Very let down by “Justice League” #1 for a variety of reasons. My expectations were really high when this was first announced months ago… I mean, we’re talking about the Justice League here… but the more I read and heard about it, the lower my expectations got. They fell even lower after reading early reviews late last night, and now that I finally read it, I feel that my low expectations were too high.
I didn’t really feel like there was a story in this as much as it was the “Green Lantern and Batman Variety Hour.” Wonder Woman? Flash? Aquaman? Nowhere to be seen except on the cover. Sure, it set some stuff up with the main villain and with Vic before becoming Cyborg, but the bulk of the issue was just banter between two guys.
Looking back at this 24-page story, we got a double page spread with no words, two pages with one word balloon, four pages with two word balloons, and two more pages with three word balloons. (And sometimes those word balloons were just “RRK”s and “HNF”s.) That’s 10 pages right there. I’m not one to think that you need text or speech to tell a story, but this just didn’t feel like visual storytelling to me. It felt like gratuitous splash pages.
Down the road, if I’m reading this as part of the trade paperback collection, I can see why this would be a first chapter, but the problem with me is that this doesn’t make a good first stand-alone issue and the second part doesn’t ship for seven weeks. DC says they’re rebooting these comics as a way to get casual readers back in the fold, but if they can’t make solid stand alone issues and are still more focused on how the multi-part collection does, then they’re going to lose that casual reader before ever getting them.
And speaking of it being a 24-page story… why is it $3.99? A 22-page story comic is $2.99. Are we really being charged a whole dollar for two additional pages and the “sketchbook” extras at the end?
Getting away from the story and more about the marketing of the book, I was also let down by the digital release of the book. There were going to be stores open at midnight selling the book so maybe they would release it digitally at midnight as well? Jim Lee even said in a recent interview that piracy of comics is huge because you can torrent them the same day they’re released. So was it released at midnight like the print version? Nope. Not until 2pm Eastern time could it be purchased for download. A whole 14 hours after people had already bought physical copies. Maybe this was a way to not rub comic shops who were not opening at midnight the wrong way and give them some time to sell some copies? Doesn’t help that DC Comics sent out an email at 4am Pacific time that “Justice League” was available to “buy NOW” digitally when really it wouldn’t be for another seven hours.
Overall, I’m still looking forward to some new titles. “Wonder Woman,” “Batgirl,” “Justice League Dark,” “Animal Man,” “Stormwatch,” “Demon Knights,” “Batwoman” and a few more all have my attention. It’s just disappointing to me that “Justice League” started with a whimper.
I hope this is like when a band you really love releases a crappy first single but then the rest of the album blows you away.