'Justice League' No. 1: The Reviews Are In

DC Comics

The long-awaited and much-heralded relaunch of DC Comics happened Wednesday with the first issue of Justice League hitting shelves.

The book is from writer Geoff Johns, who is the COO of DC Entertainment, and artist Jim Lee, the co-publisher of DC Comics. To say these guys are under the microscope of super-vision is an understatement.

As the flagship of the company and of the relaunch, Justice League is under tremendous pressure to do a lot: it has to set the bar and the tone, it has to bring in new readers, it has to satisfy old ones, it has to be good.

So how’d it do? Mixed results, it seems, although the folks on Twitter appear to like it a lot more than the reviewers.

Some are taking issue that the team isn’t even formed yet and that the book is taking its time bringing the heroes – Aquaman, Batman, Cyborg, Flash, Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman  -- together.

“Give the new audience that you're so desperately trying to entice a glimpse of what this book is about,” write a reviewer at Comic Book Resources. “Because instead, what we're getting isn't really a story about the Justice League, it's a story about Batman and Green Lantern's first meeting, plus a non-Cyborg look at Cyborg's pre-hero life. It's not a bad script, but it's not enticing.”

Said Comics Beat: “This issue reminded me of Todd McFarlane’s first issue of Spider-man. It was so on the nose that it’s hard to take seriously. It’s definitely supposed to mimic video game dialogue, but on the printed page it comes off as not sparkling…This is a somewhat uninspired introductory comic for readers 13-up.”

Bleeding Cool, however, liked what it saw, calling it “a different kind of comic for a different age and it’s playing with the medium well.

“This comic has been criticized for being too slight, too ephemeral to capture a new reader’s interest for long. But I think sometimes people have become blasé to Jim Lee’s work, for the unfamiliar eye it simply looks glorious. And Geoff Johns is mirroring the tack many recent television shows have taken of teasing without revealing. I think it may be a lot more new reader friendly than a lot of people may take it for.”

The more mainstream and pop culture-oriented Entertainment Weekly, however, praises the book for being “very inviting,” giving Johns points for  “grounding us in the new DC universe in a way that a pre-teen who’s never picked up a comic book will be able to follow” and loving Lee’s art: “Jim Lee’s art work is characterized by his trademark brawny musculature that in his best panels also achieves a striking degree of fluidity: Few artists make muscle-bound men move so sleekly.”

It’s too early for any pronouncements yet, said a gentleman for the New York Times. “To conclude anything now would be like reviewing a feature-length film on its first 15 minutes” – which also looked at the comic on iPad, since, in an industry first, the comic will be available day-and-date in stores and digitally.