Friday, September 9, 2011

Pierre vs The Justice League

Picking up from yesterday, Pierre gives us his thoughts on Justice League 1 and the readers reaction to this historical first issue of the DC Relaunch. Warning: He seems rather provoked by the whole affair. ;)

Hi guys, I don’t know about you, but we had a crappy summer over here in Canada. It rained, rained, and when it finally stopped raining, it rained some more. I read in the paper not long ago how August was an historical record breaking month when it came to how much it rained over here.

So maybe the lack of sunshine is making me grumpier than usual. If so, I apologize. So finally, the DCnU is here, starting with Justice League #1.

(Editor's Note: Do you really want to see that cover again?)
So what did you think of that historical first issue?? (I will not even mention the new costumes, that will require a whole blog post on its own just for that.) But pretty much EVERYONE seems to agree; in pretty much every review you will read the following:


Editor’s Note 2: I disagree with this assessment, but Pierre seems to winding up for a tirade, so I’ll indulge him this time. I think by Everyone, he means all of Toronto or something. ;)

What drives me nut is how people who loved the comic try to convince others that those are a good thing. That it is how that comic was supposed to be. That it was supposed to be “average”. That it was supposed to be “slow” or “underwhelming”.


As an example, and she is far from alone in this, Heidi MacDonald from The Beat for whom I have nothing but the greatest respect mentioned in her review:

“So what to make of all this? More than ever I feel the conflict of knowing that this is not aimed at me. This is a somewhat uninspired introductory comic for readers 13-up.”

With all due respect, it is comments like this in reviews that are trying to defend the first issue of what is DC’s historical re-launch that drives me up the wall.

Why in the Pits of Hades would new “readers 13-up” even care about an “uninspired” comic? Who in their right mind would try to attract new readers with an “uninspired” comic? Wouldn’t you want to put out a GREAT comic for your first issue in your historic re-launch? Wouldn’t you want to put out a GREAT comic? The BEST comic you can possibly make, to attract new readers?

So far those defending the comic look like cheerleaders with a lot of enthusiasm, but no real arguments to support their defense or point of view. Now don’t get me wrong, it is not a bad comic, but it is not a good one either. It feels like a very formulaic paint by numbers type of comic.

Issue #1: Batman and GL meet. Big Superman surprise reveal at the end. (Although if we trust the cover, we already know that he will be in the League, so I fail to see the surprise here. Although WW, Aquaman and Flash fail to even make an appearance in this first issue, so maybe it is a surprise that we finally see another JL member in this first issue).

Issue #2: Superman joins them. Probably big Wonder Woman reveal at the end??

Issue #3: Wonder Woman joins them. Reveal new member at the end.

Issue #4 & 5: New character join in each issue until the BIG seven are together, then by the end of issue #5 big Darkseid reveal.

Issue #6: BIG showdown between the NEW Justice League and the forces of Apokolyps and its ruler and master, Darkseid. Of course the League will be victorious and Darkseid will flee back to Apokolips screaming, “We will meet again, Super-Friends!!” (oops, sorry, I got carried away) ;).

At least, I hope that it will only be 6 issues. If they drag this over 8 or 9 issues, I will pray the gods to be merciful and spare us such suffering. To get back to this first issue, I felt like I was reading an issue of the Brave and the Bold. Which is not a bad thing in itself, but this is NOT the B&B, this is the JUSTICE LEAGUE!! Is it so much to ask for a Justice League comic in what is called the Justice League??

Or even worse, when Batman and Green Lantern were acting like 12 year old children and Batman stole Green Lantern’s ring, I felt like I was reading issue #9 of All Star Batman and Robin once more.

I had to double check the cover to make sure that I had not purchased the next issue of ASB&R by mistake.I usually love Johns’ work, but here I can’t decide if he is trying to write like Brian Bendis, or if he is trying to emulate the beginning of the Ultimates by having a veeeerrrrrrrry slow build up introducing one new character every issue until the team faces off the EVIL Darkseid (guess I will root for Darkseid this time) ;). Heck the Ultimates was a hit at the time, so why not try to reproduce that? Right?

