The highly debated renewal has arrived. JLA #1 fell into my lap and the digital age is one I render dear...no secret...but all that hish-hash aside...Jim Lee's art has exponentially improved since his already impressive days of X-MEN and Hush. Scott Williams does a grand job on the inks, and bar a disappointing Finch variant, all starts off well as the book is a dark and gritty pleasure to read.
There is some surreal emotion in seeing the gloomy yet aesthetic view of Gotham as it's under the blend of semi/minor-villainous attacks and police monitoring. The book doesn't introduce the full roster of the JLA as it targets the first meeting between a cynical Batman and an ever-haughty Hal Jordan. Johns does well to displace this Hal from his regular version, and the cockiness intrudes well, yet never impedes, on what seems to be a Batman that isn't as succint and clever as we all know current Bruce to be. This Batman is new and seemingly amateur...which meshes nicely with a somewhat rookie Hal. Hal does well to give an aura of empowerment as he and Bruce craft a mostly witty exchange but Lee/Johns do affirm that heroes are feared and revered, and not on displayed on parades. Batman is somewhat reminiscent of Grayson's version which may not please Bruce fans but any few niggles are isolated when mention is made of the villain...and note, it's just mention. This may offset new readers who expected much more from the villain. Johns also teases a member in Cyborg, but the tease is very vague with a nice twist that one expects Johns to maximize fully given he has a panache for utilizing underwhelming characters such as Mera, Deadman and Orin...to make them resounding once more. While there is a lack of villain and other heroes, the potential is set up nicely as Hal and Batman undergo a lackey chase...which all leads them under hapless circumstances...to one particular E.T. that won't be phoning home anytime soon...and that last page...is what Zack Snyder took note of.
It's off to a nice start...one down...51 more to go.