Comic Review: ‘Justice League of America’ #1

Written and pencilled by:  Bryan Hitch

What’s it about?

Receiving a mysterious invitation from a group known as the Infinity Corporation, Superman is soon united with the rest of the Justice League to face the dangerously overpowered Parasite…and the arrival of an alien armada…

In review

This week saw the launch of DC Comics’ much hyped (and equally anticipated) new Justice League title, Justice League of America from comics uber legend Bryan Hitch.  Best known for his collaboration, as artist, with writer Mark Millar on The Ultimates – the celebrated and influential reimagining of Marvel’s Avengers – Hitch now brings his talents as both penciller (aided by inks from Andrew Currie, Daniel Henriques and Wade von Grawbadger) and writer to the DC Comics Universe.

Reportedly years in the planning and not to be confused with DC’s short-lived New 52 Justice League spin-off of the same title, Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America kicks off with a an extra-sized premiere issue that strikes an effective balance between character, story and epic action.  Titles from a single writer/artist have often been middling at best (Tony Daniel’s creatively flawed run on Detective Comics springs to mind, as does David Finch’s now defunct Batman: The Dark Knight) yet overall, Hitch has managed to deliver a solid first issue.

Whilst this issue largely focuses on Superman and the shocking discoveries he makes at the mysterious Infinity Corporation it’s not long before the Man of Steel is united with Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman and Cyborg to face the threat of an overpowered and oversized version of Parasite.  That just leaves Aquaman, who has his own separate sub-story focusing on tensions between the mainland and Atlantis that will no doubt have some bearing on what’s to come in subsequent issues.

Hitch is an effective storyteller, as a writer he adeptly builds the foundations of the story and its unfolding mystery and for the most part accurately captures the voices of the central DC Comics heroes as well as delivering the epic widescreen visuals and action that will both delight and excite readers.  It’s an unenviable and herculean task but, the odd character niggle (there are brief moments where Batman seems a little too maniacal) and artistic ‘glitch’ (the odd weakness in Hitch’s figure work/character facials), Hitch generally pulls it off.  It doesn’t quite hit the heights of Throne of Atlantis but it’s more than commendable and far above your average superhero comic.

The undisputed talents of Bryan Hitch aside, what’s great about Justice League of America is its accessibility.  Whilst running concurrently with Geoff Johns’ main Justice League book, Hitch’s title isn’t too entrenched in the continuity of the ongoing events of the wider DC Universe making it easy for new readers (or those who are somewhat behind with DC’s ‘New 52’, like myself) to get on board and enjoy these characters and a decently entertaining, action packed superhero yarn – here’s hoping Hitch can maintain the quality and, perhaps even surpass it, in issues to come.

The bottom line:  Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America is off to a promising start with an exciting and epic premiere issue that’s sure to entice readers enough to come back for more.

Justice League of America #1 is published by DC Comics and is available in print and digital formats now.

Cover art by Bryan Hitch for DC Comics' 'Justice League of America' #1.

Cover art by Bryan Hitch for DC Comics’ ‘Justice League of America’ #1.

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4 thoughts on “Comic Review: ‘Justice League of America’ #1

  1. Great review. This sounds very interesting. I’m like you, I’m WAY behind with The New 52, and constantly feel like I’m chasing something I’ll never be able to keep up with. This sounds like it has the accessibility that so many people pine for.

    Out of interest, which ‘New 52’ tiles do you read?

  2. Cheers Gareth, JLA is definitely worth checking out! I’m trying desperately to catch up with Marvel at the moment to give their Secret Wars event some context so my DC reading has lapsed a little.

    I tend to mostly read Justice League, Batman, Aquaman and Green Lantern from the New 52 but I’m at least six months behind on all 😦

    Which titles are you a fan of?

    • Being a comic book novice (most of my knowledge stems from watching the films), I’m still getting my bearings. I foolishly tried to start following multiple titles when the New 52 was launched – everything from the Action Comics to Atom. So many of them were cancelled and so many seemed to change writers after a while that I began to feel disillusioned with the whole thing. I find myself in frustrated sense of limbo now – wanting to be more involved but not being able to keep up. Plus, they are SO expensive.

      • Very true, with the success of comic book films these days the market has gone into overdrive with DC/Marvel publishing so many titles (multiple books for the most popular characters – Batman and Superman have a whole family of related titles for example).

        JLA #1 would be a decent place to ‘dip in’, and if you’re interested in Batman I’d suggest picking up the collected editions of the ‘Batman’ New 52 run by Scott Snyder (volume 1 is called ‘Court of Owls’) – you’d be able to follow that without getting into any other Batman titles.

        Superman Unchained is another good one, that was a 9 issue mini series that told a self contained story (again the collected edition is the best bet).

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