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Justice League Vol. 1: Origin (The New 52)

Justice League Vol. 1: Origin (The New 52) - Geoff Johns The ensemble gig is really hard to pull of in the DC universe. Each character seems to have such a different tone and temperature, it's difficult to create storylines that mesh well with such divergent personalities. I mean even the color palettes of heroes such as Superman and Batman are so dichotomous it's hard to put them on the same page. But - Jim Lee is the master and Geoff Johns does a fantastic job reintroducing these characters to each other and to us in this latest reboot. Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg find themselves bumping shoulders as they each try to individually respond to an alien threat popping up around the world.

I'm quite frankly surprised how well Johns avoided the campy sort of feeling we get from these types of mash-ups. Instead, each character has a defined role within the tapestry that is simultaneously serious and humorous. The banter between Lantern and Batman alone is worth pouring through the pages of this first volume. What's really fantastic about this reboot is that it takes place so early in the lives of the characters. Not only are they new to their powers themselves, but to each other and the world. The world hasn't quite decided if these masked men and women are friends or foes. They complain about the property damage that ensues and the danger to the surrounding community wherever they happen to show up, but even better than that: the heroes themselves are untrusting and somewhat unknown to each other. There are references to events that might have drawn one or two of them together in their own individual title runs, but it's good fun to see Lantern and Flash refer to Superman simply as the Alien or referring to Batman as a myth. My favorite bits in the volume are Flash and Lantern's incredulous quips that Batman can't "do anything" (a reference to his lack of super powers). Unlike the traditional league, it looks like the leadership role in this iteration falls pretty squarely on Bruce's shoulders. He has a ton of dialogue and does a lot to keep the team together through encouragement, planning and strategy with Supes acting mainly as muscle and not saying much at all. While I love Superman and love him as the traditional cornerstone of the league with people drawn to the organization and respecting it because of him, I kind of like this new role for Batman. The question is whether it meshes well with the personality Snyder has created for him in the New 52 universe. In the pages of the Batman series, he feels more lone wolf than ever, which makes him feel more social than ever before in the pages of Justice League.

These characters all feel like the traditional heroes we know and love, but they feel young. That lack of experience, that feeling of freshness is what drives this volume and I like it quite a bit. Looking forward to the next arc.