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Justice League: The New 52 Omnibus Vol. 1 Review!

In short, if you're looking for an action packed, blockbuster "popcorn flick" style comic book ride, you'll definitely find it here.

This felt like a very comprehensive omnibus at times, in terms of collecting some other issues outside of the main series that are related to the story, and I thought that was both a good and bad thing. Good because you know you're getting the full story, the catch being they do vary in quality from okay to great.

However on the whole most of the main Justice League issues were fun entertaining worthwhile reads, if you're interested in checking this out.

With those general thoughts out of the way, I'll now break down the book, talking specifically about the various stories that make it up.

Vol. 1 - Origin

This omnibus kicks off with a bang. It's fast paced, action packed, dramatic, the characters are quickly and efficiently introduced, and the artwork by Jim Lee (with Scott Williams on inks and Alex Sinclair on colors) is spectacular.

It led to some awkward continuity questions and problems, but as an idea I did like the New 52's whole "compressed into 5 years" schtick at times. I think it would have been more interesting as something similar to Marvel's Ultimate universe, rather than a full reboot of the main universe necessarily, but I digress.

There's not a whole lot of room for Darkseid just yet, as it's only 6 issues, but even then he and Apokolips feels epic, imposing, threatening and just generally a fitting villain considering some of the sheer power of this team of heroes.

Overall when I call this run a summer blockbuster style of comic book, it's stories like this first arc that I immediately think of. Such a great, awesome entertaining and overall fun start to this run.

Vol. 2 - The Villain's Journey

Back in the present, definitely not the strongest arc of the omnibus but a very solid one at that.

In this volume we start to see the involvement of the government, through characters like Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor, in this new world of superheroes. That didn't surprise me, but it was still a much bigger part of this run overall than I was expecting honestly.

It had a bit of an Ultimate Marvel feel, where lots of that becomes very government based in places, and you can definitely see those 90s/00s influences coming in here, setting that tone for some of the other New 52 books. But I digress.

I liked how while it was now set in the present, it did tie back into the first arc set in the past, I thought that was neat. Jim Lee was still on art which was great to see, but apart from that there wasn't anything too particularly memorable about this second arc.

Vol. 3 - Throne of Atlantis

After a somewhat forgettable second arc, this brought it back to form and was easily another highlight of the book so far.

Interestingly it's actually the second time I've read this, the first being in the Aquaman omnibus also written by Johns. If you want a great Aquaman series to start with, definitely recommend starting with that one. I haven't read many of his solo comics, but I loved that.

There's not a whole lot to say about it, but I just think it's a very well done and effective comic book story. There's tension, stakes, action, character moments, and the JL issues have spectacular art by Ivan Reis, with of course Joe Prado on inks and Rod Reis on colors, both awesome work.

Just like the first arc, if you want some quality blockbuster comic storytelling, it's absolutely worth giving this story a read.

Justice League of America Vol. 1 - World's Most Dangerous

When I said near the beginning that the comprehensiveness of this book was both a good and bad thing, this and Trinity War (which I'll talk about next) is what I was talking about.

I mean, it's fine, it's fun, I like the characters involved. It's not really that bad, but I can't say I would miss it if it wasn't in here. It builds off the Waller/Trevor government stuff that started in Vol. 2, setting up another piece of the puzzle leading into Trinity War.

I mean honestly I do actually somewhat like the idea of the story here, it was neat. But ultimately it's the Finch artwork that firmly gives it that rough, "dark and gritty" 2000s feel that lots of the New 52 was known for. I do like lots of Finch's later work but here it just didn't work for me.

At the end of the day one of those stories where I don't necessarily regret reading it, but I'm not ever going to bother reading it again, just glad to move onto other things.

Trinity War

I have very mixed feelings about this event. I think it is an interesting idea, but I wasn't that interested that I was massively bothered about it being this big event that had been built up to.

I realised part of the problem is how it's one of those crossovers that goes across a few series, rather than having one singular event series. Often when that happens the story can feel disjointed or disconnected. In this case the story felt okay in that regard, but the art across the three books was so different to each other and inconsistent they all just clashed.

Additionally, like I've mentioned a couple times already, this is the main place where the book being so comprehensive comes into play. The actual event is only 6 issues (2 issues each of JL, JLA and JLD) but the various tie-ins included double that to 12. Again it was nice to have some of the background and the interludes, but I feel like I wouldn't have missed them if they weren't here.

The two interlude issues, from Constantine and The Phantom Stranger, were actually the most interesting and fun for the whole event honestly, good reads.

The artwork in the main JL issues was easily the highlight of the whole event, the way it kicked everything off and especially the way it ended it. Such an awesome, epic ending issue that showed everything blockbuster I like about this run. Really let Reis, Prado and Reis make some spectacular pages.

Building on from that, to finish off, I will say while this did feel like a bit of a slog at times, the ending absolutely made it all worth it. One of those "Ohhh of course" twists I couldn't believe I didn't realise earlier. Especially because we know how the whole run turned out, I knew what event was coming after this, but yeah, one of those "oh hell yeah!!!" moments, got me so hyped up. Always love those moments in comics, when they can put a smile on my face. Love it, made me so happy.


Around the time I read this, because it was on my mind, and as I read this, I was thinking it must be one of my favourite superhero stories. It's easy for me to forget, because it wasn't its own title but instead serialised as backups during the second arc of Justice League, but yeah I just love it.

It can be easy to forget, because it wasn't its own title, but rather serialised in the backups of the second arc of the main JL run.

Of course, like the rest of the New 52, it has a darker tone to it, which I understand was a bit jarring for people that were already fans of the character. But as someone new to him when I first read this a few years ago, I loved it then and I loved it again now.

I think it's because it just works for me, as an origin story, on so many levels. For one, it's self-contained. You literally don't need to know anything else. Which you might think is a given, but these days you can't be too sure. To me, it also just feels iconic, it already feels classic.

Everything from immediately getting in touch with Billy's struggles, his angst as a character, the introduction to his new foster family, Sivana, Black Adam, the Wizard, Billy becoming Shazam, it's all there and executed at a nice, brisk action packed pace. But still manages to get in those character moments and dynamics well.

It was fun reading this for the second time, with the movie in mind, as it's literally a very close adaptation of this storyline. I definitely think it was a good idea to slim it down for the movie, taking out Black Adam, I think it made the movie tighter and gave it more breathing room to fully capitalise on the whole family arc. But anyway, I digress.

That's not even mentioning the incredible work of Gary Frank with spectacular coloring by Brad Anderson, just so, so awesomely done. It's rich, it's dynamic, it's explosive, it's action packed, but it still feels so emotive and real and personal. I just adore it.


If you made it all the way to the end of this, thank you so much, that means a lot. This ended up being longer than I was anticipating, but I feel like that always happens when I think I don't have much to say.

Anyway, it wasn't perfect, there were definitely some rough patches, but overall if you're interested I would say this is worth the read.


Have you read this? What did you think? Let me know over on Twitter at JoeLovesComics, where you can find (albeit shorter) thoughts on other comics I love.

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