In case anyone thought the post-Rebirth Justice League might start slow, this first issue proves that isn’t the case. What’s the point of teaming up every major superhero in the DCU if they aren’t going to face an “extinction-level” event every issue? While I lamented that decision in reviewing the Rebirth issue of this book two weeks ago, it works much better here.
Largely that’s because Superman doesn’t have any dialogue. Though the previous issue suggested the book’s main conflict would be getting this slightly emo version of Clark to join the team while simultaneously convincing the other members to trust him, he seems to show no hesitation to jump into the fray this issue. Though that sudden change of heart feels at odds with his previous behavior, it’s easy to accept because that behavior didn’t make sense anyway. Much more believable is Batman’s lingering mistrust of this new Superman, even to the point of telling Cyborg not to contact him during this current worldwide crisis.
In the previous issue, writer Bryan Hitch struggled to form a cohesive narrative. He was doing so much jumping between characters, timelines and locations that the issue felt disjointed, sloppy even. That’s not the case here, instead the pace is downright thrilling. We start with Wonder Woman as she preaches a message of peace to warring humans (nevermind that she does so with more violence). In those panels, as she uses a lightning bolt to send soldiers and tanks alike flying, it’s easy to remember that she’s a demi-god. The character has rarely seemed more powerful or frightening—or more distant from the human race.
Hitch is equally adept with the other League members. Though each character only gets a few pages, he uses them for all they’re worth, reminding us why they’re heroes in the first place. In San Francisco, the Flash saves a little girl from a collapsing building in the time it takes a dropped water bottle to hit the ground. In New York, Cyborg reminisces about his football days as he steps in front of an oncoming train as if it were nothing more than the other team’s star linebacker. Each of them gets to do what they do best and each encounter gives us a better idea of the larger threat they’re facing. While we don’t really learn much about that threat in the issue other than to hear that it possesses ordinary people and calls itself “The Kindred,” it doesn’t really matter. This series clearly isn’t about creating a compelling plot. It’s about watching a bunch of superheroes smash stuff. If you want to be intellectually stimulated, you should have bough Marvel’s Civil War II instead.