Those words were not only the first of the Justice League series. But they are the first words of the entirely new continuity of DC Comics. Those words would start a new continuity, a modern retelling of the founding of the Justice League
*Spoiler Alert* In case anyone reading this is wondering, my reviews will always be filled with spoilers seeing as how content is crucial to judging material. Any and all readers have now been informer. *spoiler alert*
This retelling would almost guarantee to give us a new change. Geoff Johns was given free rein with this new continuity. I can say with no uncertainty that he did not disappoint.
Opening up issue one, right away we, the audience, see the Caped Crusader in hot pursuit of a cloaked adversary. And who might also be involved in this chased? Well, obviously, a good run wouldn’t be possible without the Gotham Police Department trying to apprehend both beings. Ever the Dark Knight, Batman kept to his trope of darkness as he pursued his prey. And on that day, his prey was a Parademon, straight from the hellfire planet known as Apokolips. As he chased, the audience would not be surprised the he roughed up the battle hardened alien, reinforcing the man we knew as Batman once.
It really showed the resilience of Batman had not changed. As the New 52 continuity was being founded, some who had read comics, watched the 1990s animated television show, or watched the Nolan-verse knows Batman, could be fearful of where batman was headed. So, perhaps, it is just comforting to see Geoff Johns had not forgotten the roots of Batman.
Moving forward, as Batman chases down his alien adversary, I was presented with an emerald illumination from none other than Hal Jordan. Now dropping a green fire truck might be inconspicuous for an emerald warrior, but Batman did not meet his new ally without hostility, addressing it was too bright.
It is here we get to see the stark differences between the two heroes. Green Lantern is all about show and brightness and light while Batman is about substance, secrecy, stealth and shadows. After all, everyone knows his famous line, “I am the Night.” It’s these differences that let us see something for each of these heroes. We see their strengths and weaknesses slowly be put on display; this shows that the individual hero can be beaten. Slowly, it becomes clear that one man cannot stop what is about to happen.
It is here though, that it can be seen that the two heroes being put on display have one striking similarity: Mortality. Both are wholly human. It is good to see that our starting team up be between the two humans, like a representation of humanity all covered in shining green and shadowy black. They are the ones to move forward in the investigation of the alien threat. Slowly as they banter and argue, going as far to let Batman poke at the Lantern, we see the beginning of something important.
It is there that crucial details are showing the beginnings of the League. They show a small seed (not of friendship) but, perhaps, teamwork.
As they move forward, they must use the detective prowess of Green Lantern. Oh wait, the detective is Batman. Well played Geoff Johns, well-played. The two have a spat if they should go to the alien in Metropolis. Oh yeah, you know what that means. It’s time.
The two fly to Metropolis in great speed, making a spectacle as they go. And who should they find except who they were looking for: Superman.
It is here where I applaud both the writing talents of Geoff Johns and the masterful artwork of Jim Lee. They relate the New 52 Superman to the Smallville incarnation in the sense that he was nothing but a Red-Blue Blur. Having easily disposed of Green Lantern, Superman stands before a kneeling Batman sending the metaphor of a man kneeling before a god straight home. But it goes further than that. It shows the difference between them as an alien invasion against humanity.
But with all the metaphors and comparisons aside, the message is clear. There will be a showdown that many have asked for since the dawn of the comics.
And we were left with the lines, “So…what can you do?” Superman’s small question left every nerd dreams fulfilled because finally the two most famous heroes would battle.
Now, as a start to a whole new universe and continuity, I found myself baffled. Every page turned itself in the first issue. Geoff Johns, who I tip my hat off to, provided not only a story but a roller coaster ride for us, the readers, making us beg for more. I know that I begged for more. And I felt anguish at the title, To Be Continued: Batman vs Superman because I did not want it to end.
The characters themselves seem raw and incomplete. To me, though, that is what lends the story real value and credence. Batman is not play a team player, dislikes public opinion, wants to protect the public no matter the cost. He does seem incomplete though. He seemed to want to save the world with no help at all. He is a new Batman that hates any assistance. On the other hand, Green Lantern is explicitly shown to be a new Lantern. Batman even removes the Green Lantern ring from Hal because Hal was not concentrating. This leads to the perfect dialogue between these two individuals.
For me, this is exactly how it should be. Both of the characters are essentially brand new because it is the first. Seeing them in an incompetent light for Hal and a brooding, arrogant Batman makes sense. They have not met the other heroes yet. They have not been influenced anyone except their loved ones and villains, and that might not make them the most stable of people let alone heroes. For me, seeing these iconic beings in their beginnings could have left a lot wanting in terms of development. And it did, but in the best way possible. The heroes we see are, as I have pointed out, the human with the most human of weaknesses and personalities. Seeing their beginning is the adventure. And I am glad I did not miss it.
You’ll want to read this again and again. And while some who would say it was not, I will go as far as to say this was the perfect way to start The New 52 Universe. It was my absolute privilege to read the start of a brand new journey for the DC Comics universe.