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September 9, 2011 / MojosWork

Justice League International #1

Rating: 2/5

 

Synopsis: With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International. Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust – but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?

Writer: Dan Jurgens

Artist: Aaron Lopresti

Cover Price: $2.99

Page Count: 32

SPOILERS BELOW

My weekly pull list included four of “The New 52” DC books, Justice League International #1 being the last one to review. (See my thoughts on Action Comics #1, Green Arrow #1 and Detective Comics #1.)

The A+ of the B-Team
I’m not entirely sure what drove me toward this book. I’m not reading ensemble team books to get my dose of Batman, so it’s not him. Guy Gardner is the red-headed (literally) step-child of the Green Lantern Corps. Definitely not his appearance that drove me JLI. I have no idea who any of the cover characters are aside from Booster Gold, and I have to say, he’s always looked cool. That he’s a time-traveler from the future who wants to be a hero for the fame is one of the greatest origins in comics history. It can be campy like The Tick, or as serious as Watchmen. He has so many angles to explore. I wish he had his own solo book debuting alongside these other 52 books. (I guess that would ruin DC’s obsession with the number.)

Well, that answers my first question. I bought JLI for Booster Gold, and I think Dan Jurgens delivered a few good BG moments, the best being the wannabe’s arrival at the Hall of Justice. I love that everyone – readers and characters alike – are aware of Booster as a B-lister. Everyone except the man himself. His disbelief at being a part of a different, second rate Justice League is a classic burn for a narcissist like him.

The B-Minus Team
The rest of the cast is rounded out by Fire, Ice, Vixen, Rocket Red, August General in Iron (what?), and Godiva. Never heard of these international superheroes? Well, I got nothing for ya, cuz neither have I. I’m assuming DC wants to make an Avengers-like franchise out of the Justice League with a handful of spin-offs and satellite teams, so they’ve got to start somewhere. I don’t think this group of no-names is the way to go, though. It sounds like the All-New, All-Different X-Men of 1975, with disparate personalities from the four corners of the globe, but it reads more like Avengers West Coastof 1991.

Potential, rejected, and actual members of the JLI. Almost none excite me. Not an auspicious first page.

The obligatory bickering between know-it-all Russian Rocket Red and Chinese warrior August General is every bit boring as it is telegraphed. Gold tells them that in the future, Russians and Chinese will be great allies. It’s a nice nod to Booster’s origin, if it were referenced at any other point in the story that he’s a time traveler. But since he isn’t,  this seemingly inside joke serves no purpose other than to confuse readers, which sounds like the antithesis of what you should do if you’re going to relaunch your entire line to acquire new money and eyes. Is Booster Gold crazy? Psychic? It’s a sloppy introduction to an introductory story.

Godiva’s the sexpot looking to get into anyone’s pants, and my money is on the team captain, with a probable love triangle including Guy Gardner. Batman, the DC Wolverine, will probably stick around in the series, ensuring he reaches quota and appears in 50% of all new titles. The rest of the cast haven’t made much of an impression, aside from Gardner refusing to shack up with this island of misfit heroes, but he’s on the front cover, so he will doubtless be joining the squad sooner rather than later.

C-Minus Story
I’m not interested in Batman solving the mystery of why the government would sponsor a team spearheaded by a lovable buffoon like Booster Gold, especially because the motives were revealed to readers at the onset of the story: The head of U.N. Intelligence, Andre Briggs, aka Ultimate Nick Fury sans eye patch, wants a team of puppets whose strings he can pull. It’s a logical exaplantion, but so much so that if there is any deeper conspiracy at play, it’s going to come across as a forced, mid-series retcon. If the conspiracy theory of Booster’s dubious appointment as team leader was the focal point from page one, this would have been a much more interesting read. As it is, the story just doesn’t do anything for me, and I’m not the least bit interested in the Signal Men, unless they’re directing traffic away from this title.

Money's tight. The best you got a subterranean giant robot? Next.

Sorry, JLI, you do not make the cut.  Too bad, because I do enjoy the able penciling of Aaron Lopresti. Maybe he should draw a Booster Gold solo series.

Doesn't this Lopresti panel look like Frank Cho art? (That's a compliment.)

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