By: Rennie Cowan
The reboot of the DC Universe is officially underway. We’ve all heard the banter, the complaints, the laughter, the excitement, the pain, and, it usually goes from one end of the spectrum to another – you love it or you hate it. The most anticipated books are the Justice League titles. Justice League International #1 has hit the stands and the JLI’s new leader is quite unexpected. The new JLI composes of: Booster Gold (as the leader), Fire, Ice, Rocket Red, Guy Gardner (Green lantern) and Batman, though not really. And of course we welcome some new members like August General in Iron, Vixen and Godiva. Overall, JLI #1 is not a bad start, but it isn’t great either. You won’t find any intricate origins because it begins in the heat of the action. JLI #1 ends with a fairly good cliffhanger; hold onto your Starbucks coffee. I have a secret love for Giant robots, so this was an unexpected surprise however do not expect anything as exquisite and colossal as Flashpoint.
Justice League International was created in 1987 by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis in the mist of the classic John Byrne revamp. How fitting is it that JLI gets another startup during this current, all-new revamp? Booster Gold creator-writer Dan Jurgens is back on Booster to give him another rebirth. Unlike the Booster we have seen previously as well as the live-action Booster we saw on Smallville, Booster just isn’t the larger than life, big-headed jerk that we have grown to love through the years. Indeed, you’ll laugh when you read “Is that – Green Lantern?” but this is the reboot and it’s not like there was a whole lot of time to develop a big-headed jerk. Booster is more responsible these days than his former self; and his heart is in the right place, though he is filled with a kind of grim we are not used to. The humor where it should be just isn’t there; not with Booster, not with new member Godiva, and not with Batman.
The United Nations has lost contact with four research teams and it appears, at least to the UN that it is a very important matter; enough to make Batman join the mission on his own behalf. This makes you wonder if, without Batman, this humble little JLI DC Comics title can stand on its own. I think that without Batman, JLI would have been like reading a book about the Legion substitutes. Regardless, it is up to the international super team to uncover the missing research teams. Meanwhile, the United Nations has taken over the Hall of Justice and the people clearly hate this. They picket out in front, raging on about why it belongs to the people. Here, Jurgens wants to build a dramatic opening; it reminds me of the pilot episode for Superboy, the TV series but the disgruntled crowd only made me wonder why the United Nations is so evil in the context of this reboot.
The real drama commences when two disgruntled bombers decide to blow up the Hall of Justice. The bombers effectively set it ablaze. If you have ever studied architecture, which I have, then you will wonder how something made of solid stone can be set on fire. The United Nations is depicted as a ruthless leader without democracy; it’s the evil Empire and so much for the people, we don’t hear much from them after the Hall of Justice is set ablaze. Yes, this plot hole is even more amazing than how the entire Hall of Justice can manage to easily set on fire. Back to the JLI, Booster Gold is all for his promotion while Batman is not as dark as his previous incarnations (at least not in JLI #1). It is a grim world for Booster and his colleagues; the usual humor that surrounds Booster Gold desperately tries to surface but it simply emerges out-of-place. In fact, most of the humor is mediocre and didn’t get much of a slight chuckle out of me. When Rocket Red says, “Will run scan” and Godiva cracks a joke, “How? Going to open up a dialogue with some monkeys?” Are you feeling it?
Godiva is a stereo-typical blonde nugget, and even Batman with his new sense of niceness says to her, “If you’re going to be a member of this team, you have to be more involved, Godiva.” Very good advice, Batman – thank you, Godiva is clueless. Where is her cellphone when she needs it? Oh we discover that Godiva just didn’t want to fight with lethal rock creatures (sorry, animated constructs) and this wasn’t really explained why she felt so strongly this way other than it was supposed to be funny. Maybe she was worried about damaging her nails? Batman’s usual solid, inner coolness and dark humor is simply missing. To put it blunttly, he’s a nice guy. Batman also has a lot of faith in Booster Gold, contrary to him not trusting a single soul, not even Superman in his previous incarnations; rather, he has trust in Booster’s leadership skills.
Booster is still well-hated, or rather, not taken seriously by other JLI members like Guy Gardner, who, with attitude, simply walks out on the team when he discovers Booster is the new commander-in-chief. Nevertheless, the JLI is formed because apparently every government, extension and law enforcement agency is under-funded. With today’s current state of the world economy, this at least is believable. The only recourse for the United Nations is to form the JLI during desperate times; the JLI will represent the nations when in need. As one who has great faith in the creative pool at DC Comics, it is only fair to give the relaunch time to develop, and well beyond the first issue, please. That means, just don’t look at the costume on Superman and say you hate the reboot. Just don’t read the first issue and leave it at that. Keep reading, and if it doesn’t improve by the 3rd issue, or how about the 5th issue even, then you can honestly say you hate it.
I’m anxiously waiting for the development of something great like what we have already seen, namely something like Blackest Night or Flashpoint. Those storylines will come to be sure but not without a few bumpy roads. Despite Booster Gold not being a big-headed jerk, and Batman being a nice guy, let’s cut the guys at DC some slack – this is not the same Booster Gold, Batman, Rocket Red, or anyone else for that matter. Maybe if I had seen Doctor Fate join the team I would have liked JLI #1 more. Still, I have expectations of something better in the future. And there will be; there always is. So don’t dump this title, give it time to mature if you have the patience for it.
Overall Grade: 6/10