Sometimes you want a book to start with the action. At others, a quieter beginning is best. This new incarnation of the global Justice League goes for the latter option, but for me, that's where the action is. For while I enjoy a good fracas between colourful heroes and dastardly villains, the membership of the team is the thing I've been most curious about in the lead-up to this issue.
And that's what we find out immediately, as UN wonks Andre Briggs and Emerson Esposito convince national representatives that the world has become dangerous enough for them to need an in-house super-team. Various names are offered, some are nixed, and selected are Ice from Norway, Fire from Brazil, Vixen from Zambesi, August General in Iron from China, Godiva from the UK, Rocket Red from Russia, Guy Gardner from the USA and, leading them, Booster Gold from ... well, DC Comics says that the future American is now Canadian, but that may have been a joke.
As it happens, hothead Guy walks out immediately, unwilling to accept Booster as leader, while Batman sneaks on-board when the UN isn't looking - he reckons it makes sense to have a link between the regular JL and the global guardians (just how come the League's name is co-opted, we're not told).
Soon the team are off on their first mission, investigating the disappearance of four UN research units. The trail leads to Peru, where the JLI find themselves in very big trouble. Meanwhile, back at the team's Hall of Justice HQ, dissenters against the idea of the UN having a tame super-team bomb the base.
It's easy enough to link this book back to the most recent JLI series, Generation Lost, which ended with Batman organising the team as an official unit once more. Who's to say that he hasn't pulled a few UN strings to get it global status before this issue begins? Booster says he doesn't know all his teammates, but he's certainly familiar with Fire, Ice and Rocket Red, while Guy reckons he knows Booster all too well. It could be that Flashpoint hasn't changed things that much, and when he's not with the JLI, Booster will still be helping Rip Hunter sort out the timestream, and hanging out with sis Michelle and adopted daughter Rani.
On the other hand, if this is a whole new thing, it's not half bad for what it is. The character dynamics are already sizzling - August General in Iron and Rocket Red seem to enjoying their idealogically-based bickering, while Godiva is a bit of a workshy trollop, Batman's faith in Booster is pleasing, and Fire is quick to come to the defence of Rocket Red (whom she was falling for as the last JLI book ended)
Dan Jurgens has been at this game long enough to knock up a perfectly serviceable plot, now I want a bit of flourish. Let's see this colourful collection of characters dazzle us against the little-seen dramatic backdrops offered by the DC Earth. The end of this issue is a neat step in that direction.
Penciller Aaron Lopresti and inker Matt Ryan do a bang-up job, filling the panels with personalities without them ever looking crowded. I'm not sure how much say they had in the new costumes, but Booster's tweaked look isn't an improvement - bring back the yellow longjohns and get rid of the faffy chevrons, visor stripes and puzzling W-design. And no self-respecting minx would be seen dead in the boring white body stocking Godiva is stuck in.
(And on a patriotic note, why do so many artists think they know what the Union Flag looks like? Please do Google, boys.)
I like this issue a fair bit. It's no industry game changer, but there has to be a place for traditional, well-done superhero books that are happy to be just that. Of course, who knows what ambitions the book has for the future?