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Shadowhawk and Bane of Kings take a look at the first ever issue of a new Justice League title from DC Comics.
“A promising start to what seems like some really hilarious madcap adventures with a dose of seriousness.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields
“Jeff Lemire gets the newly formed Justice League United off to an excellent start. Count me in for the long haul.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
The Justice League books have seen a lot of turnover in the New 52. Books like have Justice League International and Justice League of America have come and gone while others like Justice League Dark have gained popularity and have managed to be incredibly consistent since their launch. Joining these varied titles is Jeff Lemire’s Justice League United, which basically gives you a Justice League that originates in Canada and goes on to have some madcap adventures in space, or so it seems from the first issue, although it isn’t all humour and fun of the fun kind. More the opposite.
Jeff Lemire has completely turned around Justice League Dark (when he was on the title) and Green Arrow for him. His run on both titles has been nothing short of spectacular and in Justice Leauge United #0 I see some strong shades of that. Fact is that Jeff is an incredibly talented writer, and although this issue isn’t his best yet, it is also one of the most promising first issues I’ve read in the New 52. And part of that charm is the characters that Jeff is bringing together for the story, which itself promises to be pretty awesome.
The issue jumps back and forth a little in the beginning since Jeff sets the story in media res. Much of it is told flashback style, and that kind of works to its advantage since it provides a clear reference point for where Jeff wants to take the story in. It also serves to ground the whole thing, characters and seeing, so that it is easy to relate to them and want to come back next month for Justice League United #0.
The story here isn’t particularly intriguing but it has its charms nonetheless. The banter between Animal Man and Stargirl is one of the best things about this issue, and that is something that I’m definitely looking forward to in the future issues. With this issue, Jeff shows that he has a good handle on all these characters and that he really understands them. If he can maintain in the next few issues then I don’t see why this series cannot become one of DC’s best.
Mike McKone does the art here with Marcelo M. Maiolo doing the colours and Carlos M. Mangual doing the letters with McKone and Gabe Eltaeb credited as the cover artists. McKone’s artwork is quite good in this issue, but it could use some Polish, especially where his characters’ faces are concerned. A bit too warped in some cases, and that pulled me out of the story since there was already so little time to get in touch with all of these characters. But, overall McKone does a fairly good job of things and with Marcelo Maiolo in the mix, things are even more relaxing than before.
Overlal, not a bad title. It certainly has a lot of promise.
Bane of Kings:
Writer: Jeff Lemire | Artist: Mike McKone | Colourist: Marcelo Maiolo | Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Top comics writer Jeff Lemire teams with superstar artist Mike McKone for the all-new monthly series JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED, starring the new team of powerful heroes Earth calls Justice League Canada!
In the aftermath of FOREVER EVIL, Adam Strange is caught up in an adventure across the far reaches of the cosmos that will unite an unexpected team of heroes including Supergirl, Hawkman, Green Arrow, Stargirl, Martian Manhunter and Animal Man – but if they’re on the team, who exactly is Canadian? Plus: Don’t miss the debut of a new Canadian hero who will have a huge effect on the group!
Justice League United #0 sees the launch of a brand new series by Jeff Lemire, one of DC Comics’ best writers, in the wake of the cancellation of his Animal Man series. So far he’s making Green Arrow the best book on DC’s shelves right now and he’s certainly getting off to a strong start with Justice League United, which is basically a different version of the Justice League, only in Canada.
This book also acts as a replacement for the Justice League of America series, handling with a good teamup in the likes of Supergirl, Adam Strange, Green Arrow, Animal Man, the Martian Manhunter, Stargirl and the brand new Canadian team member, Equinox. It’s a very interesting team no doubt inspired by what titles Lemire has written in the past, as well as featuring members from the aforementioned JLA series – with Martian Manhunter, Stargirl and Green Arrow being regular members on that team.
Lemire gets the team dynamic very well. Even though this is a #0 issue it really shouldn’t have been anything other than a #1, with a good look into the characters and manages to give most of them the right amount of page time so that readers get a goo glimpse at all the characters involved. There’s Adam Strange, Animal Man and Stargirl who receive the most of the issue’s attention, whilst Supergirl is only reduced to brief appearances in comparison – the latter of which oddly still seems to be in her pre-Red Lantern guise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Kara as a character, but I’d like at least some explanation as to whether this has happened before she gets the ring or if there is a situation which causes her to lose it. Because it just feels odd having her in three books (Red Lanterns, Supergirl & Justice League United) at the same time.
Mike McKone takes artistic duties for this series and whilst he may not quite reach the levels of other Lemire co-worker Andrea Sorrentino, there’s still some solid pencils going on here, and when aided by Marcelo Maiolo on colours, the book looks solid with the potential for even better artwork later down the line.
However, there is a few elements of confusion here mainly due to the scheduling of Forever Evil that also affects a lot of DC’s comics that are released this month – why are Animal Man and Stargirl in Canada? We open with those two and the appearances of multiple characters are not explained yet as well as the aforementioned problem with Kara being a Red Lantern. But these problems are not Lemire’s fault, and as long as he keeps putting out high quality titles, I’m down for it.
The location switch to Canada helps make this book feel different from both the regular Justice League book and Justice League Dark. It also allows for Lemire to handle the newcomer, Equinox, very well and it’ll be interesting to see how she continues to interact with the rest of the team going forward. This was a pretty solid start for the title regardless of any problems though and it’ll be interesting to see what happens going forward.