DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99
The five creators listed above have almost 100 years of experience in the comics industry between them, so Justice League International was always going to be an effort that’s at least competent, barring any major accidents in the production chain. And if you’re familiar with Dan Jurgens’s sensibilities, you could also expect one of the more conventional, meat-and-potatoes titles among DC’s “New 52” superhero books.
As it stands, though, the creators are also delivering one of the most enjoyable debut issues of the relaunch. JLI manages to be entertaining, and, unlike several of the other relaunch titles I’ve read, it doesn’t make me cringe even once.
It does take a couple of somewhat heavy-handed introductory pages to get the concept underway, but it’s a neat concept: In order to be more independent from the Justice League proper, who won’t follow anybody’s orders, the U.N. assembles its own spin-off group, consisting of members whose common characteristic is that they’re believed to be susceptible to manipulation. And off we are on the first mission.
The structure of the story is familiar, but the formula is done so well that it doesn’t become an issue. Jurgens and Lopresti seem to be enjoying themselves here. The characters—a fairly diverse bunch—seem alive and distinctive. Some of them are awfully on the nose, as far as national stereotypes go, but with one or two exceptions, they still get revealing little moments that flesh them out and make the interaction fun and authentic. In the process, the creators set up a truckload of potential conflicts. The artwork looks crisp and inviting, meanwhile, and the storytelling is clear as well as stylish throughout.
Ultimately, Justice League International delivers as a mostly sturdy traditional superhero team book in the mold of Claremont/Byrne or Wolfman/Pérez. It’s fairly formulaic, but it does the formula well—and it happens to be the first one of the new launches that actually makes me want to buy the second issue to find out what happens next.