DC Comics: JLA: Year One, Issue #1

Justice League of America: Year One, Issue #1 of 12

Jan. ’98

DC Comics

Writers: Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, Barry Kitson

Letterer: Ken Lopez / Colorist: Pat Garrahy / Separations: Heroic Age / Editor: Peter Tomasi

Superman?  Batman?  When someone, these days, thinks of the Justice League of America, those are two of the most iconic figures that come to mind.  But here, in the 12-issue arc of JLA: Year One, we see the foundation of the team come together.  Aquaman, the Flash, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern.  Independent superheros that are faced, in this first issue, with the thought of joining together to work as a team for a change.  But can they overcome their own egos and work together?

In the first 5 pages, we are given an overview of what is happening in the world.  It seems a series of elemental monsters are attacking various locations in the U.S.  At each turn, our core group of heros are there to counter the attacks.  Green Lantern takes down a giant flying bird.  Black Canary shatters a giant glass being with her sonic powers.  The mysterious Aquaman engages a mercurial creature of unknown origin.  The flash extinguishes a giant flame beast.  And deep in the Everglades, the heros come together to defeat a monster made of wood.  News reports fill the reader in on this events as a man watches numerous television monitors with bits and pieces of the action taking place on them.  In the end, he clicks off the screens and decides: “Time to get this investigation under way …”

For part one of a dozen issues to come, I really enjoyed the story telling in this first issue.  Each character was given their moment alone in their “secret identities” to wonder what it would be like to work with other super humans.  In truth, each is afraid for their own reasons – be it, having to rely on someone else or just the idea contrasts with what they’ve been doing on their own for so long.  Yet, deep down, they all realize that this could also be their chance to connect with someone else that may understand them.

Not much is revealed about the bad guys to come, aside from their name being the Locus.  The heros, while preparing to hand over a couple of the creatures they managed to subdue to the military, bust in on the Locus trying to reclaim their property.  In a cavern found by Aquaman, they walk right in on the bad guys preparing to transport the creatures back to wherever they are planning on taking them.  A fight ensues with the creatures being released and once again turning on the “team.”  The five new friends exchange banter with one another while doing battle, commenting on one anothers prowess, powers and potential weaknesses.  The military proves pretty much useless as they stand behind cover and watch.  In the end, our heros decide it might be best to join together and work as one to discover more about this potential threat known as Locus, and to watch each others back should anything else pose a threat.

Great overall issue, no deep knowledge of the characters and their background are necessary.  As long as you are aware of who the characters are, even by name only, a new reader would do well jumping in.  By the end of this issue, I had honestly forgotten about the guy doing the the investigation at the end of the 5 page introduction.  And we are also informed by members of Locus that they have inserted informants into each of the heros personal lives to watch them.  This, in itself, leads me to believe that they know the secret identities of our heros.

When picking this series up at our local comic shop, nearly all the issues were in the $1.00 back issue bin.  Some were marked $3, some $2, but in the end, they were having a 10-cent sale on the weekend I picked them up, so for $0.80 I have nearly the complete series, shy of 3 issues that weren’t available.  Always look for a bargin, you can sometimes piece together a collection for nearly nothing if you happen along at the right time.

A trade paperback is also available, collecting all the issues together.  Amazon carries this from a used price of $7.95 to a new price of $38.26!


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