DC Comics billed “Justice League” #51 as a lead-in to “Titans: Rebirth” #1, but that’s not quite true. Fortunately, though, that doesn’t really matter, because what we do get is a fun story where Dan Abnett, Paul Pelletier and Sandra Hope show us the first meeting between Robin and the Justice League.
Back in the early days of the New 52, the walls between universes were still weak from Darkseid’s attack, which is what initially caused the League to be formed. Even as beings from different universes pour out of fractures in the dimensional walls, Robin makes up for what he lacks in firepower with his smarts. It’s a good take on characters playing to their own strengths; even at an early age, Dick Grayson has a sharp mind that understands that the rest of the Justice League is too busy focusing on their foes to understand they’re missing the bigger questions at stake. Abnett doesn’t make Robin too capable; he’s still just a kid, and — while he’s got good ideas — it takes some of the other League members to actually take those kernels and turn them into something that works.
At its heart, this is classic superhero team writing. The group works by cooperating and feeding off of one another; one person comes up with the ideas for the others to bring to life. It bodes well for “Titans,” which starts next month, as Abnett gives Grayson strong leadership abilities before he even became Nightwing. Add in that Abnett does his best to give the other characters something to do, and this comic will keep its readers happy.
It’s also great to see a new comic drawn by Pelletier and Hope; Pelletier’s pencils are big and full and perfect for a superhero comic. He understands how to move action from one panel to the next, and Robin’s reactions are especially good. We get a really large range of emotions from his facial expressions: frustration, defeat and — most importantly — a look of victory when he starts focusing on who he is rather than who he isn’t. Add in a visually entertaining fight scene — Wonder Woman in particular looks incredibly strong here, and I love how Flash seems to skid and bounce through the panels — and I’ve got no complaints.
Presumably, the mystery villain lurking in “Justice League” #51 will appear in “Titans” before too long. Even if he doesn’t, though, this is a good comic to read thanks to the overall hopeful nature of the script and art that matches that tone.