Incredibly, Boringly, Likeable

So, I bit the faster than a speeding bullet and bought Justice League #1.

I didn't think I was going to do it, as I'm not a particular fan of either Jim Lee or Geoff Johns. Both creators are obviously very good at what they do, but what they do is create mostly fun and vaguely unchallenging work. That said, "fun" and "vaguely unchallenging" are precisely the words I would use to describe Justice League #1 and that is precisely why I like it.

Before I get to why, let's take a step back.

Had I walked into my LCS this Wednesday, as tends to be my habit during the summer but rarely actually happens once the semester starts, I'm relatively confident that I would have ignored both the end of FLASHPOINT and the beginning of the New 52, unless I had happened to notice the dual physical/digital version of the JL release. That sort of thinking about digital is the sort of thinking I want to encourage by spending my dollars; there's no reason, particularly with the digital version at the $3.99 price point, that I shouldn't be able to get both, given that the digital version is almost certainly free to create because the digital files for most of the pages already exist.* As it happened, though, I didn't get to my LCS on Wednesday, and I was surfing the new version of Comixology and saw JL and I thought "Oh, well, I guess I haven't spent any money on comics this week," and then I bought it.

Now, to be clear, charging $3.99 for a digital comic is absurd, but I guess I paid for it, so good on DC for putting out product they know that readers will buy. I think if they want the digital market to be viable in the long term, however, they're going to have to consider lowering the price point on day-and-date books, or release every day-and-date book as some sort of physical/digital package (and this isn't as absurd as it sounds-- The New Yorker, which provides a significantly larger amount of content relative to the cost of a magazine, gives you access to both the physical magazine and the digital version for the same price when you subscribe), while relying on older, out-of-print books for digital only sales. I suppose that could take the legs out of the collectors market (then again: what collectors market?) or the trade paperback market, but I suspect that the respective audiences are actually sort of fundamentally different.

Anyway, I bought the damn thing at the absurd price, and then I read it and I liked it. In fact, despite a couple of issues that became apparent upon rereading, I still like it. But that's sort of how I feel about all of Johns' work, and all of Lee's work. It's incredibly, boringly, likeable. It isn't awesome, it isn't striking, what it is is sweet and enjoyable, but ultimately not very satisfying. Like candy. And Siege. But, remember, I liked Siege.

So, yea, there are problems: the dialogue is a little stilted, Jim Lee's art doesn't really pop like I would like, I'm not really that sympathetic to Vic Stone. But, at the same time, the bit with Batman and Hal Jordan's ring? Perfect. Almost makes having bought a $3.99 digital comic worth it. And the bit at the end, with Superman? That was pretty great too or, at least, great enough that I think I'll probably buy the next issue to see what happens, despite the fact that there's nothing really killer going on, despite the yawn-inducing promise of a Batman v. Superman duel, despite the fact that most of the issue is sort of ho-hum-superheroes-getting-to-know-each-other-by-fighting-before-everyone-realizes-they're-on-the-same-side (oh, did I jump a few issues ahead?)

To be completely honest, in this situation, with the brand new continuity, a boring, comfortable, incredibly likeable comic was exactly what Geoff Johns and Jim Lee needed (and could be counted on) to produce. "Look," they're saying "the details may be different, but the things you love about comics? They're the same. We promise. Let's show you."

And then they did.


*Apparently, it was silly of me to assume that the physical/digital twofer was also $3.99. Would I pay a dollar extra for the digital version of the comic? Hell no. Apparently people did, though, since the book has gone on to a second printing.

Like I said up top, good for DC.

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