Justice League Origin Review By Deffinition
The New 52 was a strange time for comics. Some series really found their footing, whilst others lost their way. We saw the rise and fall of heroes old and new and in many years to come it may be seen as a monumental era for better or worse.
We all know that Justice League Origin was adapted into the animated film ‘Justice League War‘ but with middling reviews it has slightly soured my memory of the source material.
Putting that aside though, I have enjoyed this book in the past and thought it was a great introduction to the League and the New 52 aesthetic.
So how does one of DC‘s flagship titles hold up more than half a decade later? Does it still stand up to modern scrutiny or is it a clear indication of why DC decided to reboot their universe once more with Rebirth?
That’s what I’m here to find out!
So with that out the way, let’s dive in to Justice League Origin.
Green In Gotham
Opening on Batman chasing down an extra terrestrial I was instantly hit with just how sublime Jim Lee‘s artwork is. It’s easy to forget just how good of an illustrator he is but this story is a refreshing reminder of how talented one of DC’s best is. We encounter Green Lantern and eventually Superman as the team track down the source of the mysterious Mother Box. It’s hilarious to see just how strange each member views the other as and the group dynamic adds a pace that is rarely seen in stories of this magnitude.
Woven into the background of the book is the story of Victor Stone the future Cyborg. Still a human at this point, all he wants to do is impress his father but it becomes difficult when his paternal guide shows no respect for the sport he’s dedicated his life too. It’s a touching human story that amidst all the chaos adds an element that tends to be missing from team up tales.
Cyborg has the most interesting arc and I became fully invested in a character that I often thought was boring and hard to engage with. Gripping stuff.
Batman V Superman V Green Lantern V Flash
Of course most readers come to the Justice League books for action and this origin story doesn’t disappoint. In an epic battle we see some of the Leagues best and brightest face off against one another. Being planted firmly in the perspective of Batman it really helps to introduce just how awesome the characters are in comparison and this story is as much an under dog tale as it is all out war.
Each character gets a fascinating introduction that not only showcases their skill set but also their morals. Refusing to kill one another we really get the sense that each Superhero has a great deal of humanity within them and Geoff Johns has done one of the best team up meetings ever put to comics.
The second act revolves around the introduction of Wonder Woman. Mirroring the ‘ice cream’ scene from the recent film she is clearly unintentionally humorous, with a kind heart, and this makes her likeable and admirable from the get go. In Justice League War I had slight problems with her depiction and felt a lot of the jokes felt flat. Here however they are paced perfect across the page and it’s a joy to read.
We also see the introduction of Aquaman, and Cyborg becomes fully fleshed out (scuse the pun). The torturous realisation that he has become a machine is harrowing and it’s difficult to not put yourself in his shoes. He instantly becomes relatable because of this aspect and I wish that some of his solo adventures had this much common ground with me.
Johns has knocked it out of the park, from the subtle to the not so subtle (Aquaman attacking with a Great White Shark springs to mind). Every character feels like they pack the punch that was needed to make them connect with new and old audiences alike. Johns has crafted a tale that has been made with love and due to this I doubt that even the most hardened DC hater would dislike the book’s standout moments.
Of course every superhero plot needs it’s villain and this is no different. Entering on one of the biggest splash pages I’ve ever seen, Darkseid makes an unrivalled impact. Whilst he could be given more characterisation and motive, the power that exudes from his presence is unmatched. Shattering the group easily it’s a fitting test for the League’s initial outing and there probably isn’t a better first battle that they could have.
Effortlessly abducting Superman he feels calculating and thorough in every move. Realising that the Blue Boy Scout is the strongest member Batman sacrifices himself and travels to Apokolips to get the Man of Steel back. It’s a really honourable twist in the book that helps to cement The Dark Knight as a real badass in the newly formed DC universe. Sure he might not have the power set the other do but in this moment he cements himself as one of the strongest members.
The rest of the team, remaining on Earth, formulate a plan to blind Darkseid, removing his main asset and they finally feel like they might stand a chance.
The Final Battle
Upon returning with Superman from the depths of what can only be described as ‘Hell’ the league unite and return the evil God to his home world. It’s astonishingly well put together and every character gets their moment in the spotlight.
A press conference wraps up the book (similar to the Medal scene in ‘A New Hope’) and we end on a cliffhanger that neatly leads into the next arc.
Justice League Origin surprised me with just how good it still is. If your memory of the book has been sullied by the animated film then I highly suggest that you go and read this…and even if it hasn’t…GO AND READ THIS. Origin is a standout story that really sets off the New 52 with a bang. It’s a stellar introduction to the team and feels unmatched in pacing and art work.
This is the perfect ‘first team up’ book and it’s sets a very high bar for all league tales to live up to.
I can’t recommend the book any higher….
It gets a perfect…