There comes a time in every drunk's life when he wakes up from a black out, his pants are around his ankles, there's some ugly tranny hooker in his bed, and there's some greenish brown stain on his shirt with a smell that can't quite be identified. Now aside from needing another dose of antibiotics for my ass (again), that new clarity is a refreshing feeling. That is after I finish puking. It's a clarity I liken to a reboot. It's not clean. It's not pleasant. It can get pretty damn ugly at times and you end up with scabs on your ass that take months to heal. But you know what? It can be worth it.
I've been talking about the DC reboot with my typical drunken ramblings for some time now. I've had mixed feelings about it, but unlike my failed AA meetings I've vowed to give this a chance. I haven't been an ardent follower of DC comics for a long time. In fact, it wasn't until Blackest Night that I started getting interested again. But even then, the DCU was harder to follow than the plot of the last two Matrix movies and that was without Keanu Reeves's shitty acting. There were gems like Superman, Brightest Day, and Batman Beyond. However, those gems were mixed with mixed with a lot of other clutter that could be a great subject for another episode of hoarders.
Enter Flashpoint. This is DC betting the house, their underwear, and their grandmother's pension on a complete revamp of all their books. This isn't your typical aftermath shit that every event has done since the original Crisis back in the 80s. This a new ball game with a new umpire, a new set of rules, and a whole new arsenal of dicks to fuck with readers. But at the same time it's new, it's fresh, it's different, and it's modernized. How it happened is fucked up. Basically, Flash pulled something that was only slightly lamer than the fucking continuity punch by Superboy. He merged with the speed force and kind of shattered history. And by kinda I mean he fucking date raped it so now we're starting over from square one. I could go on any number of rants about how that was handled, but I would need more booze than a Led Zeppline tour bus. So I'll spare my liver the torment and skip right to the relaunch.
It begins with Justice League #1. This is the book where it starts. It has Geoff Johns and Jim Lee at the helm, which is the equivalent of putting Shakespeare and Michelangelo on the same project. It's as all in you can be with your pants still on. We begin with a new world that really doesn't know superheroes. It's stated outright in the first few words that the events of this arc take place 5 years in the past. So this is how the Justice League came together. It's basically like Batman Begins without having to go through Batman and Robin. Fittingly enough, it involves Batman getting shot at. Remember, no Justice League so when a guy in a cape is running through a city like Gotham the standard protocol for the police is to shoot first and make excuses later. So they're basically the modern day DEA.
Now Batman isn't just outrunning the helicopters for the exercise, although knowing him he probably could. The reason for the bullet shower is a mysterious monster in a cloak that looks like a hooker that just left Charlie Sheen's house. Batman caught him stirring up shit in his city and that's all you need to get on Batman's shit list. So despite a helicopter shooting at him, he still chases the creature. If I was the creature, I'd be shitting my pants. There's some great action moments here. Jim Lee's art really shines and it's a very detailed, very vivid scene. It's like walking in on a cat fight with two hot women already having stripped each other down to their underwear. It's a beautiful thing.
This rooftop chase gets ugly quickly as shit starts going boom. The creature, not unlike a drunk Mel Gibson, gets pretty volatile and is ready to go on an anti-Semitic rant that would earn him a marriage proposal from Iran. It's not the kind of shit that Batman deals with. Then he gets help in the form of a glowing green fire truck. No he doesn't ingest a shitload of magic mushrooms. Everybody knows you only see yellow fire trucks on those. These come courtesy of the Green Lantern. Apparently, a rooftop brawl with a monster looking ready to explode is hard to ignore. So he deals with it in a way only slightly less subtle than waving your dick in the face of the President.
Now despite having his ass saved, Batman is pretty pissed. He doesn't much care for Green Lantern's approach of using giant glowing green projections and not because it's more tacky than a light show at Disney World. Remember those helicopters that were chasing him earlier? Well when they see glowing green shit, they have even more reason to shoot and probably quit drinking. Green Lantern, being the self-confident son-of-a-bitch he is at this point, doesn't break a sweat in blocking their attack. But Batman is still pissed. Then again, he's pissed most of the time anyways so I don't see why it matters.
This scene also highlights an important element of the story. Batman and Green Lantern operate on completely different wavelengths. Batman works within the shadows using stealth and cunning. Green Lantern dresses like a walking traffic signal that can be seen from space. One uses wits. The other uses firepower and smugness. In other words, they're not superfriends. They're heroes, but they get on each others' nerves. In other words, welcome to the new DC people! Where superheroes annoy each other and somehow make it look awesome!
Now annoying each other has another effect. Remember that monster that Batman was facing? Well they apparently weren't annoying it enough because it got up from Green Lantern's little firetruck stunt. Then it turned it's sights on the helicopters, which in the monster's defense were still shooting. So it does what any monster would logically do. It shoots back and the helicopters really don't stand a chance. This being DC, Green Lantern doesn't let them become street pizza. He and Batman stop annoying each other and decide to go after the creature.
As they go after it, they have a more formal introduction. And by formal I mean they look at one another the same way they would look at a hobo beating off in the middle of a street. Batman is clearly trying not to scoff when Green Lantern tells him he's a space cop and that the creature he was chasing was part of an extraterrestrial incursion. Batman doesn't give a damn about that. The creature was still in his city so ET can go screw himself. If that weren't annoying enough, Green Lantern finds it hard to believe that Batman has no superpowers. He's just a guy in a costume. It's a great moment and one of the most memorable of the issue.
