This week from DC Comics‘ Future State we get Justice League 1, and like many of the Future State titles it does not hold one, but two titles. The first half of this issue fills us in on the current state of the new Justice League. The second half shows us the condition of the Justice League Dark group, or rather what’s left of it. While I seldom follow either League, this issue really pops out as one of the better ones. One League exists, but only as a shell of its former self. The other only exists as a shell but attempts to fight onward.

Justice League 1: The Good Guys

The new Justice League still contains the same core masks as the original, but the faces behind those masks look drastically different. Superman now goes by the name Jon Kent. Yara Flor wields the lasso of truth like Wonder Woman, and from previous comics, we know Luke Fox holds the mantle of the Bat. Alongside them are new versions of Green Lantern (now a black female named Jo), Aquawoman (the daughter of Arthur Curry named Andy), and Flash (called Jess(ie?)).

They all look cool in their new outfits, but this team is very different than their forbearers. One stand-out example is that Green Lantern now leads investigations instead of Batman, but the even bigger difference is how the team functions. With the old JLA, we followed the core group, but new members entered and left all the time. The final result ended with a superhero roster a mile long. Now there is only the core six. No more, no less. No one else can join the team per charter rules.

The other big difference? This JLA consists of the heroes’ names above, but not it’s exactly that. Superman goes by superman, not Jon Kent. Wonder Woman goes by Wonder Woman, not Yara Flor. The team members are no longer allowed to know each other’s true identities because of past events. Now with all rules like this, they will be broken. This issue shows that instead of everyone following the rules, a few paired off and said to hell with the rules, namely Jon and Yara, and Andy and Jess.

What’s the purpose of the new League in this comic? They need to figure out who effortlessly wiped out their biggest competition, the new Legion of Doom. Any group capable of wiping out the LoD will be a handful for the JLA.

Justice League 1 – The Dark Side of Life

The second half of this issue focuses on the Justice League Dark characters, or at least what’s left of them. After the events of Death Metal, only Zatana and Bobo the chimp remain. Merlin then leads a crusade to kill any and all sources of magic and to wipe it off the face of the earth. This explains the slaughter Zatana and Bobo stumble upon as they wander the charred city. When they stumble across the charred body of the angel, Zauriel, Bobo calls upon the demon within, Etrigan.

Apparently, when JLA Dark needed him, Etrigan refused to help as he cannot fight against Merlin or his people. The death of Zauriel prompts Etrigan to help Z and Bobo in their quest to track people down and fight back. In the process, John Constantine enters the story as well as Ragman and Xanadu. Their quest to discover the purpose of Zauriel’s amulet reunites them with Dr. Fate, who had been in hiding. Good thing too as no sooner do they do this than Merlin’s hunters pin them down.

Justice League 1 – Identity Games

The things I like most about this title is the two completely different states of the Light and Dark JLAs. The light side still works as a team, but they suffer from the failures of their predecessors. Because of what the original team suffered, they now live under rules which are not right by them. It can only ever be the six of them and they are not allowed to be friends or fraternize with each other. Jon chafes at the idea of not having new members, while Andy and Jess say screw the rules and date each other in secret.

Meanwhile, the Dark JLA has had their asses handed to them, and now only two remain (one of which will not fight). Where the light looks for an identity, the dark looks for a team itself, and it seems as if one finally begins to come together. This issue really leaves you itching to see what becomes of both teams.

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