Tuesday, April 27, 2021

RWBY/Justice League #1 Review


Written By: Marguerite Bennett
Art By: Aneke
Colors By: HI-FI
Letter By: Gabriela Downie
Cover Price: $3,99
Release Date: April 27, 2021

Reviewed By: Michael G

Comic book crossovers can often be a fun time if done right, all depending on how much of a fan you happen to be of the two properties being mashed together of course. When I first heard that DC was once again teaming up with Rooster Teeth for a comic based on their widely successful animated web series RWBY, I was a bit surprised. The previous RWBY comic series didn’t seem to perform all that well, particularly since they ditched the final print issue of the series when the April shutdown of 2020 happened (to this reader’s dismay). But this time, DC is bringing their heaviest hitters along to hopefully draw more readers in, as all our favorite Justice League members are dropped into the world of Remnant for this all-new series! It’s the crossover I never knew I wanted, but does it work?

For the uninitiated, RWBY (pronounced RUBY) is an American-made and anime-inspired web series produced by Rooster Teeth, creators of the hit machinima series Red vs Blue, and created by animator Monty Oum. Taking place in the fantasy/sci-fi world of Remnant, the series follows four monster huntresses: Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long. Together, they form team RWBY. Equipped with badass weapons and each possessing a unique magical ability, team RWBY must progress through their studies at the elite monster-hunting school Beacon Academy and protect the world from an army of demonic creatures called Grimm. So yeah, it’s anime to the max, but with a western flare. Now on to the comic!

First off, it’s important to note that this is a RWBY story that happens to have DC characters in it. So, if you’ve never heard of RWBY and are here purely for the Justice League half of the equation, you’ll probably be disappointed. Marguerite Bennett has no problem casually dropping RWBY terminology without much explanation, which will most likely alienate readers who never watched the show. In that respect, it

feels like the series is wasting a chance to welcome newcomers to the story by focusing on a very niche audience of dedicated RWBY fans who also happen like DC characters and not vice versa. This issue does more to explain Clark Kent/Superman and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman to readers who never heard of them than it does the RWBY characters! For a fan of both properties, though, this opening issue did do a good job of getting me invested in the mystery of just who the Justice League members are in this world and what their roles will be moving forward. This isn’t to say non-RWBY readers won’t find things to like in this issue, but the barrier of entry is pretty imposing.
In the issue, we get two plotlines, each bringing together characters from team RWBY with the RWBY-ized versions of our DC heroes. The first story introduces half-sisters Ruby Rose and Yang Xiao Long (half of team RWBY) to Clark Kent, a mysterious farmhand who’s hiding a pretty powerful set of abilities, even for an inhabitant of Remnant. Together, they encounter a new kind of neon Grimm who hypnotizes Clark into attacking Ruby and Yang. Eventually, the two knock him out of it and make the discovery that he can fly. In the second story, fellow RWBY team member Blake Belladonna comes across Diana, the equally mysterious automaton princess of an island of witch warrior women. The two encounter a hypnotized sea monster and manage to calm it down, after which Diana brings Blake back to her secret island homeland.

I found myself a bit more invested in the Blake/Diana side of the story, as I enjoyed how Bennett integrated Diana into the RWBY-verse, and the fight between the two heroines and the hypnotized sea creature showed of the badass and caring sides of Diana that are her trademark character traits. The Ruby and Yang/Clark plot hinge a bit more on the mystery of where Clark comes from, as well as the strange new neon Grimm that attacks our heroes, and while I hope these threads will pay off in future issues, there wasn’t quite enough there to capture my full interest just yet. Bennett’s attempt to make Clark feel like a country bumpkin was a bit distracting as well. However, I do understand that it’s in service of tying him to his Smallville upbringing.

The art here really shines, as Aneke captures the show’s distinct visual style while also making it appropriate for a comic format. It’s not quite manga but gets about as close as western comic art can get to that style, which the web series tries to accomplish. I also really liked how the DC characters were re-designed and de-aged to fit into the world of RWBY. It’s a seamless transition, and these characters would be right at home on the regular web series. I especially liked the design for Diana, who was the standout character of the issue for me. HI-FI’s colors also accentuate the designs with eye-popping flare.

Bits and Pieces:

RWBY/Justice League #1 is about as niche a comic as you can get, despite having some of the most recognizable characters in DC lore as part of its story. All in all, RWBY fans will no doubt get a kick out of this intriguing side story set in the series’ continuity, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing exactly how the Justice League characters will fit into the narrative. It accomplishes what the opening issue of a miniseries should do: make me excited to see what comes next in the following issue. Couple that with some pretty sweet art, and you’ve got yourself an issue that genuinely proves any crossover combo is possible in the world of comics.


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