Justice League of America #1 is a comic book that the Revolution has been anxiously awaiting for several months. I thoroughly enjoyed Meltzer’s Identity Crisis and am a big fan of Ed Benes’ artwork. I am very confident that I am going to enjoy this issue. Let’s stop wasting time and hit this review.
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inker: Sandra Hope
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: This issue starts with the DC’s holy trinity meeting in the Batcave to vote on the members of the new Justice League of America. First up is Captain Marvel. Bruce and Batman want him and Wonder Woman doesn’t because he is too young. Next up is Red_Tornado. Bruce wants him. But, Superman and Wonder Woman say he is dead and isn’t coming back to life. Bruce disagrees.
We then cut to Dr. Magnus’ lab where he has finished putting back together Red Tornado’s android body. Kathy Sutton, Red Tornado’s girlfriend, is waiting for his soul to return to his android body. She is upset because it usually takes no more than a couple of hours. But, this time it has been days. Dr. Magnus leaves and Platinum enters and asks Kathy how Red Tornado made her love him. Kathy then flashes back to various points in their past on how much she liked Red Tornado. How, it wasn’t any one thing in particular, jut the general feeling that she knew it was just “right.”
We then see Red Tornado’s soul hovering above Kathy crying next to his android body. Next to Red Tornado is the Deadman. Red Tornado tells Deadman that he has always only been half a man for Kathy and he wants to change that.
We then cut back to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman voting on members. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan flavor) is up and Superman and Wonder Woman vote for him and Batman is unsure. Next is Supergirl. Automatically, Superman and Batman say “No.” (I knew I liked those two guys for a reason!) Next up is Flash (Bart Allen flavor) and Superman and Batman vote for him and Wonder Woman is unsure and is leaning towards Jay Garrick. Power Girl is up next and all three vote for her. Wonder Woman clearly not intimidated by Power Girl’s bust size.
We then cut to Hal Jordan hanging out with Roy Harper. Hal suddenly gets a phone call from Black Canary telling him that Red Tornado still has returned to his body. Black Canary says that Kathy sounds terrible and then asks Hal to come help her. Hal then asks Roy if he is up for an adventure.
We then cut to Black Lightning in a bar getting information from a junkie about a rash of kidnappings of various low level villains. Evidently, Mr._Miracle’s brother is behind the kidnappings.
We then shift to Red Tornado and Deadman in a morgue. Deadman tells Red Tornado that after Multiplex dies a few weeks back, some of his dupes were found wandering around like zombies. This dupe in the morgue collapsed yesterday and is brain dead, but otherwise in perfect physical shape. Deadman convinces Red Tornado that he is doing the right thing by wanting a real body rather than his android body. Red Tornado comments that if he dies as a human he won’t come back to life like he can with his android body. Deadman counters that being able to touch Kathy will make it all worth it. Deadman then tells Red Tornado that there are no guarantees that he will still have his super powers if he assumes the flesh.
We then cut to the big three continuing to sift through candidates. Mr. Terrific is up next. Batman and Superman want him. Wonder Woman says he is JSA. The Atom (Ray Palmer flavor) is up next. Superman says Ray is missing. Batman wants him and says they can find him. Wonder Woman says Ray needs to move forward, but the question is can he. (Yeah! Bring back Ray!) Vixen is up next. Wonder Woman would rather have Animal Man. (Me, too. Hey, does that mean Animal Man doesn’t make it out of 52 alive? Uh-oh.) Superman wants her. Batman isn’t too sure he wants her. Up next is Hawkman. Superman and Wonder Woman want him. Batman does not.
We then shift to Vixen who has received a not from the Question asking to meet her. Evidently, the Question has a crush on her. Vixen shows up at some bar in Hub City and tells the bartender that she was supposed to tell him that she is looking for the Question. The bartender comments that the Question hasn’t operated out of Hub City for over a year. (What? Oh no. Please don’t tell me Montoya ends up replaces the Question.) Suddenly, some people enter the bar looking to inflict harm on Vixen.
We then cut to Deadman placing Red Tornado’s soul into Multiplex’s dupe. The process was a success and Red Tornado is now a man of flesh and blood. And, luckily for him, he still possess his wind powers. Red Tornado can no longer see or hear Deadman, but he still thanks him as he leaves the morgue. Then Deadman is revealed to be Faust in disguise. Faust talks to a shadowy figure and tells him that he did what he wanted and demands to be paid. The shadowy figure tells Faust that he is afraid of Red Tornado. Faust says that he isn’t afraid of the Tornado. It is the Tornado’s friends who will rip out the heart of the shadowy figure once they find out what the shadowy figure has done to Red Tornado.
We then shift to Black Canary and Green Lantern arriving at Green Arrow’s house. Ollie thinks they are here for him when Roy Harper appears in his Arsenal costume and takes off with Black Canary and Green Lantern. Ollie has a smile and is proud of his boy.
We then see Platinum and Gold talking. Gold appears to have a part flesh body. Suddenly someone slices off Platinum and Gold’s heads. It is Mr. Miracle’s evil twin who has come for Red Tornado’s android body.
We cut to Red Tornado in his new human body walking into Kathy’s home. Kathy starts crying tears of joy. The lovers are re-united.
We shift to Mr. Miracle’s evil twin delivering Red Tornado’s android body to his “master.”
