Reader’s Guide to the New DC Universe

Reader’s Guide to the New DC Universe: Justice League

Each weekday, Tim will take a look at what we know about each of the upcoming 52 new comics from the September DC relaunch, one series at a time. Today: JUSTICE LEAGUE!

The Concept and Characters: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, and… Cyborg. The six biggest icons in the DCU, and a character the company is obviously trying to boost to the forefront. Cyborg has had an impact over the years, sure, from his integral role in Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Teen Titans in the early 1980s to his role in the animated Teen Titans kids show in the early 2000s, and DC is making an effort to push more minority superheroes into key roles during this relaunch. Plus, he represents all of us who send text messages, according to Johns.

You’ll note that the title is Justice League, with no hint of “America,” perhaps because Superman not-so-recently renounced his American citizenship.

Or, more likely, because this DC relaunch, what with its day-and-date digital release strategy, is for a global audience. And the Justice League is for everyone. As long as you like your superheroes to be major and your conflicts to be larger than life. And who doesn’t?

The Justice League has been bogged down in recent years with a z-list roster or a series of stories that did nothing more than crossover into whatever event was going on in other comics at the time. This relaunch — and the fact that this comic was announced first, out of all the new books — presents the Justice League as the centerpiece of the DCU for the first time in over a decade.

The Creative Team: This is the big one, with Geoff Johns, the CCO of DC Entertainment, and Jim Lee, Co-Publisher of DC Comics as the men behind the curtain. Of course, their business titles don’t imply anything special creatively, but these two guys ascended to their current positions precisely by creating comics that people wanted. Johns brought the Green Lantern franchise out of the doldrums and to its current prominence, and he is straight-up the most commercial writer DC has. Jim Lee is a fan-favorite who hasn’t done any substantial monthly comic work in half a decade.

Putting this powerhouse creative team on this series is a sign to the world that DC Comics may be launching 52 new series in September, but the seven characters featured in this comic are the ones who deserve the biggest billboards.

Recommendation: Buy it. I’ll be honest: I don’t see the appeal in Jim Lee’s crosshatch-heavy, angular artwork, but I know that almost everyone else in the world seems to love it. Geoff Johns, though, has repeatedly proven himself to be a solid writer of grand-scale superheroics. If you’re a meat-and-potatoes superhero fan, you’ll adore this comic, and if you want a gateway into the core of the new DCU, this is the one to get. If you like things that are a bit less traditional, you’ll probably want to stay away from this one, though. This Justice League is aiming for the mass-market bullseye.


Tim Callahan writes about comics for Tor.com, Comic Book Resources, Back Issue magazine, and his own Geniusboy Firemelon blog.

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