A lot has been made about the new “DC YOU” brand, replacing the New 52. DC Comics are still building series out of that New 52 universe but they claim to not be following any kind of continuity between books which was a hardline for their New 52 initiative. That much is clear within the opening pages of Justice League of America #1 by writer/artist Bryan Hitch. The opening shows Clark Kent rushing into his office to find Lois Lane with an invitation to a meeting with the Infinity Corporation. A new power plant that has popped up in Metropolis, the Infinity Corporation really wants to meet Superman, which is fine if you’ve been following the “Truth” storyline in the Superman books, as you’ll know that he’s been outed as Clark Kent. Yet, in this issue, he makes mention to the folks at Infinity that they should not know he’s Clark Kent and adds “nobody should know”, showing that JLA isn’t necessarily connected to the rest of the DC Universe right now. Now this personally isn’t a problem for me, since I don’t really care about continuity except for in the specific book I’m reading. Sure, if there’s a crossover I want it to flow well, like the current “Truth” crossover with Superman for example, but this is a standalone book so I don’t feel like it needs to comply with issues arising in other books. Kudos to DC for realizing this as well.
Anyways, when Supes gets to Infinity Corp they tell him that they are really trying to save his life. Apparently the “Stone of Forever”, a mystical object with unknown properties, has been pulling in Supermen from all across the multiverse, landing in this universe as either dead or dying. Apparently they have discovered that when a Superman dies, everyone from his universe dies as well. Infinity Corp begs Superman to stop risking his life because if he dies so does everyone else. Meanwhile, Aquaman has a meeting with the UN, with the UN worried that the far more technologically advanced Atlanteans will attack the world and they want some policies in place for protection, policies that Aquaman doesn’t quite agree with. The other Leaguers; Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Cyborg, all get mysterious invitations to a meeting and it turns out it’s a trap. The Superman villain, Parasite, attacks and Superman eventually leaves Infinity to help with the battle.
I’m perhaps not as familiar with Hitch’s work as I should be, having dabbled in The Ultimates and also his run on Fantastic Four. I’ve also read Age of Ultron, which I wasn’t a fan of (although most of that wasn’t due to Hitch’s art), so I’m happy to say that this is a fine model of work for Hitch. I do find his writing seems to go back and forth between edgy and colourful more than I would like, which makes for an uneven tone throughout, but it’s the art that keeps you turning the page. This is especially true in an issue like this that is heavy on the action, giving Hitch a great backdrop to do his detailed, almost cinematic, action scenes that are always dynamic to look at. Hitch leaves almost all aspects of his story shrouded in mystery in this first issue. Every time we leave a character we’re left with some sort of cliffhanger, whether it’s what the Infinity Corp is really up to or who’s behind the Parasite ambush.
Overall the art itself makes this book a worthwhile purchase. Hitch draws the characters in such an iconic way that it’s sure to please new fans and old as this is very much a throwback book. It’s a very strong first issue that keeps you guessing the whole way through and begs you to buy issue two the minute it hits stores (having come out just this past Wednesday!). But most importantly the world Hitch has begun building is very accessible to both new readers, current readers, and old readers that have gotten away from DC, a big part of this is thanks to being able to avoid the strain of continuity. Without those shackles Hitch has been enabled to do a lot of fun stuff with this incarnation of the League and it appears that after this issue, he’s building towards something big.