As we’ve been seeing over the last several posts in my comprehensive review of every single issue of JLA, Gerry Conway, bless his heart, ran the series into the ground. Readers were leaving, the excitement was gone, and an attempt to kickstart it with a bunch of new, novice characters (Gypsy, Vibe, and Steel) led by Aquaman did little to solve DC’s problems. But instead of going big or going home, DC doubled down on Conway’s “small and weird” team concept. A younger writer (Keith Giffen) and a new artist (Kevin Maguire) were brought in and teamed up with a proven entity (JM DeMatteis) to freshen the concept and do something very different. The results were a career-making series and one of the best reboot launches of all time. And issue #1 has all the reasons why.
We see a new group of heroes meeting in the old “Secret Sanctuary,” which hasn’t been used in years but now that the satellite is blown up, it’s where we land. Batman assumes command of the team about halfway through, and the membership is certainly odd: Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Doctor Fate, Guy Gardner, J’onn J’onzz, and Mister Miracle. Miracles business manager, Oberon, is along as well—but Gardner calls him a dwarf and gets everyone mad. In fact, Guy’s sexist and dismissive attitude of superiority is probably the best thing about this comic: Usually, Batman is the supercilious one, but next to Gardner Batman is positively cuddly. And Gardner’s character arc will continue to develop throughout the series.
Lastly, the first issue plants seeds: We meet the mastermind behind it all, in the first appearance of Maxwell Lord.
He’s doing something creepy on the corporate front, behind the scenes, manipulating the lady who will become the new Dr. Light. Terrorists are taking of the UN, and the new JL saves the day—making them players on the international stage. Everything in this issue matters, and it’s all wonderful. A+.
Check it out the whole JLA page, here!