DC’s Digital First lineup gains a powerhouse of its in with the debut of “Justice League Beyond 2.0” #1. Alternating weeks with “Batman Beyond 2.0” #1, this title is shored up by “Beyond”-era mainstays like Superman, Aquagirl, Micron, Warhawk, Barda and that era’s Green Lantern: Kai-Ro. Writer Christos Gage and artist Iban Coello bring in newer members Flash and Captain Marvel while Mister Miracle also joins in. The roster is reminiscent of “Justice League” #1 from 1987, and the comic itself is bright and energetic, just as Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire’s original work.
This issue is the first of eight chapters for the “Power Struggle” storyline, which will apparently focus on Superman’s inability to properly control his powers. The ending is an interesting parallel to the recent events of “Trinity War,” but I doubt this story will have quite the same outcome. Gage keeps the story largely optimistic and the characters mostly upbeat, but doesn’t really have enough room to provide complete character studies for each and every one. The one odd spot was the choice of Terry McGinnis as the technical analyst of Superman’s power problem. Sure, it gives Gage a way to work the “Beyond” era Batman into the story, but it seems to me that his analysis is more inline with the relationship between Bruce and Clark than Clark and Terry. A subsequent conversation between Superman and Bruce Wayne strengthens the continuity between this series and “Batman Beyond 2.0.”
Coello’s character drawings are sharp and dynamic, which is good, considering so much attention is devoted to them that many backgrounds and settings are simply forsaken. With the sparse backgrounds, the focus remains on the ten members of the “Justice League Beyond 2.0” squad. Every member has some time to share in the spotlight with Superman, helping the Last Son of Krypton through his power problems, and each looks dynamic with a distinct, memorable appearance, boldly colored by Randy Mayor. The only artistic gripe is that Flash looks like she’s wearing body paint instead of a costume. I would imagine that might be a painful experience given the high speeds she is capable of achieving and would like to see something a bit more practical applied to this newest manipulator of the Speed Force.
Far from a perfectly complete or completely perfect story, “Justice League Beyond 2.0” #1 offers readers a fun beginning to what could be an enjoyably expository story despite the daunting length of tracking out to eight parts. If every installment reads like this, however, there won’t be any problems as Gage and Coello do a nice job of presenting engaging characters.