Justice League of America #1

by BradBabendir on February 20, 2013

    At least the book has Martian Manhunter.
    The first issue of Justice League of America, with the creative team of Geoff Johns and David Finch, is a boring, poorly constructed origin story that stumbles far more than it strides and makes an aggressive effort to lose the reader in as many points as possible. The series has a lot of room to screw up because of the name on the book and the characters within it, but it blew more good faith than it should have on issue #1.
    The most frustrating thing about the book is that, conceptually, it’s rather brilliant. Johns has handed himself all of the components to eventually lead into a Tower of Babel scenario, and he’s done that, using his other books as jumping off points, very well. (For those who don’t know, Johns also writes Justice League, Aquaman and Green Lantern (though he’s leaving soon), and the events of those books directly necessitated the creation of a second team). When the time comes for that to happen, and almost surely sooner, the book will be fantastic. But the future can’t do any favors for the present.
    The book is too rushed, too dense and too scattered to achieve any, no less all, of what it set out to do. Johns tries to answer who the new characters are and why they’re chosen, who the leader is and why they’re chosen, who the government supervisor for the team is and why they’re chosen, why the team needs to be created in the first place, all while also establishing some sort of conflict to lead into the coming issues, and it ends up being an overly-ambitious, muddled mess. The events of this book could have easily taken up two or even three issues, and while I might not have liked that because that would be a lot of boring bullshit for three months, it would have most certainly been better this. It’s not that Johns doesn’t answer all of those question, because, for the most part, he actually does; the problem is that it’s a really terrible read anyway.
    Simply, too much happens in too little time.
    Despite the failure of the writing, Finch does a very good job with the art, and most importantly, gives Justice League of America an aesthetic that is much different from that of Justice League. To differentiate between the two titles in look and feel is incredibly important, not only because diversity in art serves much better than uniformity, but because these teams are drastically different and serve drastically different purposes. If nothing else, Johns and Finch understand that well.
    Realistically, this issue was a necessary evil. No matter how much I disliked it, they got the messy, boring origins out of the way, and can jump right into the meat of the story in the second issue. I have little doubt that this will be a great run, but this wasn’t the start that I was looking for.

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