I wasn't necessarily planning on reviewing Justice League Rebirth #1 but the story ended up having a healthy chunk of Superman in it so I thought I could bullet review it.
Now, I'll be up front about one thing, and I'll be ready to face the slings and arrows, but I am not a big fan of Bryan Hitch's art. That was probably the biggest reason I stayed away from his JLA book. The upcoming Justice League will have Tony Daniel art and I love his work. So I am going to check that out.
From reading this issue, Hitch seems to capture the voices of the JL members pretty well. The premise of this book is how the League is reacting to their being a new Superman active on Earth. And we get the reverse premise, how this new (old?) Superman regards this League. I don't think this necessarily jibes with the prior times Diana and Bruce have met this Superman. But I'll roll with it.
I have to assume the plot that brings everyone together is a tease towards what Hitch is planning to bring to the new title. And I'll have to see how that plays out there because I wasn't blown away with the premise. But it did tug at the old heart strings when in the end the team names themselves the League. And I liked that the people of Earth (at least via a new report) recognize the League as protectors. There wasn't a whiff of grim, dark distrust anywhere here.
On to the book!
For me, the best moments are in the 'Smith' household where Clark debates interacting with the League while Lois reminds him that he should simply do the right thing.
He says that these aren't his friends. They aren't his League. They have been victorious in the past. Does he need to join them and put himself even more in the public eye?
But there is more to this story. Superman keeps thinking that the death of the other Superman, that his presence on this Earth, that it all feels like it is connected to something bigger. He doesn't know. But Lois wonders if the League might.
I really like Lois in these scenes. She is a good sounding board for Superman.
This conversation starts up because the League is in battle with something that looks like an enormous crawfish. It is massive (you can see it dwarfing the skyscrapers). And it acts like Starro, shooting tiny crawfish which surround a person's head and enslaves them.
The League seems outgunned and outmatched. Nothing they do seems to dent this thing's carapace. Cyborg is trying to boom tube people out of the city.
The only answer seems to be attack from the inside. It is very Batman to think that despite their utter futility in fighting this thing that the League will demand this thing's surrender.
Finally Lois seems to get through to Clark. The League has won in the past but they always had a Superman on the roster. There needs to be a Superman. And if Clark is looking for a reason why he is on this Earth, maybe this is it. He can make a difference.
Okay, I love the Lois stuff.
Maybe it feels a little odd that Clark would be willing to let this giant monster destroy a huge city. Didn't he reveal himself to stop Blackrock from destroying a bridge? Hasn't he already met and worked with Diana and Bruce in the last 'Death of Superman' arc.
But because the Lois moments are so strong, and I have been waiting for strong Lois moments for a while, I am willing to just sit back and enjoy the scene.
Maybe a shudder of the paranoia of the New 52 still exists.
We see the League having a discussion about Superman, sort of the reverse of the Lois/Clark scene. The team debates what they want to do him. Diana is still mourning the death of her lover. What should they do?
And then Batman decides to darken things up. He says he wants Superman to be part of the League so the Dark Knight can watch him. He wants Superman close.
Now Batman found the Comedian button. Batman might feel, like Superman, that something bigger is happening.
Still, I was hoping this semi-negativity would be behind us. Even if he said 'For some reason I trust him, but I think we should keep a close eye' would have read better than this.
Finally Superman arrives, flying into the creature and meeting up with the League in the central brain area. In a bit of deus ex machina, Superman knows which areas of the brain to attack, weakening those spots so the League can pinpoint their attacks. The creature falls.
But in the throes of death, this thing sends out a telepathic message. This monster was the beginning of something bigger. Something even more powerful is on its way. A life of crustacean-induced slavery would have been a mercy.
But this victory allows for a couple of good iconic moments. The entire group - including Superman - poses together, declaring themselves the Justice League. And then we see the news reporter labeling them heroes who have once again saved the day.
I suppose the story sets up the League in the post-Darkseid War time period. It gets Superman into the League. And it doubles down on the heroic aspect of the team. So as a 'jump on' point, it worked.