Written by: Bryan Hitch
Art by: Bryan Hitch
Publisher: DC Comics
One of the most anticipated books of the DC You relaunch has been Bryan Hitch’s return to JLA as both writer and artist. The book suggested it’d be a more continuity lite book, with a focus on the seven iconic heroes of the Justice League (albeit with Martian Manhunter swapped out for Cyborg as per New 52 rules). After reading the first issue I’m happy to report this series seems to be every bit as fun and cinematic as you’d expect from hitch, albeit with a little bit of roughness around the edge.
The story manages to be both highly accessible and intriguing, as long as you know who the Justice League are you should be able to jump in with this. Supermen from across the multiverse are being pulled from their moments of death by a company called Infinity Inc. who are attempting to find out why. They believe Superman’s death may hold the key to the end of the universe. While this is going on, the rest of the team convergence on Infinity Inc. and get in a fight with classic villain Parasite. They story offers a lot of guessing and pulls you in really well, I was fully absorbed by the mystery and was excited to find out what was happening. The team-up stuff feels quite fun and looks spectacular thanks to Hitch’s art, however the character work is very thin because of this. Due to being so action heavy it’s hard to really get a feel for any of the characters, basically everyone comes off as incompetent with Batman being the leader, barking orders and such, which drew me out of the story a little. Some characters do get paired together towards the end though, so hopefully future issues will allow better focus on the characters as right now they feel a little thin.
Another thing I felt a bit uncomfortable with was how edgy the script felt at times. It’s hard to describe exactly what I’m talking about, but things like parasite calling wonder woman a bitch and flash almost cursing with an abrupt “oh sh-“ feel kind of out of place here and more like they belong in something like The Ultimates. That’s not to say this is a complete “ultimate DC” style book, but it’s little touches like Aquaman at a UN meeting and Superman getting a little overly angry don’t really gel well with me and feel like they’d be better suited to that style of book. Nothing too deal breaking, however it just felt weird, especially since a lot of the book feels like it’s trying to be a classic DC style book, while that feels distinctly more like Marvel Comics circa the 00s.
The main draw here though will of course be Hitch’s art, and it thankfully manages to look just as spectacular as you’d expect. Everything looks so dynamic with a very cinematic edge, Hitch knows just how to frame a panel to make it look as epic in scope as possible. There are splash pages which look magnificent, but they aren’t over-used meaning whenever they are feels like a special moment, usually marking a great action beat. The heroes themselves too look incredibly iconic with their designs looking a lot more streamlined than a lot of their new 52 depictions. It’s a look that truly fits the title of JLA and is sure to impress comic fans new and old alike.
Overall, despite some being a little rough around the edges in certain elements of the script, this is a really promising start to the series. Hitch has been given free rein to do whatever he wants with the characters regardless of continuity, and from the looks of this first issues he’s gearing up to do some really big things in upcoming issues. If you’re someone who’s never read a DC book but wants to start then this book is an easy recommendation, it’s a great place to start and should remain new user friendly throughout its run. Current comic fans should also find a lot to like here, and without the shackles of continuity we could be seeing some really big stuff in upcoming issues. This is therefore a very promising start and leaves a lot for future issues to build on.