Rating: 4/5 – Justice League Sampler for New Readers Could Use Some More JLA.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
The 1st 100 page Justice League sampler that DC is releasing through Walmart stores has 3 full reprinted comics and a new 12 page Wonder Woman story. I’ll be reviewing all 4 of these comics and there will be a bit of repetition in this opening paragraph about the program. DC has stated that it is to get new readers into DC comics, so that is how I’ll be reviewing these, not based on the story value to an existing fan. The one exception is the “all new” 12 page story. This is not needed for the new reader and serves mostly, in my opinion, as a DC marketing hook to get their hard core fans to go to Walmart and buy these comics so they do not “miss out” on the new material. The comics themselves are displayed along with the collectible card games (Magic, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh) up by the registers, so are in a good spot to be noticed by kids. That is good. However, there do not seem to be very many copies on display, and I’m curious how many will be left to be discovered by new readers after existing DC fans have swooped in to buy copies, combined with the people who will buy them to resell on eBay.
On to the comics: the 1st story in the comic is the new Wonder Woman story written by Tim Seeley with art by Rick Leonardi. I found it kind of weird to open a JLA comic with a solo Wonder Woman story, but the Amazon Princess had a very successful movie, so the character is well-liked and well known by people and the story so maybe this will work with new readers. The story is a WW vs. Ares tale that felt a bit preachy to me and Leonardi’s art felt a bit stiff, so it was not a huge hit with me. It mostly served to get the comic off to a slow start.
The 2nd story reprints Justice League #1 (2011) by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee. This is the 1st New 52 issue of Justice League and introduces the team in the current DC continuity so is a good jumping on Point for new readers. The 3rd story is a reprint of The Flash #1 (2011) by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul. Another New 52 debut issue with Barry Allen who, to new readers, may be jarringly dissimilar to the Barry Allen they see on TV. Even so, Manapul’s art is gorgeous and is a great example of comics art for newcomers and is a good way to introduce them to the comics version of the character. 4th and finally is yet another New 52 #1, this time Aquaman #1 (2011) by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. This is another choice where the newcomer will be pulled into the comics world, because Aquaman is not the dark and brooding Jason Momoa they saw in the Justice League movie, but one much close in appearance to the one people have seen on merchandising (T-Shirts, mugs, etc) for most of their lives. The story by Johns is a great intro to the character and directly pokes fun at a number of the common Aquaman jokes like “talks to fish” and deftly puts them aside. This is a perfect choice of a 1st introduction to the comics version of the character for new readers.
Overall, I thought there could have been a stronger Justice League focus in the 100 page package instead of using 3 of the 4 stories to focus on individual members. Personally I think if the new story had featured the full JLA instead of just Wonder Woman, then the issue would have felt more balanced. That said, the selection of reprint material was top notch. DC picked very popular stories, well regarded by existing fans, so they should really click with new readers. The overall package is nice. Good paper and print quality, an intro page before each story and a “come back in 30 days for the next installment” teaser at the end of each. There are ads for complementary trade paperbacks in several places throughout the issue, but NO Comic Shop Locator ad (it was in the Batman & Teen Titans issues, but not in Superman & JLA). Ultimately, I think it is a nice package for new fans and well worth the $4.99, but the 12 page Wonder Woman story is not enough to make this worth it to existing fans other than the most hard-core completists.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics