DC’s Rebirth era has been more hit than miss, but with a major Achilles Heel. The publisher’s flagship title, Justice League, had been an inconsistent snooze-fest. Enter one of DC’s top talents, hot off of Dark Knights: Metal and Justice League: No Justice, Scott Snyder.
Justice League #1 comes out of the gate strong, hellbent on breathing new life into the universe’s super powered population. In the era of superhero movie domination, both Marvel and DC have focused more on their big-name characters, shrinking the number of active peripheral characters. This has made the universe feel small and eventually stale.
The tide seems to be turning lately, the flood gates opening more and more. Scott Snyder has been at the forefront of DC’s recent efforts to widen their focus and repopulate a once flourishing world. Snyder’s Justice League looks to be the series leading the charge.
Returning character favorites, lineup shuffles, Earth-shattering threats, and the good ol’ Legion Of Doom. Snyder’s introductory issue promises the classic flagship title we’ve all been hungry for without playing it safe.
Snyder sets the stage in spectacular fashion. Martian Manhunter, the new JL Chairman, is the heart of the issue (and rightfully so). The weight that his return carries is not lost on the writer; patient fans will be satisfied with his comforting presence. As he’s done in the past on his brilliant Batman run, Snyder takes us into Martian Manhunter’s head and shows us the character’s complicated dilemma.
Justice League #1 has a cruising tempo, not too fast or slow of a pace. Tension starts to rise towards the issue’s cliffhanger through a strong script and well-orchestrated dialogue. There’s a sense of pride that shines through in this issue, for both fans and the creative team.
Artist Jim Cheung more than pulls his weight in making this feel like a classic DC staple as well. There’s not a ton of action in the issue, but the spectacle of this story is palpable. Our cast in concerned with the impending doom headed their way, but even they seem to take a second to look around at their familiar settings and get a warm feeling.
When our true antagonists show their teeth, Cheung is the one to sell it. It’s a superbly satisfying display of villainy that’ll surely be a page every reader remembers. Tomeu Morey’s coloring and Mark Morales’ inks make these beautifully crafted panels sing. They give Cheung’s pencils a bold and striking edge.
What plagued the preceding Justice League title was a limited cast with alternating creative teams that never really hit the nail on the head, despite a few solid stories. There was no connective tissue that really stuck and no compelling dynamic within the “vanilla” core of heroes. Snyder doesn’t go to work without an extensive blueprint, which is exactly what this comic needs.
Justice League #1 is exactly what it needed to be. Scott Snyder and his creative team do not disappoint on the big stage when DC needs a JL resurrection. The Hall Of Justice’s doors are open again, to everyone, and the DC Universe is much better for it.