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Justice League: No Justice #1: Crazy Configurations and a Strong Start

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  • Justice League: No Justice #1: Crazy Configurations and a Strong Start

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Justice League-No Justice 1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	245.4 KB ID:	484Justice League: No Justice #1 (DC Comics)
    By Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Francis Manapul, Hi-Fi, and AndWorld Design

    In the aftermath of Dark Nights: Metal, the Source Wall at the fringes of the DC Universe has been breached. From the cracks comes something dark, deadly, and dangerous… so dangerous that the insidious Brainiac has taken it upon himself to create a new Justice League from members of the old, some Titans, the Suicide Squad, and a few surprise guests. The four unconventional groups will have to work together against the threat of the Omega Titans, with all life in the universe hanging in the balance.

    On the surface, there are a lot of things about No Justice #1 you could be cynical about. The four teams Brainiac has assembled seem in some ways tailor-made to capitalize on characters that are in the zeitgeist right now, and outfitting each of the squads in color-coded uniforms could be taken as a plot to crank out a new line of action figures (it’s not like it’s never been done before). But to dwell on these things would be to ignore the crazy amount of fun inside this book.

    It’s not unusual to prove how dangerous a threat is by having heroes and villains teaming up to combat it together -- I mean, how bad does it have to get to make Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman team up with Deathstroke, Sinestro, and Starro the Conqueror? (I left Lex Luthor off that list because he, himself, was a Justice League member fairly recently.) It’s a shortcut, to be certain, to convince us that the Big Bad is, in fact, both Big and Bad, but just because it’s a shortcut doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The bizarre mix in this book leads to some great moments between Luthor and J’onn J’onnz, Starfire and Sinestro, and Lobo and the Atom (having a conversation that somehow never came up during their recent partnership in Justice League of America). The fun that is to be had here comes from taking characters who are normally at odds and making them interact in a forced partnership.

    Then there’s the promise at the end of the issue. The teams are assembled and given missions: to restore a cosmic balance before a set of ancient godlike beings from the beginning of time devour one inhabited world after another. But our pseudo-Justice Leagues aren’t the only characters in the DCU, and the efforts of another group throw an interesting counterpoint on our heroes. This is a Justice League story, but Snyder, Tynion, and Williamson are clearly using the entire DC Universe as their canvas. There’s so much going on that I’m actually impressed by DC’s restraint at not turning this into a universe-wide crossover with tons of spin-offs and chapters in other ongoing titles. It would have been remarkably easy to do, but largely unnecessary. Even with the enormous scope of the story, the plot is straightforward enough that four issues will be plenty.

    What’s more, I like the promise of this issue. Unlike Avengers, which is finally putting together a more traditional lineup after seeming ages without one, the primary Justice League title has largely been consistent since the New 52 reboot in 2011. They’ve swapped out Green Lanterns, and occasionally new members have popped in for an arc or two, but for the most part we’ve had the “Magnificent Seven” in the main League for years now. We already know that three new League titles will spin out of this, and while the main title will essentially be the animated series lineup plus Aquaman, the other two books (Justice League Dark and Justice League Odyssey) sound like original takes on the idea. We’ve had other spin-offs, of course, even a previous incarnation of Dark, but this time there’s a sense that the new Leagues and Titans will be more closely linked, parts of a larger whole, and not just assorted teams that happen to share a name and nothing else.

    On the art side, my love affair with Francis Manapul continues. Aside from having strong, classic figures and wonderfully cosmic landscapes, the coloring work by Hi-Fi has a unique feel that’s unlike any other artist currently on my radar. It’s great line art, but it has a sensation kind of like a watercolor, like there’s a layer of unreality between the reader and the story. For a story of this nature, that’s just perfect.

    No Justice #1 is a strong start to what I hope will be a grand new era for the Justice League. DC’s greatest heroes deserve nothing less.

    Blake M. Petit, who missed membership in the Magnificent Seven by only 9426 places, has been pontificating about pop culture online for over a decade. You can follow him online at BlakeMPetit.com and, if you're feeling generous, check out his books on Amazon.
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