Sunday, April 19, 2020

Justice League: Gods and Monsters #1 (2015) Review

Beginnings and Beyond

Written by: J.M. DeMatteis and Bruce Timm
Art by Thony Silas
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: July 10, 2015

This is what it's all about.  After three origin stories spanning nine issues, I've finally gotten to the Justice League part of the Justice League: Gods and Monsters series.  The whole time I was reading these alternate takes on Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman I've been wondering how they will meet up and how such diverse characters will get along, let alone form a great team.  While I'm hoping we find out soon, I know I'll get one thing right away...Thony Silas' art.  I am a huge fan and haven't seen much of him since his outstanding work on Batman Beyond 2.0 (which you should grab if you haven't read it).  So, was this first issue everything I was hoping for?  Let's find out...

The issue begins in Switzerland where Jackson Alpert has gathered leaders from around the world to unveil the fruits of his and his Eternity Institute's labor.  I'll admit that I was confused with where J.M. DeMatteis was going with the talk of human genomes and evolution (remember, I am a big dummy), but then he hit me with the awesomeness hammer when Alpert introduced the Forever People!  When their New 52 book was canceled, I thought it would be a long time since we'd see them again, but low and behold, here they are...kind of.  There are just three members and we don't get much information about them just yet, but still...The. Forever. People!

DeMatteis then takes us to Gotham and reminds us that Gods and Monsters is a very dark story. It's Darker than most comics, but luckily the Batman in this book is darker still.  He's Kirk Langstrom, he's a vampire and he needs to feed.  In a Dexter-like move, he only feeds on the really bad people and the piece of crap in this issue is an all you can eat buffet.  As the mysterious narrator tells us, Batman is a monster to some, but a hero to others.

We then are off to San Francisco and if you read the origins, you should know the right way that hippie loving Wonder Woman is sure to be there.  She is and we learn that while she has kept a low enough profile, she is a hero, she's beautiful and she's been with Superman.  I mean, BEEN with Superman!

A couple things are obvious...Superman has turned into a self-centered jerk (what would Valentina say?) and Wonder Woman wants no parts of him.  As of this issue, we are very far from having a Justice League anytime soon.

The nature of a book like this is always going to force the first issue to be new reader-friendly and also get everyone up to speed.  J.M. DeMatteis does a great job of this while also throwing in a couple of mysteries at the reader.  Are Jackson Alpert and the Forever People on the up-and-up?  I don't think so.  Is Batman a hero or a monster?  I'd say a bit of both.  Is Superman a big douche?  A resounding yes.  Who is the narrator and how will these characters form the Justice League?  I really have no idea.  I can't wait to read the next issue so mission accomplished Mr. DeMatteis.

I love Thony Silas' art.  He is so good at fitting so much on one digital page without making it overcrowded or confusing.  The best thing, however, is the facial expressions he gives his characters.  They display real emotions and in a dark story like this, there are plenty of them from every character involved.   To me, the best example is Superman who just oozes cockiness when he shows up.  Great work.

Bits and Pieces:

After the three origin stories, we finally get to the heart of the matter, but if you expected the Justice League to just be handed to the reader, you would be dead wrong.  J.M. DeMatteis gets everyone (new readers included) up to speed and then presents us with a couple of intriguing mysteries while showing us that we are still a bit from seeing the Justice League.  Everything up until now has been all about the character so I wouldn't expect anything different from this story.  Thony Silas' art is great as usual and I can't wait to read the next issue.  Highly recommended.


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