Are you ready for some Stormwatch? This issue features a lot of Jim Lee goodness. Well, technically not too much other than the cover and his co-scripting duties. But the late Scott Clark did a great job illustrating the issue in Lee’s style.
The original Stormwatch was a super human team sponsored by the United Nations. I’m not sure if there are one or two teams of Stormwatchers, but this issue focuses on the group that is attempting to rescue their field leader Battalion’s younger brother from a group of super-powered mercenaries. In order to save Malcolm, they activate his latent super powers. After the rescue is completed, the team go back to their satellite headquarters.
Battalion is debating whether he wants to continue as a member of this group, as his involvement has led to his brother being attacked and in a coma. Eventually he agrees to join the other Stormwatch unit that is in Chernobyl. Also of note, this whole time Battalion is walking around in his underwear. Clearly he doesn’t have any body issues.
The other notable thing about Stormwatch #2 is that it technically has the first appearance of Gen 13, who are shown in a series of pinups/advertisements towards the end of the issue. The new series was advertised as Gen X, but I would assume that the name was changed to avoid confusion with Marvel’s Generation X that came out around the same time.
This book is typical of most of the early Image/Wildstorm books of the time: they have amazing art but light on story. But it’s still fun to look at, as it’s a bit of early 1990s nostalgia.
There is a lot of stuff going on in this issue. If there was ever a day where the X-Factor should have stayed in bed, this would be it.
The team’s headquarters is a sentient floating battleship, literally named Ship. Before it was X-Factors mobile base of operation it belonged to Apocalypse. He’s deployed a squad of his minions to not only attack X-Factor, but to infect the ship with a virus that makes Ship lose control of itself and start attacking Manhattan. X-Factor are trying to get Ship back under control while other Marvel characters are helping evacuate people from Ship’s path. What’s remarkable to me is how everyone is so understanding of Ship being out of control. Ship eventually decides that the only way it can get back under control is to commit suicide, which no one in X-Factor is happy about.
As this Ship story unfolds, Apocalypse’s plan to abduct Cyclops’ son Nathan is revealed. It turns out destroying their headquarters was an elaborate distraction. The story leads to the first appearance of the Askani Clan from the future, as a woman member has been sent from the future to protect the baby. People from the future travelling back in time to protect a child was a huge theme in 1991, between this plot and Terminator 2.
The issue is interesting from a creative standpoint, as it was written by the combined efforts of Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee and Chris Claremont, with art from Portacio. It’s like a meeting of the minds of the X-creators in this issue. The backup feature is called Apocalypse Manifesto, with profiles of the powers and dangers of Beast and Iceman from Apocalypse’s perspective. These were written by Fabian Nicieza.
Remember when Jim Lee took was at the helm of Marvel’s “Heroes Reborn” era? The first six issues of Justice League felt just like that, except this time Geoff Johns is writing and plotting alongside.
Justice League: Volume 1 tells the story of how the Justice League assembled joined together for the very first time. It’s five years in the past with the heroes still fairly new at their super hero career. Unfortunately, they wind up fighting. Pretty much the first two issues are some sort of fight between Green Lantern, Superman and Batman, as they fight what turns out to be the Parademons from Apokolips.
It’s up to those three–plus Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash (who is super pals with Green Lantern since its the Barry Allen version) and the newly debuting Cyborg to team up to stop Darkseid from destroying the planet. This is a lot more serious than the original Justice League of America, who formed fighting what was essentially an enormous alien starfish.
The story is really formulaic; it ends with them saving the planet and everyone vowing to be there to protect the planet. Unfortunately for them, the public doesn’t really trust the super powered beings running around (much like in the Marvel Universe) and there is going to be a secret government agency following them.
Although the plot was very formulaic, it accomplished everything it needed to. The story reminded me a lot of Independence Day. Jim Lee’s art looks great as always. It was decent. If you are looking for something revolutionary and groundbreaking, this book isn’t for you. But if your looking for regular super hero adventures, this does the trick.
I stopped by the local comic book store on Wednesday to see if there was a new issue of Namor out this week, which there wasn’t. The store was pretty busy with lots of people excited about Flashpoint and the new Justice League book, both of which I was planning on passing on.
When I went to the counter to make my purchase (an issue of Booster Gold I had skipped), the dude behind the counter seemed to be a little freaked out that I wasn’t interested in the hullabaloo of the new DC.
“Well it’s written by Geoff Johns!”
“I’m not that big of a fan of his.”
He looked at me like I was an alien.
“But everything starts from here!”
“Eh…I think I’ll wait.”
He gave up and finished the transaction. So why don’t I seem to care?
I don’t know. The whole things just turns me off for some reason. I’m a big fan of not changing things for the sakes of changing things. And with a lot of what I read online about it makes me hesitant to jump on board.
Mike Sterling had this to say on Justice League, which didn’t make it sound so hot.:
About the Justice League itself…well, yeah, as our intro to this new DC Universe continuity, it’s a little underwhelming. Superheroes meet, they fight, we get teased with the threat of Darkseid, oh hey there’s Superman, and suddenly “to be continued.” All very by-the-numbers, with nothing to intrigue or inspire the imagination. I mean, it looks okay, with Jim Lee turning in a respectable art job on this issue, even if Superman’s new costume continues to appear unnecessarily rejiggered. And I’m calling “no way” on Batman being able to yank Green Lantern’s ring off his hand without GL noticing. I mean, come on!
