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Geoff Johns’ (and Jim Lee’s) Run on Justice League – The Villain’s Journey (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of Man of Steel this month, we’re going Superman mad. Check back daily for Superman-related reviews.

This should be the defining Justice League book of the 21st century. Geoff Johns is something of a DC comics super star, a writer who has worked on all manner of major and minor DC characters, and helped shaped the fictional universe for the better part of a decade. Jim Lee defined the look of DC comics, particularly with the revamped “new 52” character designs. He’s a super star artist who produces iconic superhero images. So pairing the two up on DC’s flagship book, relaunched as part of a line-wide initiative, should be something to watch. If Johns can turn Green Lantern into one of DC’s biggest franchises, imagine what he could do here.

However, their first six-issue arc, Origin, seemed troubled. It was a decently entertaining big-budget blockbuster of a comic book arc, but it didn’t really provide a clear vision of these characters and their world. New Frontier, for example, remains a more thoughtful and introspective origin story for the team of DC’s most iconic heroes.

The Villain’s Journey improves a great deal on Origin, but it’s still deeply flawed, with a sense that Johns and Lee are struggling under the weight of having to make these characters “relevant” to the modern world.

He knows how to make an entrance...

He knows how to make an entrance…

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Geoff Johns’ (and Jim Lee’s) Run on Justice League – Origin (Review)

It has been a year since DC revamped their whole line, cancelling all their on-goings and launching 52 new series each with a shiny new “#1.” Okay, technically the first in the line, Justice League #1, was published at the end of August, but I figure it’s appropriate to look back on DC’s flagship book and reflect on that first six-issue arc that served to launch the new DC universe (which is being affectionately referred to as the “DCnU”). Putting Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on the Justice League title just seems like common sense.

Johns has, after all, written pretty much all the characters already, and Jim Lee is respected as one of the greatest artists of his generation. However, Origins is far from the perfect reintroduction to DC’s iconic superheroes. While both writer and artist are doing solid work, there’s a sense that these first six issues are simply trying to do too much.

Chains that don’t quite bind…

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