Welcome everyone to the first review by me, Shane Will, in the “Comics We’re Reading” section of the CK Comics website.  Here I, along with other talent at CK will be posting reviews of well, what we’re reading.  I’m going to kick this off with what I read just last night, “Justice League Vol 1: The Extinction Machine”.  I’ll be writing about on this page comics from the big two, from independent publishers, and self publishers.  I see this as a great way to communicate our tastes as well as share some titles that you may have passed on (and will hopefully go back to), or comics you may never have heard of.  They may have been released this week, or 30 years ago.  I have a lot of comics and trades to read, and I’m going to share them all with you as I do.  There will most likely be spoilers in these, but I will do my best to not reveal everything, so it’s still exciting for you comic fans to pick up and read the books.  So lets kick this off with a big one.

Justice League Vol 1:  The Extinction Machine
Published by DC Comics
Writer:  Bryan Hitch
Artists:  Jesús Merino, Bryan Hitch, Tony S. Daniel, Sean Parsons, Sandu Florea, & Matt Clark
Release Date:  First Issue July 2016

For more information or to order online Click Here

If you live near me in the Chico Ca area get your copy at Collector’s Ink

In the Redding Ca area?  Go talk to the team at Caption Comics

How about Manteca CA?  Fantastic Collectibles can help you out.

And in the Sacramento CA area, say hello to my buddy Gene and have him get you a copy at Comics & Collectibles

 

So first off, I’ve been loving what DC is doing with “Rebirth”, I’m hooked.  I’ve been collecting hard again since this relaunch of their universe.  Beyond excited to see the Superman I know and love back in action (Action Comics 😉 ).  Now, to be fair though, I grew to enjoy the Superman of the New 52 as well, I found his stories fresh and enjoyed his romance with Wonder Woman.  But this is the story arc that brought back the Clark Kent who I grew up with to the Justice League.  The rest of the line up isn’t really different from the New 52 JL, and they remind us that through the narrative, like Batman not sure if he can trust this “new” Superman.  But I’m going off the rails a bit.

The story begins in a special “Justice League: Rebirth #1.  A one shot issue that is meant to speed up readers to where this new direction is headed.  The story arc then continued through “Justice League” #5.  This story is massive too, and by massive I mean the League is not facing a specific villain, but trying to protect the earth from an intergalactic extinction level event.

The first chapter/issue is entitled Fear The Reaper, and begins with a bug as big as Metropolis devouring a city.  The current Justice League roster (Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and the Flash) is there doing what they can to protect people.  Superman is not with them, he’s at home on the farm with his wife Lois, and their son.  The two (Lois and Clark) are discussing to what level he should take part with this world’s League.  Meanwhile the rest of the heroes are having a bad day.  They can’t seem to hurt this creature, and it’s enslaving the citizens with some nasty looking face huggers.  We also get a look at what the Green Lantern’s of Earth are up to (Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz).  The two are discussing the increase in large earthquakes the last couple days, and are headed to meet up with the others.  The Lantern’s and Superman show up at the same time, and Justice League is now complete, their combined power is enough to stop the creature, but they learn something pretty dire, that Earth’s time is up, and what it was here for was a mission of mercy.  It’s defeat means things will be much worse.  Superman then leaves promising that he’ll be around.

Now things start to get really bad for everyone.  Now we jump into Justice League #1-5.

Weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, the world begins to tear itself apart.  For some reason it is Earth’s time to go, and we learn as the League learns, that this has been planned, and it’s not the first time.  It’s all everyone can do to just keep people safe during all this collateral damage.  At the beginning of the story everyone is separated again, in different cities doing what they can, communicating with each other to try and figure it out.  Superman is not yet to be seen again, and Aquaman is in Atlantis (where they are also suffering from this catastrophe).  A few strange things happen to our heroes in this first issue.  One, some of their powers blink out for a moment.  Two, humans are beginning to be possessed and talking nonsense.  Oh yeah, and a crustacean from space lands in Gotham City and starts birthing flying creatures that attack citizens.

Issue two sees Aquaman awaken to the sound of a calming singing.  Surrounded by diamond figurines, the music is coming from them.  While at the Watchtower, Cyborg has discovered where the earthquakes are originating, three gigantic machines (like 5 miles gigantic) underground.  That’s when an armada of alien crustacean ships appear, looking very much like what Batman saw in Gotham.  Everything is falling apart, it’s to much for them to handle, that’s when Batman makes a decision.  He may not be “their” Superman, but Batman is going to put his faith in him, and go get him.  And yes, it gets even worse.  Aquaman, while on his own quest now sees first what the possessed people are doing.  They are merging, into giant beings.  At the end of the issue, we see Superman for the first time since the special, it shows he has been doing what he can for the people of Metropolis, and that’s where Batman finds him.

Issue 3 kicks off with More of those giants forming, and Wonder Woman confronting one.  I’ll let you read what happens there, it’s not good for Diana.  The league is doing all they can to fight the invading force while Batman discusses with Superman (now back at the farm with Lois and their son) his plan and cluing him in on what little they know.  The 2 lanterns have followed the trail of where the invading force has come from.  They find a planet that has been fairing even worse than Earth (and we are getting hammered here people).

Batman’s plan for Superman, is for him to go underground.  The league believes only Superman has a chance to take out the three earthquake machines.  After a touching moment and goodby to Lois, Clark is ready and goes underground.  Instantly Clark is unsure he can do this, as his first few attempts/ideas fail.  And, now, the giants are moving to meet up together.

Issue four is one of hope.  We see the first victories of our hero’s and start to learn a little more of the mystery, and how all of this (yes everything) is connected.  If I go into a lot of specifics here, I might ruin some surprises, so I’m going to back off in that respect at this point.  What we get with this issue is a solid story of our heroes stepping up and being heroes though..  They are exhausted, can’t rely on their powers, but they still truck on.  Belief in themselves, and their friends helps them see their first little victories.  And man seeing what Cyborg does to the alien fleet and what’s left of the society on the planet the Green Lanterns found is AWESOME!!!

That brings us to issue five.  The last one in the story arc.  The league does best when it’s united.  This issue is the time for that.  Mysteries now solved, and options for victory now available, it’s time for the final climax, and action.  In the end, the little actions everyone did separately held major repercussions for the enemy, that only when they were all together again were the League able to exploit.  From earthquake machines, to giants made up of humans, and an invading insect army, the Justice League took it all on at once.  When the dust cleared our heroes stood standing, yet not everything will be the same after this.

So that’s the most spoiler free I could do.  There is a lot i didn’t touch on in hopes it will be exciting for you when you read it.  I enjoyed this story arc for Justice League.  It was great to read an adventure of some of my favorite heroes doing what they do best, be heroes.  No politics, no sides, just heroes protecting the Earth.  Now, was it the best Justice League story I’ve ever read, no (that remains a tie between Identity Crisis and Kingdom Come).  It had a few issues for me, there’s still a bit I didn’t quite understand about how everything worked and was tied together, but that could be because it was getting late, and didn’t take away from my enjoyment, just loose strings at the end I felt.  I’m a fan of this team though, I dig the issues they have dealing with “their” Superman now being dead, and second guessing this “new” to them Superman.  I also dig the Green Lantern combo, it added some layers.

I do recommend this to people out there in comic book land though, it’s a great introduction to the new Justice League and the new status quo.  Till next time everyone, keep reading comics!

Shane Will