You know, comics can do some silly things sometimes. Silly little things that are so easy to rectify in retrospect that it becomes amazing that said thing happened to begin with. Where am I going with this? Well, I thought it would be good idea to get my massive problem with this issue out of the way right here at the start. Strap yourself in because I am about to gripe about something that you think is probably inconsequential, but in this case, I find very problematic: Comic Book Numbering.
Now, let me first say that I read Justice League United #0 and really enjoyed it. However, let’s suppose there’s a person wanting to get into DC Comics. Let’s call her ‘Martha’. Martha hears about this brand new Justice League book called Justice League United and grabs the issue #1. Her logic is: ‘First issue. Perfect jumping on point.’ Makes complete sense, right? Martha then begins to read inside and discovers that she has no idea what is going on and then learns of the title of this issue: “Justice League Canada, Part 2 of 5”. Martha asks the comic shop owner about this, is told there was a zero issue that she should have pre-ordered and is subtly mocked for being a newbie for not knowing that. Martha never picks up a DC book again and I get to gripe about this for a bit more.
This could’ve been so easily rectified: make the zero issue the actual issue #1 and make this issue #2. There was no reason for the last issue to be a zero issue (I’m even of the opinion that zero issues in and of themselves are rather pointless, but that’s a discussion for another day).
Guess I should really talk about the issue, huh? Okay, here we go:
The issue follows up from the zero issue still split between two stories: Hawkman and Alanna’s escape from a science/prison ship, only to encounter the galactic bounty hunter, Lobo, and back on Earth with Martian Manhunter, Stargirl, Green Arrow, Animal Man and Doctor Adam Strange fighting off a shapeshifting monster. Jeff Lemire definitely has an affinity for the very different personalities all around and has something in here that very few comics have had lately: banter that gives me a chuckle. This is mostly between Green Arrow and Animal Man but there’s a bit between Manhunter and Stargirl. This book feels very old-school superhero-esque and I mean that in all the good ways. It’s bright, vibrant, with some good dialogue and an interesting story.
Mike McKone and Marcelo Maiolo are dynamite on this book. The layouts are very reader-friendly and the character designs are very smooth and crisp, fitting what I feel pure superhero books should be. Maiolo’s colors have been great in every book I see him in, like Demon Knights and Green Arrow. Speaking of Green Arrow, one panel’s color scheme has an almost shout out to the color scheme of that book that I enjoyed.
There are some other problems besides the aforementioned numbering issue though. I felt some of the transitions between storylines were a bit jarring and required a re-read. Speaking of that Green Arrow color scheme-shout out? Guess what? Another character loses a limb! Between this, Earth 2, Forever Evil and no doubt something else I’ve missed, you could make a drinking game out of the dismemberment in superhero comics. Geeze!
Flubs aside, Justice League Untied is probably going to end up my favorite book with the name ‘Justice League’ in it (The Johns/Reis JL is inconsistent for me, but I am curious about its Post-FE landscape. JLD has, for me at least, not been good since before Trinity War). It is pure superheroes with a mass amount of potential. Get on this!