After months of anticipation, DC Comics has finally released the first publication in its New 52 re-launch; Justice League #1. They have renumbered fifty-two of their most popular series, from Aquaman to Superman, and are writing fresh new storylines for these iconic characters.
This radical overhaul comes amidst years of declining print sales and the comic book giants made headlines when they announced their decision to reboot their catalogue. Will this new endeavour help to rejuvenate the industry? Only time will tell.
Justice League #1 was their first release and was completely sold out with 200 000 copies. This seems like a paltry figure compared to former years but, in today’s terms, that is an incredibly high figure. DC has also made the inevitable decision to release each issue digitally the same day as print editions hit comic book stores.
Justice League #1 lays the groundwork for how Earth’s greatest ensembles of heroes come together. We are introduced to only four members of the Justice League. Batman, Green Lantern, Cyborg and Superman, DC seems to want to develop their back-story slowly and methodically.
What strikes one immediately in this new edition is how simplified the dialogue between the characters are. The story unfolds simply as well, a tactic employed by DC to attract a younger readership, no doubt.
The action takes place five years in the past, our superheroes are unknown and only starting their careers, only Batman has been around for a couple of years and is hunting down a dark threat. They don’t know each other and when they do meet there is a fair amount of hostility between them as they get to know each other.
Surprisingly, Green Lantern and Superman are portrayed more like their Golden Age incarnations. The few frames we encounter the caped crusader he comes across as more violent and impulsive than previously portrayed. Similarly, Green Lantern is more brash and arrogant.
The artwork is well done and the characters’ costumes are touched up as well. Superman’s red underwear is gone and replaced with a blue one and his cape is more fused into the rest of the outfit. Green Lantern’s ring powers are quite eye-catching and the colours are bright but not too saturated.
While not everyone will enjoy the straightforward writing style and slow revealing of Justice League characters, it is a good first effort and DC has to try to appeal to a younger audience to increase readership.