Ever been to a movie that you knew was going to look good, and have cool explosions, but which you were pretty sure was going to end up being pretty shallow as a story, more style than substance? And you sit through this movie, hoping it gets better, when in reality it just keeps getting worse, until it’s finally over and you’re relieved simply because it it’s over, and all you have to show for it is less money in your wallet? That’s pretty much exactly how I feel about this inaugural arc of Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. I read a review elsewhere that quite aptly compared this arc to a Transformers movie, in so much as it looks nice, but falls apart the longer it goes on, with the story getting thinner, and more and more reliance on bit set-pieces which start to feel overly long and drawn out because there isn’t anything else they have for you to see.
What absolutely baffles me about this comic is how it ended up being this disappointing and lackluster, given the A-list talent on the book. This is perhaps the worst Geoff Johns-written comic I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading, the characterization is paper-thin, if that, the villain is barely developed, Apokolips is barely developed... Considering that this title is the flagship title for the line, and the entry point (hopefully) for new readers, the title has failed on every level to actually engage the new reader, and provide them with the information necessary to know all the players, and enjoy their portrayals.
The script is terrible, the dialogue between the various characters is atrocious, and I can’t stand this interpretation of these characters. The team is basically a collection of jerks, and although that might be fine for a book like The Ultimates, it really disheartened me that this was being done to the Justice League. The classic view of DC Comics’ heroes is rose-coloured, these adored superheroes who work well together towards a common goal, and this series is trying far too hard to make the characters edgy, and not get along, as well as making them hated and feared, at least at the beginning of the series. Cyborg gets such ridiculously thin characterization, but apparently can now easily hold his own against Darkseid and his ilk, can master the systems in his body, and can hack into MOTHERBOXES to open boom tubes? This was a painful read, from beginning to end.
Jim Lee is a talented artist, but this issue looked overly rushed and sloppy, there’s far too many inkers on the book to maintain a sense of continuity and consistency. There’s even a full page here that is just a blank page, with sad little scratches that are pretending to be a small image of the characters on it. This is a very disappointing issue for Jim Lee, there’s a real lack of detail, and an overabundance of characters lacking the appropriate detail-lines on their bodies/costumes.
This comic book truly is summer blockbuster, complete with better artwork than is on a lot of books, but not as good as it could have been, with some noticeable flaws. The story is paper-thin, the characterization almost non-existent, and I’m glad this arc is finally over so I can leave this book and its disappointments behind.