Every now and again, Read A Comic Crew members tackle the same book and publish our thoughts all at once. This time around, it’s Justice League of America Rebirth #1…
Title: Justice League of America Rebirth #1
Publisher: DC Comics
Story: Steve Orlando
Art Team: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Marcelo Maidlo, and Clayton Cowles
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Cover Date: April 2017
Solicitation: In Justice League of America Rebirth #1, Batman, Black Canary, Killer Frost, the Ray, Vixen, the Atom, and… Lobo?! Spinning directly out of the events of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, join the sensational team of writer Steve Orlando and artists Ivan Reis and Joe Prado and discover how Batman assembled the roughest, toughest Justice League of all time!
Justice League of America Rebirth #1 Review
Our story opens in Rhode Island, with Batman and Killer Frost exploring an old, rundown space of Batman’s. We learn that it’s going to be a new headquarters for Batman’s new team of the Justice league of America.
Killer Frost and batman then go out recruiting their new team, first with Black Canary, then Lobo, the Atom, the Ray, and Vixen. Each member gets outfitted with a teleporter to take them to their HQ – now called The Sanctuary.
Batman has brought this team together because he feels that the world needs heroes that aren’t Gods, but heroes that the people know and can relate to.
This comic does a good job introducing the new cast of characters and how they are going to work together as a team. Each member brings a new aspect of community to the group.
Killer Frost is the foundation of the team – based on redemption and a fresh start. Black Canary is the team’s conscience. Lobo is the team’s muscle, and brings a brash code of honor. The Atom is the sense of youth, and brings science knowledge. The Ray brings humanity with his super-heroism, and Vixen is the rock solid hero who will hold the team together through rough situations.
Issue #1 doesn’t go past the team meeting for the first time, but it gives me the sense – through the writing and artwork – that I will look forward to their coming adventures and what they have to offer to the DC Universe in further issues.
My Rating: 8 out of 10.
This book was a bit of a odd one for me, for as long time readers might know, my DC credentials aren’t very good. So when I was assigned a team book of B-C level characters that I had no previous knowledge of (besides that Wolverine beat Lobo in 1996’s seminal Marvel vs DC #3), I was a little apprehensive…
Not of B tier and lower characters mind you; remember I’m the guy who was championing Superior Foes of Spider-Man. It’s just that I don’t know a lot of minutia about these characters and I feed off that kinda stuff in superhero books.
But I didn’t need to worry much, as this was a DC Rebirth special, AKA a fresh jumping on point. Well, kinda.
Thing is, this book is spinning right out of the 6 part Justice League vs Suicide Squad crossover, and 4 or 5 one shots. I didn’t read those; but (and feel free to correct me in the comments) I’m guessing Killer Frost had a big hero moment somewhere in there, as Batman – the world’s greatest loner with a small army of bat-themed friends – has taken a shining to her.
In the opening of Justice League of America Rebirth #1, Batman sets her up with a lair for a team that the two of them will be assembling in little two page blips throughout this issue. It feels Taco Bell level inorganic, as the members kind of just assemble because Batman wants them too, and they’ve already posed for the group shot on the cover.
The reasoning for the team is a great one in concept – Batman wants to build a team for America: “A team of heroes they can know, not gods.” – which is awesome, except Batman is of course a billionaire ultra genius with a secret identity (who is sometimes a urban legend?).
He just doesn’t seem a good fit for that ethos…
…and neither does Lobo – isn’t he a space fairing bounty hunter that can go toe to toe with Superman?
All the others seem like good fits. Black Canary’s star has been on the rise for a while now. Vixen is primed to break out anytime now (at least if DC has their way), and the Atom and The Ray seem like the kind of young hero team up that I love over at Marvel in Mark Waid’s Champions book.
I’m not sure where the book is going from this issue… if Batman is going to be leading the team or if Killer Frost is. I’d rather it be Frost personally, because her few pages and cool new redesign were interesting enough for me to go and read her “JLA Presents” issue that came before this – and who doesn’t love a good redemption story?
Here’s to hoping this book is the stepping stone to a cult classic team book.
Since the Golden Age of comics, the Justice League of America has represented the pinnacle of super teams. The JLA has always been a gathering of DC Comic’s most classic and iconic heroes as they join forces to protect the world with their god-like powers. Justice League of America Rebirth #1, however, is not a classic JLA story. It’s a rebirth.
Batman is the lone iconic hero to grace this issue, and it’s really his story that’s being told here. Spurred by events of the recent Justice League vs Suicide Squad crossover, Batman has decided that what the world needs now is a Justice League that’s more human and more relatable than the classic team of gods and aliens.
It’s interesting that the most flawed and human of the Justice Leaguers would want to create a team essentially in his own image, but perhaps that’s just the hubris of Batman shining through. In any case, the motley crew he assembles to be the new JLA in this first issue is an odd combination of new and established characters who all have a penchant for rejecting authority and disobeying the rules.
In Justice League of America Rebirth #1, The Ray & The Atom are wide-eyed rookies who add some youthful optimism to a team of pragmatists. While Vixen, Lobo, and Black Canary are all characters who have been relegated to second string in the Rebirth catalog and could use a second chance to get them back in front of a larger audience.
Second chances are a big theme for Batman in the opening pages of this book, and the biggest chance he takes in forming this team also seems to be the best source of drama and tension for this story going forward. Batman’s inclusion of ex-villain Killer Frost in the new JLA doesn’t sit well with his other recruits, but her redemption seems to be at the core of what Batman is attempting to achieve with this new JLA.
Without a stable of classic heroes to rely on, it falls on Batman to carry the plot of this first issue and he does so with the typically cryptic and foreboding conceit that; a great danger is approaching and only this hand-picked team of misfits and loners can stop it. It’s a pretty standard setup for any team-based adventure, but it represents something new for the JLA brand.
The JLA as plucky band of Bad-News-Bears style upstarts is definitely intriguing, but are they just Suicide Squad Lite or are they something more? issue #1 is pure set up and doesn’t provide much in the way of plot, so the only way to find out if this team is any good is to keep reading. The only reason to keep reading is to find out if Batman’s prediction of a great danger is worth all the fuss.