Review: Justice League Of America Vol. 1: World’s Most Dangerous

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jlaToday sees the release of the first volume of the Justice League of America. The team was assembled to match up with the main Justice League, and as we saw in Trinity War, they did get a brief chance to do just that. The series’ first 7 issues are collected for the trade. The story is written by Geoff Johns with Jeff Lemire lending a hand during the Trinity War sections, and Matt Kindt handling the backup story with Martin Manhunter. David Finch, Brett Booth, Doug Mahnke, Scott Clark, Manuel Garcia, and Andres Guinaldo for the various issues and backup stories along with a team of inkers, colors, and letterers. So the dust has settled with the Trinity War, so how does the road to the war read in trade?

Director Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. have grown leery of the Justice League. The group contains the most powerful people on the planet, but they don’t really have to answer to anyone. Steve Trevor has been tasked with assembling a team that can match up against the various powers and help keep the League in check if the worst case scenario was ever to happen. Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Katan, Vibe, Stargirl, Hawkman, Green Lantern Baz, and Catwoman are the ragtag team brought together under the name of the Justice League of America. Their first mission is to track down the Secret Society. Things don’t go as easy as Steve hoped, but the team shows promise. They’re going to need it when the Secret Society’s plan leads to the three Justice League teams coming to blows!

Johns writes a good introduction to the team with the first two issues. Each character, save for Baz, gets a few moments in the spotlight as we see who they are and why they were chosen. After that though, you can see Johns has some favorites with the team. Certain members take the front seat while others are relegated to support. After the first few issues, the story is heavily dependent on what happens in Johns’ main Justice League title and the goings on in the DC Universe as a whole. Since Trinity War starts so early in the book’s run, the trade transitions straight to chapters 2 and 4 of the event. It’s quite jarring. You can understand it from a business sense since you need to feel the trade out, but it means you have to pick up the Justice League and Justice League Dark trades to get the entire story. Johns writes a solid story, but the packaging leaves you feeling confused if you read what’s presented straight through. The art is good though. This being such an important book for the eventual Trinity War, DC used their talent on the budding book. Finch and Booth tackle the main series with Mahnke coming in for Trinity War. They all have distinct styles, but there’s really nothing to knock with the majority of their work. All three make a very striking Martian Manhunter. The Martian is the clear star of the show. He even gets his own backup story from Kindt, which is an absolute treat.

Bottom Line: The Justice League of America is a series that’s mainly a compliment to the other Justice League books. Johns weaves stories together with expert skill, but they don’t always shine as bright as they should when taken in part. If you’re a trade reader, by all means pick this up with the other volumes, but be warned it’s not as standalone as it should be. 3/5

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