Now that all 52 books in the September relaunch have been announced, I intend to go back an take a closer look at each one. I’ll examine what looks different, what looks the same and what I think the book’s chances are for success. So, I’ll kick things off with the first book announced: Justice League #1.
What’s different: In all the excitement of the announcement, it may have escaped a lot of people’s notice, but Justice League has dropped the “of America” again. That strikes me as slightly odd since DC also announced a new Justice League International. But really, what’s in a name?
Obviously, the roster of the JL(no A) has changed. The Robinson C-listers are absent. In their place is a mostly all-star line up of Superfriends Batman (Bruce), Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman plus Flash (Barry) and Green Lantern (Hal). That’s a pretty standard Justice League. However, taking Martian Manhunter’s place in the new Big 7 is Cyborg.
It seems like a bit of an odd choice to include Cyborg in the relaunched Justice League. He appears to be the same age as Batman and the others. I have to wonder if his history with the Teen Titans has been retroactively erased. That would allow DC to build some diversity into the new Justice League roster without having to imply that J’onn is a minority.
Cyborg seems like a major player in Flashpoint as he rallies troops together. I suspect he may be getting a major promotion in profile post-Flashpoint. My guess is that he will not be seen as a rookie Titan being given his shot at the big show. I’m guessing he will retroactively be given founding member status much like Black Canary was post crisis.
This is possible because all of the traditional members of the League are having their ages rolled back. If they leave Cyborg the same age, it’s a pretty easy thing to say that in the new DCU he was always a member of the League.
I’m curious to see how DC is going to handle the ages of the original Teen Titans. But that’s a discussion for another day. Specifically, the day I write about the new Nightwing book.
This book was also our first glimpse into some of the costume redesigns of the DCU. Since the most radical redesigns belong to characters who have their own books (Superman, Wonder Woman), I’ll also table that discussion until I come around to the solo books.
Updated: Here’s the confirmed line-up for the new team.
What’s the same: Aside from Cyborg, this group is pretty easily identifiable as the JLA. Swap J’onn in for Cyborg and you’ve got the Big 7 everyone has been clamoring for since around Infinite Crisis. And the premise seems like the standard JLA set-up: DC’s biggest stars form a super-team. Not a lot more was included in the announcement beyond the creative team.
Chances for Succes: Justice League #1 is as close to a sure thing as you can find. DC’s biggest, most iconic characters written by their most popular writer (Geoff Johns) and drawn by their most popular artist (Jim Lee). It’s a creative super team that matches the subject of the book. No way it fails.
There’s also no way it sticks to a monthly schedule. I’m sure DC has been stockpiling issues to keep from missing a deadline for a while. Rumors of a Johns/Lee JLA date back to before Cry for Justice. So it’s possible they’ve been working on this book for years. But both Johns and (especially) Lee have a history of blown deadlines. And those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Expect fill-ins, late issues or a creative team change sooner rather than later.
Creatively, the book is going to be fast food. I doubt expect it to be especially good. But it will be insanely popular and almost impossible to avoid. With Johns writing, it’s going to be the cornerstone of the new DCU. And that’s probably as it should be.
Final Thought: After years of weak JLA line-ups that never came together, I welcome a Justice League that looks like a sure thing.