The comic ends with a one page splash shot of Red Tornado on the floor hugging Kathy and his daughter. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League of America #1 was an excellent read! Meltzer delivered a wonderfully done story that was nicely paced and well constructed. I liked how Meltzer used Red Tornado as the frame for this entire issue.
Meltzer used the meeting of the big three to introduce the various potential new members without giving the exact line-up of the new JLA. All the scenes with the big three discussing each member and voting on them were nicely written. Meltzer has a good grasp on the way the big three interact with each other. All of their arguments for or against the various potential members were very consistent with their personalities. Batman always goes for a person that he can trust without a doubt. Wonder Woman likes people with experience that she can depend on in a fight. Superman likes people who are nice with good character. Their dialogue going back and forth was perfect and had a nice natural flow.
The scenes with Arsenal and Green Lantern were well done. I liked the interaction between Roy and Hal. Plus, now that Hal is reincarnated, his body is actually younger than Roy. The two of them remind me of when Hal and Ollie were young. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more interaction between these two characters. They have nice chemistry.
The look on Ollie’s face was great when he realized that Green Lantern and Black Canary were there to pick up Arsenal instead of him. Perfect. It was a nice subtle passing of the torch from Green Arrow to Arsenal. Personally, Green Arrow is the only archer who should be in the JLA. However, Ollie has his own title, so I don’t mind Arsenal taking his roster spot and getting some much needed attention.
The scenes with Black Lightning were also good. I have always liked Black Lightning since I was a little kid. I’m really glad that he is getting some recognition and is going to be elevated up to the JLA. Even though he has an absolutely horrendous codename, Black Lightning is a great character and should really grow in the JLA.
The scene with Vixen was pretty good. Vixen is definitely a hottie and I like how Benes draws her. I think that she will make a fine addition to the JLA. However, I was alarmed by the fact that we learn that the Question hasn’t been operating out of Hub City in over a year. My nightmare is that Diversity Dan is going to gladly kill of the Question and replace him with Montoya. Kill of a blanco male and replace him with a Hispanic female who is also a lesbian? Wow! That is two birds with one stone! Even though Montoya is mi hermana, I really hope that she never becomes the Question.
Meltzer also teases the reader concerning a couple of characters other than the Question. Meltzer mentions how Ray has been missing, but that Batman believes that they can find them and that Wonder Woman feels that Ray must move forward with his life. This gives me hope that at some point, maybe Meltzer will bring Ray back and give him a new purpose and direction in life. That would rock.
Meltzer then teases with some vague statements about Animal Man. Wonder Woman wishes that they still had Buddy. Then she mentions how they should all pay a visit to Animal Man’s wife, Ellen. That just doesn’t sound good. I really hope that Animal Man doesn’t die over in 52. He is such a cool character.
I liked that Meltzer gave us teasers on these three characters. This just shows how much Meltzer has in plan for the JLA and any character connected with the team. I think Meltzer has some huge plans for this version of the Justice League that are going to have a massive impact on the DCU. This is going to be very exciting.
All of the scenes with Kathy, Red Tornado and Deadman were just perfect. Meltzer writes a fantastic Red Tornado. There is no doubt that Meltzer likes the character and “gets” the character’s personality and what makes him tick. I thought Red Tornado’s internal debate about if he should relinquish his “immortality” and his android body in favor of real human flesh and blood was heartfelt and touching. Immortality means nothing if you can’t truly connect with the ones that you love. To be able to hold his lover and feel her warmth is far more important to Red Tornado than his artificial immortality.
The scene at the very end of the comic where Red Tornado is finally re-united with Kathy and his daughter was very moving and a rather emotional ending.
Then Meltzer drops a big bomb on us when he reveals that Deadman is actually Faust in disguise. Then the intrigue increases as we learn that Faust is working for an unknown shadowy figure. Just who could this villain be? And what is his plan by having Red Tornado forsake his android body? We then see an evil version of Mr. Miracle steal Red Tornado’s android body and deliver it to his master who is no doubt, the same person who hired Faust to put Red Tornado’s soul in a human body. I can’t wait to see where Meltzer goes with this storyline.
Meltzer’s plotting was just right. I loved how he transitioned from scene to scene and managed to use Red Tornado’s story as the frame to tie in all of the other scenes. The last 9 pages were well executed. Meltzer ratchets up the pace and feel of the story by quickly splicing together the scene with the big three, the scene at Kathy’s house for Red Tornado’s homecoming and the scene at Dr. Magnus’ lab. We alternate each scene with each panel. It creates a frenzied feel to an issue that has been enjoyable modest in speed up until now. Very well done.
Ed Benes did a masterful job with the art on this issue. I will admit up front that I am a huge fan of Benes’ style, so obviously I’m going to praise it. Benes can draw smoking hot women, but is also equally adept at drawing men. Benes can pack plenty of emotion into the facial expressions of his characters. Overall, Benes’ artwork makes Justice League of America #1 a gorgeous book to look at.
The Bad: No complaints at all. This a was a fantastic debut issue for DC’s premier super team.
Overall: Justice League of America #1 was worth the wait. This was an exciting start to a brand new chapter for the JLA. DC was smart to place tons of talent on this title and it shows. This issue combined excellent writing with fantastic art. We got a nice steady start with a solid foundation for what appears to be one hell of a ride. I am eagerly looking forward to Meltzer’s run on this title. I recommend this title to anyone. Give it a try. This is an excellent starting point for new readers.