Either way, Damn that comic was decompressed. And that is NOT a good thing in my book. I guess I was used to see the opposite from Johns and was doubly surprised AND disappointed to see that he would kick off the DCnU and the new JL with such a slow start.

Didn’t they announce that that damnable “writing for the trade” crap was over?? That they no longer would be writing for the trade? I don’t think such an approach plays to Johns’ strength. It seems to showcase his weaknesses as a writer instead. But once again, maybe that is just me.

If you like Jim Lee’s work, you will like this issue. Although I could nitpick the art here and there, I won’t. No point really. Although I could not help but think that the artwork was, off somehow. Especially compared to Lee’s previous work on ASB&R or Batman: Hush, but I can’t put my finger on it right now.
Was Lee rushed?? Is it Williams that had to work with a broken hand somehow?? Is it the colorist that had to do the work while he was sick?? No idea, but something feels off somehow. But odds are that it is just me.

Still, despite what the naysayers might have to say, this looks like a hit, as far as sales are concerned. From what we understand so far, it seems that DC sold about 250 000 copies. And DC announced a second and third printing. Heck I had to go to 5 stores in my area until I found a store that had 3 copies of the comic left. So it seems that stores will not be left with stacks of unsold copies. Did stores underestimate the demand?? Did they order too few copies?? Maybe.

Although did those comics end up being bought by the new readers that DC are hoping for?? Or are we seeing a return of the speculators? Remember when Jim Lee sold 8 million copies of X-men #1??? How many of those sales were to new readers?? And how many people bought 10 or 20 copies to sell at a profit later on?? Is this what is going on here too?? Let’s hope NOT.

Seeing the combo pack on EBAY for $29.99 or the standard edition for $9.99, I can’t help but wonder how many copies were bought with the intent to make a quick buck. I guess we will have to wait and see the sales of Justice League issue #2 to try to get a clearer picture of how many new readers are actually willing to come back for more.

I sincerely hope that like Captain America #25, many of those who tried to make a quick buck will end up stuck with their extra copies of Justice League #1 that nobody will buy. Hopefully it will teach them a lesson and stop that kind of thinking. We shall see.

And it has been announced as the bestselling digital comic of August. So what does that even mean?? 1000 copies sold?? 10,000?? 50,000?? Without any sales number to back it up, this announcement is pretty pointless.

Don’t get me wrong, Jim and I started our little venture on the frontline of making digital comics because we knew that there were people out there who wanted to get some new content online. Who wanted to read digital comics. And any announcement that would prove us right is always appreciated.

But without any numbers to back it up, this doesn’t mean anything. If it was such a hit and they had sold 5,000,000 copies, I have no doubt that they would have mentioned that number in their announcement. But as it is, we can only try to guess what that actually means. For all we know, they sold 2000 copies.

Editors Note 3: A number that would put it in the same 1% ballpark as their other digital sales.

Guess we will have to wait and see. So in short, the DCnU was kick-started with an average comic that sold a truckload of copies. Will I get back for issue #2?? The short answer is, No. This series will be added to the list of “let’s wait for the trade”. Once the first arc is completed and we can finally have a complete story, maybe, maybe I will give the TPB a try - or maybe not. We shall see.

What would I have done differently??? Well this blog is getting kind of long, so I will keep this for next time, but I have two questions for you before I wrap this up:

What did YOU think of the start of the DCnU and Justice League #1??


Will you come back for issue #2??

Until next time.



Caine said...

What are you trying to do, steal my thunder? :)

MattComix said...

Well Jim then I guess it's everyone in Toronto, and me. (Does this mean I have to renounce my citizenship?) Sorry but I remain unimpressed by Didio Comics nu.

Most of the things Pierre addressed here are in sync with my own feelings on it. Even right down to getting the All-Star B&R vibe off it. Which is a shame because I think Jim Lee still brings a lot to the table as an artist and his drawing the Justice League should ideally be one of the damn coolest things in the history of ever.'s not.

Why? For the same reason as his drawing Superman or Batman before weren't as awesome as they could have been: the approach and the writing.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Caine; Sorry buddy... I got carried away.

