Best Shots Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE - NO JUSTICE #1 'a Fun, Gorgeously Rendered Debut' (8/10)

Justice League: No Justice #1
Credit: Francis Manapul/Hi-Fi (DC Comics)
Credit: Francis Manapul (DC Comics)

Justice League: No Justice #1
Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson
Art by Francis Manapul and Hi-Fi
Lettering by AndWorld Design
Published by DC Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

Credit: Francis Manapul/Hi-Fi (DC Comics)

The Justice League face new threats with new formations and new outfits in the debut of Justice League: No Justice. Written by a triumvirate of DC heavy hitters and rendered in a splashy and expansive style, this debut issue takes the Leaguers out of their comfort zone and allies them with unlikely teammates in the face of new threats from beyond the broken Source Wall. Though this is very much an establishing issue, writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson keep the plot moving at a decent clip, steadily doling out exposition and action supported by artist Francis Manapul and colorists Hi-Fi’s beautiful and dynamic page layouts. It is a brave new world, one filled with new dangers and big threats, but Justice League: No Justice #1 finds DC’s mightiest heroes adapting in the face of these challenges and breathing new life into the book’s concept as a whole.

Brainiac has come to Earth once again. But this time, it isn’t to conquer - it is to help. Heralding the coming of the malevolent Omega Titans, Brainiac proposes a plan to ally with the Justice League and various other teams from around the DCU in order to stack them in a “mathematically” sound way to combat the different Omega Titans. As far as concepts go, the idea of moneyballing the League is a pretty novel one, and I really applaud the writers’ commitment to narratively justifying the new rosters, which sets No Justice apart instantly from other team shake-ups.

But while the writers make good use of the large cast and the new powerful teams, this debut script never moves beyond raw exposition. On one hand, it’s understandable as the introduction to the new post-Metal status quo for the League and other teams. But on the other, it is a little disappointing that such a big title handled by such big names didn’t take more of a risk to match its ambition. Basically all of No Justice’s page count is dedicated to building the new teams and to establishing the threat of the Omega Titans. As a reader, I have seen that before - a few times actually - and for a title that has been sold as the new and exciting “new normal” of the Justice League, it can’t help but feel a little pedestrian.

Credit: Francis Manapul/Hi-Fi (DC Comics)

Thankfully, Francis Manapul and Hi-Fi really swing for the fences when it comes to this debut’s artwork and scope, making the constant exposition of the script really sing. Graced with multiple double-page splashes positively bursting with character and color, Manapul and Hi-Fi make the table setting of this opening look like a visual feast. Better still, the art team really works overtime to break out of standard panel and page layouts, like the opening 18-panel grid that hops between a simultaneous fight centered around the Titans, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, and Amanda Waller’s command center and a Brainiac themed bisected sequence that sockets the action into Brainiac’s three circled symbol. Along with the splash pages, Manapul and Hi-Fi break the action down across a few truly wonderful and dynamic layouts that really amp up the energy of the issue and highlight the new title’s sense of style, marking a smooth transition from Metal’s darkened sword-and-sorcery look to an epic sci-fi flavor.

Credit: Francis Manapul/Hi-Fi (DC Comics)

Despite this debut’s table setting and constant exposition, Justice League: No Justice #1 is a fun, gorgeously rendered debut, one that sets up an epic new turn for the teams of the DCU along with a new set of villains that seem more than capable of standing toe-to-toe with them. Anchored by some of the biggest names behind DC Comics today, as well as some epic, eye-catching artwork, Justice League: No Justice #1 is a welcome change of pace from the gloom and doom that was Metal.

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