.

#2 His writing is very character driven. He establishes a conflict, then works out how each character would respond in the situation. Now, this one is more subjective that my first point, but I think character driven stories are much better than: What cool or crazy thing would the fanboys like to see happen?

For myself, he's my favorite Marvel writer at the moment & has been for some time. I think he's one of, if not the best things to happen to comics in the last 20 years.

mtaffer 2/25/2013 10:36:30 AM

Bendis did Ultimate Spider-Man which is the best incarnation of Peter Parker ever!

I didn't even like Spider Man, and Bendis' portrayal of Peter made it my favorite comic of all time.

And Bendis also did Powers! 

Also, he is getting great reviews with the new X-men titles.

Yeah, I don't get the Bendis hate at all.

tjanson 2/25/2013 10:49:24 AM

Guys...sorry it's my tastes.  Shac..ya any writer could have been made the Avengers a top seller if allowed the creative freedom to do what he did.  Jedi mentioned his storylines...  Does everything have to involve the deconstructiing of the characters?  These stories are rabbit food.  Jedi what I meant by "easily led" was bait, I admit it.  But ya, people gravitate towards hype.  The Death of Superman sold a bazillion copies...but was it great writing?  No it was Superman and Doomsday beating the crap out of each other.

Look I guess I come from a simpler time in comics.  A time when everything need not be so dark and pessimistic.  you can have great stories about global/universal threats without destroying the heroes.  Witness Roy Thomas/Neal Adams on the Avengers in the Kree/Skrull war.  Witness Alan Moore on his Swamp Thing run, especially the first 30 - 40 issues.  an Epic good vs. evil story on a grand scale where he REconstructed the Swamp Thing and made him relevant within the DCU instead of a fringe horror character.   Witness Starlin and this Thanos/Warlock epics.   There's Roger Stern's epic on Doctor Strange where he destroys every vampire in the Marvel Universe with the Montesi formula.  Shooter's stories on avengers in the late 1970s with John Byrne, specifically the battles with Count Nefaria, Graviton, and Ultron were epic but their heroism shined through  When Thor arrived just in time to save the rest of the team who had been wiped out by Nefaria still gives me chills.  I can STILL remember Thor's dialog on the last page as he confronts Nefaria with a storm of lightning, "Thou Hast dare much villain!  And Verily thine hour of judgment hast come!" 

I see Bendis as a guy who thinks the stories are about him and not the characters.  It's all about "Hey, look at how brilliant I am".  Screw STan Lee, Roy Thomas, Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, Jim Shooter and every other writer who ever wrote the Avengers." 

But hey, to each their own.  I know Bendis has a ton of fans.  Maybe I'm living in the past a bit and I am not trying to be one of those "back in my day kind of guys" but The Avengers was always my favorite title and I was just not crazy about what Bendis did with them. I've sold nearly all of the 20,000 comics I used to have but have held onto my Avengers, the earliest being #13. 

Jeez maybe we should all get together and do a podcast!  LOL

joelr 2/25/2013 12:49:10 PM

Tim, you said it yourself, and good for you to admit it- You are chasing a simpler time of comic book storytelling. There's plenty of fans out there that feel the same (a majority of them DC fans), and there's notning wrong with that per se, but writing has and will progress, and burrowing deep into nostalgia doesn't help the medium as a whole.

I personally think Bendis is the best thing to happen to comics in my lifetime by a gigantic margin. He has elevated the qualiy of storytelling and character to a new plateau. Of course he's not the only one, but he led the way, and the medium is better for it. Dialogue, and characer development have been kicked up a few notches under his watch, and it makes me proup to be a comoc reader. We've been reading the same fan-pandering drivel form comic book "lifers" for so long, they keep recycling the same stories every time they jump on a new book- this villain will show up for two issues, that villain for three... blah blah blah. All treading water, no forward momentum. Keep the fanboys fat and happy, wash rise, repeat.

Bendis moves things forward and challenges the characters. He knows how to interpret characters for the modern era, that's why Marvel doesn't have a bunch of ridiculous characters running around named Booster Gold and Vibe. Bendis is smart enough to pull form more than just the history of comics, he pays attention to film, TV etc. And most importantly- he knows how to visually tell a story, which 90% of comic writers truly don't grasp. He's upped the comic book IQ, and will continue to do so.

jedibanner 2/25/2013 1:29:02 PM

I think it's in that aspect of what Joel mentioned above that puts Bendis above.

But when you say Tim that Bendis writes ala ''look at me, I'm this or that'', I think that's where it comes down to the fact that you just don't like the guy Vs he may be a bad writter.

I've read most of his stuff and I don't see how he can write things where hw would put himself above the characters.


House of M was a follow-up from the old stories involving Scarlet Witch, how is that direspecting the character when it's just following what was already established in the past?

In the old days many stories were written but with huge gasp and plot holes, the way Bendis writes, I see it as it's obvious he's tough of the long run, the effect it will have in the long run.

IN the end we all have our opinion but somehow, I still don't see that much evidence to support your points other then nostalgia...which , to be fair is acceptable.

But I'd be up for a podcast, any discussions about comics is worth having.

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