REVIEW: Justice League #1

After looking at a number of book with less than inspiring art, I opened up this issue to a fantastic Tony S. Daniel Wonder Woman.  Fasten your seat belts kids, the Justice League is back…..at least artistically.

As the story opens, Wonder Woman is bringing peace to Eastern Europe by smashing everything in sight. At the climax of the battle a major earthquakes shatters the ground.  But this is the first of many such earthquakes around the world, which means that we get to see individual members of the team using their powers to save civilization as we know it…….again.

There are some artists out there whose writing is as strong as their art; Mike Mignola, early Frank Millar, John Byrne and Bryan Hitch.  The problem is, I am not keen on Hitch’s art.  Hitch’s writing is very much like his art, deceives to be good, but under examination seems as cobbled together as his photo lift Batmen from the Rebirth issue.  For example, for the second straight issue, we have a populace controlled by an alien artifact/species.  This is in addition to the Red Lanterns controlling people over in the Green Lanterns book.  It’s as if DC editorial come up with an idea and everyone wants to take a stab at writing it.  Why do we have three book in two weeks covering the same type of story?  This isn’t a new phenomenon; look back at New 52 where the Justice League were dealing with the Amazo Virus at the same time Batman was dealing with the Joker Virus prior to Super Heavy.  None of this is Hitch’s fault, but take a look at the at the last panel of this book and tell me it is not the same rhetoric as the last panel from last issue.

Tony S. Daniels….. I love everything that Daniels draws.  In a similar way to Hitch, Daniels took a lot of heat for his written work over on Batman and Detective.  Still, Daniels has dusted himself off and become one of the go to guys for DC.  On the last Definitive Crusade podcast, I mentioned that the cover to Justice League Rebirth #1 by Daniels was excellent, and I wished the interior art matched it.  Here, I get my wish.  Clean lines, thought out action panels and consistency.  Some artists, when they draw a team book will gravitate towards their favourite character. There is none of that on show here, with Aquaman, for example, getting the same quality of pencils as Batman.  Inks and colors are provided by Sandu Florer and Tomey Morey which help give the art and destruction an epic almost cinematic feel.

Because this book looks so great it would be easy to use the art to paper over the cracks and boy are there cracks.  Team books, regardless of the number of cast members can still demonstrate characterization.  Hitch may like planning a spectacle but lacks the skill and touch to add nuances to his story.  Why does Wonder Woman  feel the need to fight fire with fire? Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz are chewing so much exposition it’s almost insulting to how well the characters are written in their own book.

So far, under Hitch’s watch, the League have had to deal with invading Kryptonian Deity Rao (not saying that’s a recurring theme, seen in DK III for example), a Starro like creature and now this issue.   Surely its about time we can get past this particular trope?

Writing – 2.5 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars

STORY BY Bryan Hitch
ART BY Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea
COLORS BY Tomeu Morey
LETTERS BY Richard Starkings, Comicraft
COVER BY Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey, Yanick Paquette,Nathan Fairbairn

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