A bringing together of the biggest and best of the DC Comics empire, the Justice League have been at the heart of many of DC’s greatest books and stories since their inception in 1960. Finally making their way to the big screen, after years of aborted movie attempts and that awful television pilot from the 90’s, which didn’t even feature Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman, the Justice League are now set to dominate our movie screens.
To coincide with its release, Set the Tape presents five of the best comic stories to read that represent some of the best of the characters in the printed page.
The New 52: Origin
A massive relaunch of the entire DC line after the events of Flashpoint, Origin was the first issue of any comic book published by DC during their universe wide reboot and brings the Justice League together for the “first” time.
Written by Geoff Johns and with gorgeous art work from Jim Lee, Origin is a massive amount of fun, filled to the brim with witty character interaction, dialogue, and a LOT of action, for a relaunch that became better known for some gritty interpretations of its characters, as well as some divisive, controversial plot twists (Wonder Woman and Superman as a couple should never be a thing, *ever*), it’s easy to forget how much damn fun it was when it started, with the League coming together to defeat Darkseid, and a lovely visual reference to the famous The Brave and the Bold cover page that started the series back in the 60’s.
The New 52: Throne of Atlantis
Another brilliant part of The New 52 was how the relaunch attempted to make Aquaman cool after years of being the butt of many a joke. Epic, action packed and giving the King of Atlantis a dark, complex story arc, Throne of Atlantis is another ace in the hole for writer Geoff Johns, this time with brilliant art work from Ivan Reis.
Complete with epic, big screen worthy oceanic action sequences, it would be very much worthy of a movie adaptation and should be considered a potential source of material for any future Justice League sequel, especially since Jason Mamoa looks as if he is about to ace the role with his rock star sensibility.
Without a doubt one of the greatest works of comic art ever produced, the combination of writer Mark Waid and the iconic art work of Alex Ross, comes together to create the Citizen Kane/The Godfather of comic books, a piece of work that marries magical realism, epic poses and a political undercurrent that could be analysed for weeks on end.
Best of all, the character work and plot twists are amazing, and Ross’ art work makes it feels more real than any comic book before. Superb interpretations of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Lex Luthor and Shazam seal the deal and help make Kingdom Come one of the greatest works of popular culture ever conceived.
Running from 1997 to 2006, and being written by some of the biggest names in the comic book industry, including Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Denny O’Neill, JLA was a resetting of what a DC Comics Justice League title was about, but bringing the biggest names of the DC empire together after years of featuring a rotating roster of characters within Justice League titles.
Featuring some brilliant writing and story telling, a major highlight being Mark Waid’s ‘Tower of Babel’, which got itself an animated version in the shape of Justice League: Doom, the series is a brilliant starting off point for anyone new to comics, and with a plethora of epic storylines and gorgeous art work, it would prove to be one of the best series put together by DC and its writers and artists.
A controversial choice possibly, Identity Crisis was to DC what Civil War was to Marvel, in that it took characters within a major comic book publisher and dragged them to a dark level, complete with controversial story telling twists and subject matter.
Brad Meltzer’s writing is both brilliant and problematic, but features such superb moments that it is almost worth it for the good stuff, even if it does resort to troubling aspects with its female characters, both in the treatment of one character whose death kickstarts the narrative, and in the eventual revelation of who the murder is at the end.
A murder mystery, and one that puts the supporting cast members of DC Comics front and centre, with show stealing roles for Green Arrow and Zatanna, this is both brilliant and somewhat off-putting, but is a must read nevertheless.
What is your favourite Justice League comic? Let us know.