My Week in Comics – Justice League #1 & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

comics justice turtles[Deep breath] Oh comic smell, how I have missed thee.  Yes, A while back I said something about reading more comics, and well, as the piles of unread comics on my dresser goes to show I am a big, stupid liar face.  My excuse?  I decided to take a rowboat trip across the ocean and back because dumbbells are for losers and couldn’t possibly risk getting my issues wet in the salty ocean spray.  So clearly there is no argument that my procrastination is not my fault.

But enough about me.  As some of you know, and the rest will know now, DC comics has decided to go back to #1 issues.  Possibly because of a fear of really high numbers, more likely to bring in more readers, what you believe is up to you, but I am going to go with the latter since it worked on me.  That’s right, after years and years of glaring at the comics I could not read because of the daunting idea of jumping into stories decades deep in history, I now get to be part of the in crowd!  Last Wednesday Justice League #1 was released to start the release of 52 comic titles starting anew, and what did a girl who knows the basics of these characters through mostly Hollywood’s interpretations and the beauty of Superman’s rippling abs think?

[Reads comic]

There sure are a lot of colorfully drawn advertisements that pretend to be comic pages upon first glance.  Oh, about the comic?  Well, here we go:

Justice League #1

The Justice League is a compilation of some of the DC universe superheroes, Superman and Batman being the ones in most peoples’ info banks.  But as we learn after Green Lantern interrupts Batman chasing a villain on the rooftops of Gotham City, the band has yet to be formed.  Green Lantern doesn’t know of Batman’s abilities (AKA his lack of super powers), and neither of the two have met Superman yet to inform the hearsay surrounding him, so it is safe to assume the other members are just as unknown as these three to each other (though you know Batman and his files on people).

That and some characters have yet to form their alter egos.  To break up the action of Bat and Greenie, Geoff Johns’ story takes us to the more familiar, well maybe not for the main body of the target audience (bam self-deprecating and autobiographically incorrect nerd burn), high school football field in which Vic Stone is causing scouts to salivate over his super human performance.  However, he is actually just human, for now.  As one of the lesser-known characters of the universe to many (including myself), it looks like we will be getting to see the origin story of Cyborg.  How does he turn into the human / toaster hybrid seen on the cover?  I have no clue, but I cannot wait to find out in the issues to come.

In addition to this origin story, Justice League #1 also works well at creating the personalities of the characters coming together to fight evil.  Batman is Batman in his awesomely stoic, thinking-man-of-action way of being, giving plenty for Green Lantern’s more playful, let-me-handle-this-cuz-I-am-more-awesome personality to bounce off of (see Penny Arcade’s comic to see what I mean, putting Green Lantern in Superman’s seat).  His arrogance could get annoying, but with Superman’s intro in the last few panels it’s very possible that he will be knocked down a peg or two soon enough.  Then again, anyone who asks if a robot is a Transformer and mocks Batman’s low voice is a-ok with me, so I am not praying for any major changes to his character.

With Superman coming in at the tail end, I cannot wait to see Jim Lee (with Scott Williams inking) going all out in his drawings of my personal favorite member of the Justice League come-next-issue.  Granted, I am pretty sure I would be excited for anything he does.  He and Alex Ross are at the top of my list when it comes to artists, and though I am fan enough to notice Green Lantern hovering in the sky like Superman did in a panel in Superman: For Tomorrow Vol. 1, it’s sad to think that I haven’t held any of his drawings in my hands since All Star Batman and Robin.  So my swell of excitement for this has been a long time coming, to say the least.

With a first issue that doesn’t delve too deeply into the story or drown us in character introductions, there is still plenty to look forward to in the issues to come.  What are the “transformers” doing in our superheroes’ cities?  How are they connected to a certain big name villain hinted at in this issue (and when will we see said big bad)?  How will Vic Stone become Cyborg?  When will we get to see the rest of the characters gracing this issue’s cover?  I dunno, but I can’t wait to find out.

On to the next team of crime fighters:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

When I was little the thing to fight over was which ninja turtle you wanted to be.  As someone with the favorite color of blue and a strong desire for a sword my decision wasn’t that challenging, other than the fact that I was not alone in wanting to be Leonardo (For historical accuracy’s sake red was also my favorite color, but Raphael was a jerk face, so boo to that).  The point is that other than TMNT (2007), these crime fighters are reserved to the memories I have of the films, TV show, and video games of my past (I tried watching one of the older movies on TV a few months back and it wasn’t as awesome as I remembered it to be…).

Which is why I was uber upset when I saw that all of the turtles have red masks.  Psh, this is my childhood you are spitting on!  How dare you!  Yes, I can use their weaponry and personalities to differentiate between the four (assuming we get more into their personalities later.  They weren’t front and center in this issue), but that is irrelevant!  [Tantrum continues as flailing on the floor. AKA bed because I am too lazy to get up and the floor is far less comfortable.  And I am not really throwing a tantrum, so yeah]. Ok, now childishly overreacting outburst aside, I think it’s gonna be great to have the turtles back in my life.

The comic starts with Splinter and the turtles staring down one ugly looking cat and his human cohorts.  Turns out there is some history between this cat and our heroes, but I am assuming there will be more on that later.  Especially when we realize (again, would have helped had there been different colored masks!) that there are only three turtles present. That’s right, Raphael is gone and based on a line the cat says to a Scottish Terrier looking Splinter, he has had something to do with this.

Before we get to learn any more about what our turtles are up to the story jumps back to 18 months ago when our heroes were still little guys in a tank.  What we know is that Splinter and the boys are part of lab experiments somehow connected to the military, so there will definitely be more on this later.  And hopefully green radioactive ooze.  But more importantly is that April shows up here!  EEEEE!  As an intern of sorts, she takes a liking to our turtles, so we will also have to wait and see how she continues on with the gang.  With that said, it is important to note that she is not a reporter in this issue as she was in the other incarnations I am used to.  She mentions an art history class she is taking, so maybe she is a college student who has yet to take the plunge of proclaiming a major, or she is undercover!

So, what did you guys think of this issue?  Personally it is a little challenging for me to get used to some changes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that I have grown up with (I will not let this color thing go so easily), but I cannot wait to see what’s in store.  That, and I am really digging the art.  Dan Duncan brings a really energetic feeling to his drawings with some fast, sketch-like lines, and though I am not sure about his art style when it comes to the conversational shots of the humans during the lab scenes, it definitely works for the animalistic characters and action bits.  Plus, Rhonda Pattison’s grimier, watercolor-esque coloring style also works really well with Duncan’s lines.

With another recommendation in hand it is time to sit and wait for issue #2, as well as ponder where Raphael is and why he isn’t with the team, what role April will play in the comics, and how long we are going to have to wait for Shredder and The Foot.  Until next time!

With these two comics in the bag and a ton more on the way to get me back into the comic scene, are there any other recommendations for me?  Next I will be reading through Buffy Season 8 in preparation for season 9 since I got way behind on that, as well as Joshua Hale Fialkov’s Echoes and plenty of the DC relaunch titles, but I am always looking for more!

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