New writer, new artist and a new direction for Justice League this week. You might even call it a (sigh) ‘Rebirth’ of sorts, but is it good?
Justice League #51 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? DC is keeping their official summary vague as heck:
It’s a brave new world in the devastation that follows “DARKSEID WAR.”
The most important thing of note is this takes place 4 and a half years after Darkseid War.
Why does this book matter?
Is Dan Abnett taking over DC? Between his work on Aquaman, Earth 2: Society, and now this the guy has his mitts on everything. Which is not a bad thing–Aquaman #50 was a fantastic issue for example. Paul Pelletier lends his artistic duties which have a detailed, character-first style.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The most notable elements of this issue–beyond the fact that this takes place four and a half years into the future (or is it the past?)–is Robin coming along with Batman on a mission with the narration coming from a being skulking in the shadows. While Robin gets his bearings and comes to grips with the idea of fighting alongside superheroes, the Justice League take on a threat that’s business as usual for the team. Robin and the villain’s captions effectively raise the story up above an average “good guys punching bad guys” read.
This story takes place in the future…I think.
Dan Abnett effectively sets up the villain as he (or it?) watches what we’re watching. As the bad guy watches they drop clues as to where they are and why he (it?) hates the Justice League. There aren’t any definitive answers, but with these captions and a few plot twists the Justice League face along the way, this is a solid next issue after Darkseid War.
The best moments occur for Robin as he is in total awe of these superheroes. The characters even reflect on the strange choice to have Robin tag along on such a dangerous mission, which helps ease readers’ minds into thinking this isn’t just some ploy to stick characters in dire situations to serve a plot device. Robin also gets a chance to shine which is nice to see.
Artist Paul Pelletier keeps things interesting panel to panel with great inking from Sandra Hope. Nothing is too dark or brooding and it all has a nice superhero feel. There are no gratuitous double or full page spreads in use, either. This is all about characters talking, working things out, and shining in the moment. Robin looks just the right amount of boyish too, which brings back memories of the 90s–at least for me.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are moments in this issue that made me question whether I’ve missed a few issues of the Justice League–maybe I have, I don’t know, but things seem a bit off here and there. The first thing that confuses me is Robin also known as Dick. Wait…isn’t Robin African American now in Batman? Maybe this is due to when the events of this issue are happening, but it threw me for a loop. The second element is how the Justice League joke and give Batman some roasting about Robin. Flash and Aquaman are sort of childish and seem somewhat off. When Flash asks if they can give this issue’s mission to Zatanna I had to ask myself which Flash I’m reading. Is it like him to want to give the mission to someone else?
As I said in above, Robin and the mysterious villain lift this issue above an average superhero comic. That said, it’s not that much beyond average as much of the battle and dialogue is stuff we’ve seen a thousand times before. It’s the type of read where you must give the creators the benefit of the doubt to see where the story is going, but as of this issue it’s not that remarkable.
A lot going on with the art!
Is It Good?
Aside from feeling a bit confused about Robin’s mere existence in this issue, this is good superhero comics. The team fights well together, face a threat that’s difficult and requires strategy and underneath it all is a long story being developed.