Let’s assume that you’re running a comic book publisher. One of the big ones. Your market share has slipped, you’re afraid you’re losing relevance and you decide that, from a marketing perspective (and likely from a story perspective, too) you need to execute a balls-crazy Hail Mary play.
You decide to rejigger your entire publishing slate and package it as a fundamental reboot of your shared superhero universe (which you will then backpedal on whenever asked about it because, as a businessman who is wholly dependent upon fan whim to make your living, you have a hard time committing to bold decisions and never know if your decision is the right decision until you read about it on the Internet afterwards). You want new readers. You want lapsed readers to come back. You want to make superhero comics, as a genre, matter again. These are all good goals. They are praiseworthy goals.
So, toward that end, you lead off with a relaunch of your line’s flagship superhero team book. You give it the biggest big-name creative team you’re able to. You rejigger the roster so that it resembles the iconic roster that everybody loved when the book was last at its creative high point. Smart thinking, to be sure.
You promise big. Then, to all of those fabled new readers, eager to be shown the promise of comics, you give…what amounts to a bottle episode: two characters spend a lot of time talking and we see brief glimpses of two other cast members. That’s it. Slow. Clap.
Look, it’s not a bad issue. I enjoyed Justice League #1 more than I’ve enjoyed any JLA book in the past few years. But the best you’ve got – and this is a circumstance where you should be bringing the best you’ve got – is a winking reference to the Christopher Nolan Bat-films and a scenario that is totally bereft of imagination, majesty, bombast and cinematic impossibility, which are all of the things that superhero comics, at their best, have to offer.