“After all, it wouldn’t be much of a Justice League without Superman.”
The epic scale of Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America (JLA) run continues in the pages of Justice League: Rebirth #1. While his art won’t occupy the Justice League run itself, his lines help to pivot between the two stories. While the action is breathtaking the Justice League seems to suffer greatly at the absence of their lost Superman. This issue introduces the old, pre New52 big blue to the team just in the knick of time. Unfortunately, the implication that the Justice League was lost without a Superman seems to take away from every other member of the team. The battle was all but lost before his arrival, humans succumbing to infectious monsters under the shadow of a “New York”-sized behemoth. The scene was exhilarating, but did little to show the importance of any Justice League member other than Superman.
While it succeeds in introducing the new Superman to this Earth’s Justice League, it sacrifices the strengths of all JL members other than Superman to do so. Before his arrival: Batman is without a decent plan, Wonder Woman is seemingly without her strength, and Cyborg and the Green Lanterns seem to forget they have lasers at their disposal. Despite being at the center of the creature’s mind the team doesn’t think to blast away until Superman instructs them to do so. It does well to show his importance as a leader, but does little to speak for the importance of any other member.
Apart from a Superman focus it’s clear that Hitch knows how to write the team. Batman is his cold, calculating self while Flash and Cyborg are the comedy foils they’ve always been. While only a brief scene is given for the team to mourn their lost companion, it makes for a great character moment that shows how each member is choosing to grieve.
Batman is the most eager to reach out to the new Superman and invite him to the team. His reasoning is clear, keeping an unknown close so as to watch them. But it makes one wonder if much like the mantle of Batman itself is compensation for the loss of his parents, is he just trying to fill the hole left by a lost loved one? Moments like this help to solidify Hitch’s run as another Rebirth success.
The art delivers on the grandiose scale promised at the beginning of Hitch’s Justice League of America run. The city-sized monster attacking and infecting the city may not have the charisma or distinct look of former villain Rao, but as a device to introduce the new team it works. The colors by Alex Sinclair match well with Hitch’s use of shadow but leave the large city encased in a somewhat drab grey and blue. While the team looks great their surroundings do little to separate them from any typical cityscape.
The pages of Justice League have always been about action and teamwork, and that’s where this Justice League: Rebirth #1 excels. Bryan Hitch shows he knows the team and how to use them in both visual and narrative fashions. Unfortunately, as the issue focuses on Superman it pushes all other members into the background. His last minute rescue instills little confidence in a team without him. As Rao, the kryptonian God, was the villain of Hitch’s last story it makes one wonder if all JL stories will have an emphasis on Superman. If so, the Justice League should be thankful. Without him they were lost.
- Epic Scale and Action
- Great Team Dynamic
- Good Dialogue
- Forgetful Villain
- Grey, Dreary Setting
- Justice League is powerless without Superman