Future State: Justice League #1 review

There’s a new Justice League. Some are children of the originals, some have taken on the legacies with no family links. All are fearless fighters for what’s right.

Of course, where there’s a Justice League, there’s a Legion of Doom.

The two gents at the top are original JLA baddies Professor Ivo and TO Morrow

At first glance, these villains don’t seem too impressive, so it’s no great surprise when, the next we see of them, they’re dead.

Then again, they had just committed to a new plan to take down the heroes, so it’s likely a feint. The JLA seem convinced, though, with Green Lantern’s super-CSI skills confirming these are their enemies, and have indeed joined the Choir Eternal.

As they chat at the scene, we learn something of the demise of the previous League.

As a result, the new team’s members are required to keep their identities secret from one another, and friendships aren’t allowed.

Uh-huh.

Soon the JLA members are under attack, and the last page reveal is a winner – bad guys I never saw coming, but who make lots of sense.

Writer Josh Williamson lays out the characters and backgrounds with economy and precision, giving us enough to get into the story without preempting information to be revealed in other titles. Having survived the car crash that was the Wonder Woman/Superman romance of the New 52, I’m happy there’s no obvious thing between Jon Kent and Yara Flor, with hints of love left to the Andy Curry/Please, No Pronouns Flash. Green Lantern is Jo Mullein, someone I know little about; she seems tetchy and to have packed in her commitment to the Far Sector, which is supposedly as distant from Earth as it gets. The Caped Crusader must be Call Me Jace from the Next Batman book, who seems kinder than contemporary versions of Bruce Wayne.

The tiny looks at the new Doom folk are enough to intrigue me; I especially like creepy TO Morrow, half-man, half-metal spider, with a penchant for junk food.

The art by penciller Robson Rocha and inker Daniel Henriques is clear and sharp, with the team members gelling well on the page. I especially like the opening spread, a throwback to the likes of All-Star Squadron #1 but with added kids’ bedroom chaos.

Romulo Fajardo’s colours help the clarity, and his lighting choices enhance the mood. And Tom Napolitano has a ball with the lettering, the script allowing for fun variations on the default font. And there’s a logo for the final reveal which looks to be based on the story title for the big baddies’ first appearance back in the Nineties – it could be Napolitano, it could be DC design chief Kenny Lopez extrapolating from his work there. Then again, that was nodding towards a movie poster… Whatever the case, it’s great stuff, perfect for the moment.

I’ll be back next month for the conclusion of this story, and that’s the first time I can guarantee a second Future State purchase.

This issue also has a Justice League Dark back-up. Actually, it’s more of a co-feature at 22pp, like the JL story, hinting that two planned titles have been combined. I’d rather they had been published separately, as then DC would get a better idea as to whether JLD still has legs. I’d say give it a break for awhile – after the last run, whose opening story went on for more than two years, I’ve had enough Justice League of Apocalypses.

This episode has Merlin gone bad, skies tied to the emotional spectrum and a twist on Ragman. It’s not bad, Ram V is a fine writer, and Marcio Takara – who worked on an outstanding issue of Hawkman last year – and colourist Marcelo Maiolo produce nifty visuals, while Rob Leigh is one of DC’s best letterers. It’s not bad, but it’s not really Future State – the characters are the same and the horrific landscape is just Tuesday for JLD.

Really, I’m tired of JLD. Give me Zatanna back on the regular Justice League, keep John Constantine away from superheroes and don’t let Etrigan rhyme unless the scansion works.

Better still, if DC doesn’t need Justice League Dark as a marquee title, transition the strip back to Shadowpact, which was always more fun.

Dan Mora’s cover is terrific, a classic team debut image, wonderfully symmetrical, and the logo has the classic JLA shield and stars motif while fitting the Future State sensibility.

While I’d rather buy the JL story and be able to ignore JLD, at $5.99 for 44 pages of story, this comic is a good $2 cheaper than it would be to buy the JL and JLD stories separately, so potentially great value. And it’s the Future State book I’ve enjoyed most so far.

13 thoughts on “Future State: Justice League #1 review

  1. I honestly think that my favorite part of this issue involved Andy’s convo with her parents. They are 1) still alive, 2) still together, and 3) have a positive relationship with their daughter (and who ended their convo as my own teenager does with me!).
    I didn’t know that a DC character was still allowed to have even two of those three things… :/

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  2. You missed the continuity issues. Why isn’t Superman a moron here or Wonder Woman a flighty dipshit like they are in the solo titles?

    That Far Sector GL continues to be an irritant to me. I read the first issue of Far Sector only, bothered that we had yet another unnecessary Earth GL and oh so perfect. She could have easily been a transplant from Rann, Thanagar, or any planet at random from the Legion’s UP and told the same story. Now she’s here and better than everyone else. I know she’ll eventually be a footnote like Baz or Kyle (or even Guy seems to becoming) and I can’t wait!

    I like Constantine in JLD too. Solo Constantine is always horror and I dislike horror comics as much as I like heroic magic wielders. His and Zatanna’s relationship is amazing as well!

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    1. Addressing continuity, I know that the Justice League book takes places some years after both the Superman and Wonder Woman titles. So there’s that at least.

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    2. I got about as far as the second line of the Far Sector writer NK Jemison’s wiki page and decided I couldn’t be bothered with trying Far Sector: ‘Her fiction includes a wide range of themes, notably cultural conflict and oppression.’ I had enough of Green Lantern ‘relevance’ in the Seventies. By all means slip the occasional message in, but it sounds as if comics would be the vehicle rather than the end in themselves.

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      1. I haven’t read any of Jemisin’s prose fiction, but I’ve very much enjoyed Far Sector, which I don’t find to be preachy or particularly message-driven. (On the other hand, I’m quite fond of the O’Neil-Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow, so maybe take that with a shaker of salt. 🙂 )

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    1. If memory serves, we don’t actually get the origin until several chapters in — at the beginning, Jemisin just throws you into the middle of her space-police procedural plot. It’s work sticking with it, IMHO, but I’ll understand if that’s more of an investment than you want to make. 😉

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  3. Put me down as another booster of Far Sector. I’ve really been remiss in my plans of writing a review of the story so far for you, Mart, but every time I planned to, there was a new issue just around the corner. (And, yep, a new issue comes out in a week or two. Maybe then!)

    I agree — the lead story in this was terrific, and the JLD backup was pretty run-of-the-mill. I think JLD will benefit from being a 10-page backup, actually. It’s a series that needs more focus than it usually gets; both Ram V & James Tynion have let the stories sprawl. I think a 10-page version will be punchier and more direct…and thus, more fun.

    But as for the lead story, I liked the team a lot, and I never saw those bad guys coming. It’s a rare comic that can surprise me like that. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

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