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Saturday, November 08, 2014 

Sound On Sight pans New52 Justice League origin story

Sound On Sight's written a review of the "origin" story Geoff Johns wrote for the Justice League nearly 3 years ago, and has declared it the worst way to introduce them to any generation:
The story follows the expected Leaguers: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and new regular Cyborg as they join together to form the Justice League. Unfortunately, all of these heroes present have been reduced to early to mid-twenty somethings in an effort to make them younger and more relatable. But this only serves to make the world’s greatest heroes a bunch of bickering idiots. Superman is a short-sighted brute, Batman talks down to everyone, Green Lantern bosses the others around, and everyone is constantly fighting over leadership rights.

By far the characters who suffer the most are Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Aquaman’s introduction is almost hilarious as Johns tries to overcompensate for all the years of redundant “Aquaman is useless” jokes by proving how “hard core he is, yo.” He does so by having Aquaman summon sharks and slay some mooks with his trident as the rest of the League stands jaws dropped on the sidelines. Still, Wonder Woman is wasted the most. Johns writes her as a teenager, who’s finally worked up the nerve to break curfew. She acts like a war hungry dolt solely focused on fighting people. [...]
If Johns really wanted people to appreciate Aquaman, he wouldn't have wasted tons of energy focusing on his combat skills and powers, but rather, how he relates to other humans/aliens/robots/elves, and goodness knows what other entities you could think of for a sci-fi world. Ditto for WW. Interesting how Arthur Curry now uses deadly force. Surely that wouldn't work just as well with Hawkman? But then, Johns and company destroyed all those possibilities when they relinquished control over Hawkman to Rob Liefeld, and left no room for Hawkwoman. If quarreling over leadership is all Johns can think of for character interaction, then he's not making the team very relatable at all.
What brings the Justice League together is an invasion of Earth by Apokolips. While that’s a bit much for an origin story, it show promise. Sadly, the threat that Apokolips shows is reduced to a generic swarm of mindless drones. Darkseid arrives ,but he’s really not interesting in this story. The great manipulating and monstrous tyrant just pops in, destroys a bunch of cityscape, and that’s it. There’s no personal relationship he holds with these heroes and barely explanation for why Apokolips is even invading. There’s very little stake as the reader isn’t introduced to what kind of threat Darkseid means. What is meant to be one of the greatest villains in the DC Universe is nothing more than another big brute as he beats up superheroes while proclaiming that he’s Darkseid. It’s just a waste.
It's pretty obvious Darkseid was made the chief villain here simply because he's this gigantic tyrant with huge strength, but not because he has any skills making him match for Doctor Doom over in the Marvel universe. The art by Jim Lee also has serious goofs:
Plenty other people have commented on the excessive stripes on everyone or the lack of Superman’s underpants, but the real problem is that it’s just not smart conceptually. It makes the members of the Justice League look alike in design. There is no reason the Justice League should look like they all bought their costumes from the same store. [...]
If the art calls for comment, I agree that this is pretty sloppy of them, and the editorial mandate declaring Superman can no longer wear red tights was uncalled for. And the worst part is that, in a manner of speaking, Johns is one of those very editors given the very high position he's got, favored by the publishers, who've called him their "chief creative officer". But it's clear he's anything but creative, and his portfolio over the past 16 years has proven that.

Anybody who wants a really good origin story for the Justice League would do better to seek out some archives with the original 1960 story from the Brave and the Bold, where the Silver Age take on teams first began.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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