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Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

JUSTICE LEAGUE: ORIGIN by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee

Geoff Johns Justice League vol 1 cover

Buy At Amazon: Justice League Vol. 1: Origin (The New 52)

DC’s The New 52 has hit the ground running, splitting the fan base to a degree, but raising the sales overall, which is a good thing for comics. With all the superhero movies doing so well at the theaters these days, the spillover is a blessing in the medium.

I have to admit, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of throwing out all the previous history of my favorite characters, and it took a while for me to come around to sticking my toes in the water. And I also have to admit that I’m enjoying most of the stuff that’s going on. It’s just … different, but some of it (like Aquaman) is amazing.

Geoff Johns Justice League vol 1 01

Geoff Johns, long a favorite writer of mine, created the whole concept as I understand it, but left the re-creation of the individual character to the writer/artist teams for the most part. Justice League didn’t arrive in the first wave of DC’s The New 52. DC waited a while to let the reinvented characters make themselves known, which I think was a smart idea.

This new origin story for the Justice League is commendable. Like the Gardner F. Fox story that started the original team-up back in Brave & the Bold #28 in the 1950s. The menace then was, like Dardseid in this book, an otherworldly menace and featured pretty much the same characters. Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman were all there, but the Martian Manhunter was replaced by Cyborg in this latest incarnation.

I’m not even going to go into what’s been done to the Martian Manhunter in this revamped world. That’s one of the things I’m not particularly happy about. J’onn J’onzz was a favorite of mine when I was a kid. Don’t know why especially, but he was.

Geoff Johns Justice League vol 1 02

I like this graphic novel. Lots of action, lots of characters, lots of really good dialogue. Batman and Green Lantern duking it out, then arguing is really cool. Both of those characters are well done. Aquaman, of course, is just freaking amazing, but I was familiar with the character from those graphic novels I read (which is really great stuff and I can’t recommend it enough). Wonder Woman seemed a little thin character-wise, just not developed enough. Flash was pretty much what I remember from Johns’s take on him in Rebirth and Flashpoint, and I was happy with him. Superman is just a cipher, really flat, and Victor Stone (Cyborg) was a sad sack who somehow translated into a sudden genius with all the replaced body parts.

I had some problems with some of the story points, like Batman snatching Green Lantern’s ring away at one point (don’t think the ring would allow itself to be stolen – cars have alarms on them, and they’re certainly not as sophisticated), and there was no reason for Batman to reveal his secret identity to GL when he did. Batman has always been the most secret identity conscious of all the heroes in my opinion.

Geoff Johns Justice League vol 1 03

Victor’s relationship with his father is just too much of a downer in some respects. If this is what they’d always had between them, Victor would have given up long before now and gone his own way. And the whole curveball of throwing the alien hardware on Victor after his accident just seemed to be too easy. There was no real explanation that carried weight for me, just a, here’s your origin story. I prefer my Cyborg to be more cerebral than Victor seems to be here.

But the story comes together in the battle against Darkseid and Apokolips. As I said, I enjoyed the action and the pacing. The book is a good read, but I think it’s best if you read some of the solo adventures of the heroes in this new world before you dive into this one.

Jim Lee’s art is fantastic. I loved the way he broke down the panels and changed perspective throughout.

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