And Jim is an Evil man.... EEEEVVVILLLLLLL!

I begged him... on my knees... even on my belly.... not to bump the Friday column.

But being even more EVIL then Doctor Doom on Christmas Eve.... he did the most EVIL thing he could think of and bumped the Friday column.

Can you believe it??

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Matt; It must be a Cannuck thing with all the bad/crappy weather we got up here in the BIG White North.

The ASB&R was probably the most disappointing thing for me.

ASB&R was pretty much universally made fun of. To the point where Miller suddenly decided that he was sarcastic/satirical in his tale.

To see them try to make their Batman & Green Lantern not unlike the All Star version.... was disappointing to say the least.

Oh well.

But the rest of the DCnU comics had some fun comics this week.

Batgirl was a fun comic.... even if all we got to explain her walking again was "it's a miracle".

JLI; Fun comic. Although this one sees aimed at old farts like me.

And OMAC was AWESOME!! Really got a kick out of that comic.

But ultimately.... sales are great across the board for all the DCnU comics so far.

So whatever the quality of the comics.... from a sales perspective... it is a hit.... if not a Home Run.

Guess we will have to wait and see how things go from here.

MattComix said...

Pierre. I'm actually from Virginia but I guess I'll have to cross the border now. :P

Luke H said...

I agree with most of what your saying Pierre but I think I can see what Heidi is getting at too Would we think this JL debut issue was a great comic if we were 13? I'd say yes. I remember thinking Lee's X-Men #1 and the original X-Force #1 were awesome comics. But, looking at them now... they are more like JL.

I think it's mostly that we, as long time readers, not only are we more mature in what we're looking for in our entertainment but also we have kind of "seen it all". We've seen a 100 gathering of the team stories; more than of few of those were with these very same characters! It just doesn't have that same exciting "kick" anymore and I think that's just how it works.

The other thing I thought of when considering who Johns is aiming this book at in style is in comparison to how he tackled the same kind of challenge when he revamped Hal's genesis with "Secret Origin". To my recollection, that was presented a much deeper story with the character reflecting back from a distance. It still was packed with action but that didn't seem to be the focus of the story. In contrast, JL #1 is all about the action and seems designed to be more of a summer blockbuster than a deep story. I mean if they ever do get a JL movie, it probably WILL be closer in tone to this presentation that Secret Origin. Personally, I want more from my stories than action and some cute one liners; however, the 13 year old me would be more likely to get off on that and be wowed.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Matt; You better cross the border before Jim dips you ion tar and feathers. ;)

Luke; Lots of good point. Great post.

Maybe my perception is colored since when I was 13... I was reading the Byrne FF, the Perez Teen Titan (now THAT was a kickass first issue), the Flash by Infantino and Murphy, DD by Wallace Wood... etc.

SO maybe this is too alien from what I grew up with.

Now I guess I HAVE to get started on my blog about what I would have done different. ;)

nude0007 said...

Hey guys,
I found the first issue of Justice League, and I can now conclusively announce that DC is finished! As you mentioned in your article Jim, they act like 12 year olds (or worse). Several of them will have identical collars and belts and I am sure there will be no explanation. There will be no intelligence from the characters, and no intelligent stories. Stupid grandstanding and showboating will be the norm. They will all hate each other, but still work together for some unfathomable reason. It will be all dramatic poses and ridiculous action shots, and I doubt a serious plot will ever emerge.
Instead of thinking what comics needed to morph into, how it could become beer and relevant, they are shooting for kids. Didn't they learn the Stan Lee lesson? By making stories that were intelligent, kids and adults would enjoy them. This was still a good plan, especially since you have a much bigger potential audience that are adults who have read comics all their lives.
Hey Jim, let's wait and when they have thoroughly trashed all the heroes and villans, and gone out of business, we can buy the whole shebang for a quarter. I bet we could get it right!
I have actually been trying to think of what I would change or do with the characters if it was up to me. I am sure most of my ideas are not so good, but at least it won't be this childish, stupid crap.


Related Posts with Thumbnails