There's a new JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA book on sale. For many, that alone is all the reason they need to buy the issue. The book is also written and drawn by Bryan Hitch. That added to it being the Justice League could be more than enough of a reason.
Of course some may question whether or not we need another Justice League title with the same exact cast. We'll get to that in a moment. The other question is the price. $5.99 for a single comic seems like a lot. There is 48-pages of story and art. If you do the Math (I totally did), it comes out to about twelve and a half cents per page. If you compare that to the slightly oversized JUSTICE LEAGUE #41, it comes out to the exact same amount per page. If you further compare both of these to the 22-page comic for $3.99, that comes out to 18.1 cents per page. In other words, you're getting more comic for your money.
What really stands out for me in this book is the implementation of DC's going for looser continuity in some cases. You know what I want? I want a really great kick-ass Justice League story. If you look at some of the characters here and what's going on in their own books (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, etc), we couldn't have this team the way it is. Telling a great story shouldn't be hampered by having every single title match up on the same exact page. They will at some point. And despite what some may feel, there are actually many that aren't too concerned about tight continuity. Especially those that pick up trades.
This book does offer some other things as well.
Lois Lane and Other Characters
This issue takes advantage of the large number of pages. We actually get to see some of the characters in moments outside the team. Seeing Clark and Lois' banter at the Daily Planet reminds us how much bigger the DCU is. It could be that this issue can spare a page or two to allow the characters to be fleshed out more with this sort of personal interaction in their non-superhero lives but it's a nice little touch. We want to know that the members of the team are more than just their super-identities.
A Big and Strange Mystery
What the heck is going on here? This is what we want to see. We're looking for a big and crazy threat or problem for the League to handle. While they do fight an amped up version of a previously existing threat, what's introduced here is likely the cause of the bigger picture in this first arc. Superman visits a strange organization and we're introduced to some new characters. Hitch has mentioned he wants to create new villains for the League as well. This gives you a sense that something really big and bad is headed their way.
Aquaman Getting His Own Subplot
We have seen Aquaman get a major story arc in the New 52 withThrone of Atlantis. What's interesting here is while the issue feels like it's focusing on Superman in the beginning, we see there's stuff going on with Aquaman and Atlantis as well. This is a reminder that these characters are about more than just sitting around the Watchtower waiting for a big threat.
I am fascinated with the idea of Aquaman talking to the United Nations. It's a reminder, again, that this is a bigger world. Of course the "surface dwellers" would be freaking out over the idea of an extremely powerful and potentially dangerous nation operating on their own with no accountabilities or communications with the rest of the world.
Huge Action for the League
Fleshing out characters, building backgrounds for their worlds, and showing what's going on is all important but with a book focusing on the Justice League, we want to see big and crazy action scenes with the League going all out. This is the DCU's biggest and mightiest heroes. They should be facing huge threats. That's what we get here. We see the League face a really big (literally) villain.
The trick with writing the Justice League is giving them big problems to deal with. They should be able to mop up the floor with pretty much anyone considering their combined might. We need to believe and be tempted to get out of our seats and cheer for them.
Cyborg in the Action too!
Often Cyborg is delegated to monitor duty in the Watchtower. A good portion of his other time is spent transporting the League around via a Boom Tube accessed through his armor. This is something that's also changing in the regular JUSTICE LEAGUE series but here, it's great seeing him dive into the action, firing away. Like the other members, he gets to do quite a bit.
A Crazy Cliffhanger
If you have a big story building up with a lot of characters and new threats, how about a big cliffhanger that makes you say, "Whaaaaaaat???"
Again, due to the page count, we get to see what happens after the big fight. The story isn't over. The League isn't even fully aware they're getting deep into a big scheme against them. Seeing them try to further investigate what's going on followed by a bizarre ending, it's definitely enough to make you commit to buying the next issue as well.
We do currently have a great Justice League series spearheaded by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok. In some ways, that series is also taking on a looser continuity in order to bring us the epic Darkseid War arc. You may ask then, "Do I really need two Justice League books?" The answer is, yes. If I can get a comic with an intriguing storyline while including many of my favorite characters, having multiple books is fantastic. I wouldn't want to have to wait until Darkseid War ends to see this story. Bryan Hitch clearly has a big story to tell. We're all lucky to be able to get a big series we can read at any time and not have to worry about what's going on elsewhere.