Comics Alliance’s Chris Sims is a bit more scathing in his review:
Ha! No, but the short version is that this comic is just flat-out not very good. And the thing is, it should be. A comic book with this much riding on it, this much promotion, the two creators who are meant to be the top guys in the industry working with the genuinely exciting premise of doing a bold new unshackled story of some of the greatest fictional characters ever? There’s no reason it shouldn’t be amazing. And yet, what we have here is, as Curt Franklin put it, a comic that reads like it came with an action figure. It’s not that there aren’t good parts to it, but it’s a C- book at best, and as an introduction to the New DC Universe, that doesn’t cut it.
So will I read this? probably at some point. I do like Jim Lee’s artwork a lot, so that is enough for me to want to look at Justice League. And Flashpoint will have some sort of historic impact, and it might be interesting to look at it and see if it holds up. But these aren’t books that I’m outwardly seeking. These are more of a borrow from the library kind of thing then an add to the collection.
So am I mad at DC? No, not at all. It’s a smart business move. They’re doing an all-in wager on building/rebuilding their audience which is totally respectable. While I might not believe that a whole creative shift was the way to go, I do think them jumping head first into digital distribution is the way to go to advance the medium.
The big test if this brand new vision for DC for me personally comes next week. How convenient is it that the three titles that I’m looking forward to all come out at the same time? Hawk and Dove is mostly for my love of Rob Liefeld books. Justice League International gets a buy the characters in it.
Green Arrow is a more bittersweet purchase for me. I’ve really taken a liking to the character since he came back in the Kevin Smith and Phil Hester series in the early 2000s. His supporting characters are just so dynamic, with Black Canary as his life partner/companion, Arsenal and Connor as the sons he should have spent more time with, and Mia being his redemption. The book is also drawn by Dan Jurgens, who really is one of my favorite–and underrated–artists in comics. Both of these are reasons to get excited. But for now, I’m not sure if this is the Green Arrow for me. It’s kind of like if you’re a big fan of Nightcrawler, but there is so much that is different about the Ultimate version that it does nothing for you.
So who knows how this is all going to pan out. I’ll worry about that later.
I realize I’m a bit late with this one, but it’s a fun splash page from Uncanny X-Men #268 by Jim Lee. This has become an iconic depiction of Cap. They’ve used this image for t-shirts, posters, covers, you name it.
With the Captain America movie that just came out, they’ve even used it as a reference for some of the movie merchandise. Don’t believe me? Check out this birthday set. Clearly a homage to this image.
Jim Lee (@jimlee00) posted this image of the new Batman: Hush Unwrapped Edition on his twitter. This new edition of 2002’s year long story by Lee and writer Jeph Loeb is stripped down, just featuring Lee’s original pencils and the text.
Comic art fans can see how much work went into producing the book. If your a fan of Lee, this only reaffirms that. But if you are not, this gives a compelling argument on why he is so popular.
Storywise, Loeb crafted a fun tale pitting Batman against his entire rogue’s gallery and his personal circle of friends to determine who the new masked criminal Hush is and why he knows so much about Bruce Wayne.
You can pick this up at your friendly neighbordhood comic book store and other fine retailers on July 19.
This new picture of the new Justice League by Jim Lee has been circulating around today. The lineup has been known for some time now, but this is a better look at their modified character designs.
Aquaman looks the same as ever and so does Flash and Green Lantern. The one big thing on all these costumes is all the piping that makes it look like they’re wearing some sort of armor. That reminds me of how the DCU characters looked in the Mortal Kombat vs. DC game a few years back.
The big three seem to have the most changes. Wonder Woman is still wearing something similar to her recent revamp, except this new look has no yellow or the jacket. She’s also back to her more traditional style books as opposed to the 1980s stirrup biker pants. Also note the lack of American flag motifs, which I wonder (haha!) was a conscious effort to broaden her global appeal.
Superman and Batman really look like they bought their costumes together. They’ve both dropped wearing underwear on the outside, and Superman seems to be sporting a utility belt of some sort. Maybe its so he can carry his allergy medicine; I’ve heard pollen is just as bad as kryptonite.
And poor Cyborg, well, he looks like he’s wearing Lex Luthor armor. Sorry dude.
The other interesting thing is that in that picture is that there seem to be other JLA types on either side. In the blue panel, its Deadman, Atom, Element Woman (thank Bleeding Cool for identifying who it was; I had no idea) and Firestorm. For those who don’t know, Element Woman is a new character, pretty much a female version of Elemento, who debuted in the Flashpoint miniseries. I guess she survives it.
On the right, a red panel consisting of Green Arrow (you would thin that him being a life-long liberal would put him on the blue/left side ;)), Black Canaray, Hawkman and Mera, Aquaman’s wife.
I wonder what the significance of these two groups are; maybe something with the new guard vs. the old guard. Who knows.