Written by DAN JURGENS/ Art by AARON LOPRESTI & MATT RYAN
Colors by HI-FI DESIGN / Letters by TRAVIS LANHAM
The return of Justice League International was a welcome sight for many fans of the Keith Giffen/J.M. Dematteis run when it was announced as part of the DC New 52. But while the first issue features many familiar faces, the series doesn’t seem to pack the same punch.
Writer Dan Jurgens seems to be going through the motions with this one. The director of the United Nations , Andre Briggs, wants to create an international task force to counter threats around the world. He gets a bunch of heroes from across the globe and there we have it. Once we have the characters together though, we get a sense of where this is going. From the outset, this looks to be one of those “a band of misfits learns to work together and eventually becomes a team that can handle anything” kind of stories. Guy Gardner comes off particularly one note, whining to Batman about not being the leader, getting angry and flying off. But I don’t think anything is worse than the frequent exchanges between the Russian, Rocket Red and China’s August General in Iron. We get it, Mr. Jurgens, Russia and China don’t like each other. The appearance of Batman seems like it’s supposed to bring some clout to the team but he hardly seems like the type that would go out of his way to make sure that there is a connection between the Justice League and the JLI.
Unfortunately, even as this “team” argues it’s way to its first mission, we don’t learn anything about the characters. We get shells of personalities and in the case of Godiva and Vixen, no clear indication as to what their powers even are! There is no reason to care about these characters. A big threat is revealed at the end of the issue but the magnitude of its presence is not really felt. It’s an empty reveal.
Aaron Lopresti does a good job on this issue though. The guy just knows how to draw superheroes. He really succeeds at playing up certain parts of the characters personalities. While Booster Gold looks and poses like a leader, Lopresti is excellent at communicating the complete buffoon bubbling underneath the surface though Booster’s facial expressions. But while Lopresti excels at smaller character-driven moments, he struggles to find balance when forced to draw the whole team in a panel fighting. As a whole, the art on this book is solid. It services the script but it doesn’t go out of it’s way to reinvent the wheel. This works for a book like Justice League International but the script drags it down so much that the art never seems particularly exciting.
Justice League International has potential. It’s only been one issue and hopefully it worked out some of the growing pains. But other comics have done the “getting the team together” story much greater justice and fans planning to stick with this iteration of JLI will have to pray that it starts picking up soon. Unfortunately, it looks like Vixen’s dialogue on the last page might be a self fulfilling prophecy, “This’ll be over–before it’s begun!”
WRITING: 1.5 / ART: 3.5 / OVERALL: 2.5