WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Justice League #2 by Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez, in stores now.
Coming out of the Dark Nights: Metal event, writer Scott Snyder strove to re-launch the Justice League into a bold new era filled with dangerous new cosmic threats and a roster that called back to the fan-favorite Justice League animated series. This new direction was the shot in the arm the series needed, as it instantly propelled the team-up book as the flagship title of DC's entire line of comics. With a new iteration of the Legion of Doom lurking in the shadows, and stellar, cinematic artwork by Jim Cheung and Jorge Jimenez, this is the Justice League title the fans deserve.
In fact, it's the Justice League many fans wish we could have seen on the big screen -- big, bold, fun exciting and crafty.
This week saw the release of Snyder and Jimenez's first issue on the title (the series' second issue overall), and already it's painstakingly clear that this creative team has a better handle on the team dynamics than anyone involved in the DC Extended Universe's films. The book shows off a masterful balancing act of superhero action, drama and comedy that rapidly blows past its big screen counterpart.
The first issue of the series started with a legitimately funny scene featuring the various members of the superhero team trying to do their best imitation of Batman's growly voice. The humorous exchange didn't feel out of place because it was well executed -- it showed the bond that the Justice League shares, and that, sometimes, they are allowed to poke fun at each other without it being forced. But then, when the situation heightens into danger, the humor is nowhere to be found. The superheroes feel the gravity of the situation, and they reflect it.
On the other hand, Warner Bros.' Justice League film went out of its way to be funny -- or, attempt to be funny. Instead of letting dramatic scenes play out, it inserted jokes left and right, coming from the lips of any character -- even Batman, who somehow developed a fine-tuned sense of humor in the time since to his darker turn in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In the superhero ensemble film, the Justice League was facing an invasion that threatened all of reality, and never once did they appear to reflect how dire the situation really was. The movie was more concerned with showing how the team had fun together. But while it's nice to see Aquaman and Cyborg cracking jokes from time-to-time, it isn't all that the Justice League is supposed to do. They also fight, and they take Earth's protection very seriously.
Snyder and Jimenez demonstrate how strong a handle they have on the team dynamics in Justice League #2. A scene as simple as Batman, Superman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter and the Flash discussing how to reach the Totality is just as entertaining as any of the book's action scenes. The jokes about a miniature Batman entering the body of Superman Innerspace-style delivers just the right amount of quick laughter we need without making a big deal about it. It's little snippets like this that make us chuckle as we follow a tense situation that just may doom the planet if done wrong, alleviating the tension without being obnoxious about it. Snyder and Jimenez's humor isn't trying to beat you over the head. It simply occurs organically, and then it moves on.
In the new Justice League comic, we get a genuine sense of shared history between the characters. It's something that was solely missing from the DC Universe for a long time, and it's something we wish we could see more of on the big screen. It's not just about cracking a joke, after all; it's about the fact that these characters have been through a lot, both together and apart, and fighting as a team allows them to be their best, most heroic selves -- be that with a smile or not.