Justice League #1 Is an Exciting, Bold Shift

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A new Justice League comes together in Future State, with both tales providing two very different takes on the DC Universe’s mightiest heroes.

From the ashes of the recently concluded crossover event Dark Nights: Death Metal comes the Future State publishing initiative, exploring alternate future timelines that are poised to heavily inform the upcoming Infinite Frontier era. With Future State now in full swing, the DC Universe’s marquee super-team the Justice League comes together, now spearheaded by the next generation of superheroes taking on the biggest, iconic mantles of the DCU. With the opening issue of the Future State miniseries, there are a pair of tales that focus on two very different iterations of the Justice League taking on this dangerous, new future.

The main feature, by Joshua Williamson, Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, Romulo Fajardo, Jr. and Tom Napolitano, has the heroes of the main Justice League contending with the fact that while they all may be working together towards the common goal of protecting the DCU, they still don’t quite trust each other yet — with many of the heroes unaware of their new teammates’ secret identities. The back-up story, by Ram V, Marcio Takara, Marcelo Maiolo and Rob Leigh, has the world of magic under siege, with the ragtag heroes of the Justice League Dark forced to go on the run before they reunite to take on the mutual threat that has been steadily wiping out all magic on Earth.

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Both Williamson and Ram take on their respective rosters and Future State stories with effective aplomb; Ram, in particular, has been working with the Justice League Dark heroes for some time and leaps right into action bringing his magical misfits back together. With a largely new cast of characters for the main story, Williamson is able to give most of his team either an individual shot at the spotlight or in tandem with another teammate as they grow closer in this brave, new world. Fresh off crafting the Justice League tie-in story to Death Metal, Williamson is working with a much different ensemble but naturally assumes their disparate voices with an approach that is reminiscent of Grant Morrison’s JLA‘s run in more ways than one.

Penciller Robson Rocha, inker Daniel Henriques and colorist Romulo Fajardo, Jr., who all previously worked with Williamson in their Death Metal Justice League story, continue to prove themselves a strong collaborative ensemble. There is some big, splashy action in this story and the entire art team delivers on that, but also the sense of uncertainty and tension imbued into the quieter, dialogue-driven sequences. Artist Marcio Takara and colorist Marcelo Maiolo are illustrating what is essentially a sort of post-apocalyptic story, at least in terms of how ragged and persecuted the magical heroes are run in the back-up story, and that sense of desperation and unrelenting menace is brought to life beautifully in their artwork as they elevate Ram’s scripting.

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Overall, Future State has been knocking it out of the park, with issue after issue finding interesting, bold directions to reintroduce the familiar mantles and icons of the DC Universe, often with new characters at the helm. The opening issue of the Justice League miniseries showcases the publishing initiative’s potential and premise in one complete package: The main feature that has a new generation of heroes take on iconic roles in a perilous future and reimagines the possibilities of the DCU while a back-up story takes returning characters and plunges them headfirst into the dangers of this world where nothing quite feels safe or predictable. The creative teams are pulling out all the stops to craft some genuinely thrilling tales and the future feels like in good hands with these creators and these new characters.

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