Now this is somewhat taboo in DC, pointing out that Batman has no powers. It's like being in an all-girls school, but you know that one girl that is clearly a boy that nobody talks about. It's just easier to ignore it and pretend it isn't an issue. It's a subtle yet fitting way to show that this is a true relaunch. This kind of shit won't be ignored this time and why not? It's the 21st century. We're not as politically correct as we used to be. Thanks a lot Fox News!
Again, the bickering seems to distract that they're chasing an alien. Using the same gags twice in one issue? That's enough to make it seem old already. But again, they drop the macho shit and go after the creature. Again, shit starts blowing up. This time it does so with a message. That message reveals who the big bad guy is that brought the Justice League together in the first place. It's Darkseid. To them, it's sounds like a bad punk band from New Jersey. To DC Comics, it's the heavyweight of bad guys. If you're going to come out with a big opening story, why not bring a juiced up Barry Bonds to the plate? DC wants to swing for the fences, substance abuse regulations be damned!
More reused gimmicks enter the picture. Seriously, it's like they're copying and pasting. Green Lantern's ring saves them again by shielding them from the blast. The creature is gone, but some creepy alien gizmo is left behind. Batman and Green Lantern look at it the same way kids today look at a Walkman made in the 80s. They determine that it's an alien computer. They immediately link it with the only other alien that is well known to them, which happens to be Superman. To DC fans it sounds stupid, connecting an alien monster to Mr. Truth, Justice, and Sarah Palin's masturbatory fantasies. But again, this is a new DC. They don't know each other and they don't know Superman. For all they know Superman is a threat. So instead of going after Darkseid, they go after Superman. It's about as efficient as it sounds.
As they being their search for Superman, we're introduced to a Vic Stone. For all you non DC folk, that's Cyborg but since this is 5 years ago he's not a Cyborg. He's just your typical star high school athlete that's so good and so popular that he has USC and Ohio State throwing illegal benefits at him and cheerleaders throwing pussy at him in all directions. It's a bit unnecessary. It comes off as filler. It seems like a lousy way to introduce a character, but there is some effort to tie Vic into the story. His dad appears to work with superhero folk or at least guys with too much power for the government to tax. But still, it comes off as filler.
Now this scene does make the book drag somewhat. This being Justice League, there isn't that large scale that you would expect of a book like this. Even though it's an introduction arc, it feels like Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are taking their sweet time getting to the juicy bits. I'm glad they're being detailed and all, but for fans too ADD to appreciate those details it may feel like it's dragging ab it.
After Vic is done being distracted from being a star athlete with all the poon he could ever want, Green Lantern and Superman arrive in Metropolis aboard Green Lantern's glowing green jet. No, it's not an acid trip. That's actually how he travels. It's like riding in a pink pinto with a flashing billboard of Natlie Portman riding a bull naked on the back. It's the kind of shit that attracts attention and Batman reminds him (again) that it's a bad idea. But Green Lantern keeps playing the part of arrogant asshole and he plays it well, most likely a secret homage to Ryan Reynolds. And like Ryan Reynolds, readers want to punch him in the balls at this point.
Unfortunately for them, he's beaten to it by a familiar face. That would be Superman who with all his powers is more than capable of noticing a big ass green jet flying over his city. Now will Green Lantern admit that Batman was right? Probably not, but he has to stop shitting himself first because Superman has shown up and he makes sure Green Lantern's balls are sufficiently shriveled before he's an asshole again. It's a great moment and a great scene with Superman showing the kind of poise and ballisness that makes him history's most recognizable superhero.
Say what you will about all the shit between the beginning and the end. This whole comic is worth picking up just for that final page. These guys aren't the Superfriends yet. They don't know that they need to work together to stop an asshole like Darkseid yet. They're like a bunch of free agent athletes with over-bloated egos that were brought in on one team and can't get along. In other words they're like the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys combined. You don't know how they're going to come together in the end. You just know that it's going to make for some awesome moments.
There's a lot to hope for in terms of the future for this comic. However, focusing on the present, the hype surrounding this book was just impossible to live up to. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee did something smart. They didn't rush the story. They didn't try to squeeze every character into one issue. They started by establishing the comic and introducing a few characters. These characters just happen to be very different from one another and get along about as well as Michelle Bachmann gets along with gay voters. It makes for a great exchange, but it doesn't make for an overall great story. It seems long-winded and tedious. Now it's great how they're taking it slow, but when a comic like this is overhyped it just comes off as underwhelming. I get it. It's hard NOT to make a big deal out of a comic like this, but setting the bar that high does cause problems that even the brilliance of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee can't solve.
This is still a worthy comic to relaunch a series. It could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse. It works. It leaves readers with the feeling that the best is just ahead. It succeeds in making the reader want to pick up the next issue, which for DC is really all they want. They got kids to feed and hookers to fuck. They need our money and with books like this, I'm more than happy to give it to them! That's why I give Justice League #1 a 4 out of 5. There's room for improvement and I'm confident that Johns and Lee can become the new Burt and Ernie of DC comics minus the gay innuendos. Nuff said!