DC Comics is launching a new nine part winter event this week called Endless Winter and it’s putting Earth into a deep freeze. Written by Andy Lanning and Ron Marz, the series opens with artist Howard Porter driving the story. In true big-two fashion, this nine part story is a crossover that will carry over into every major title and wrapping up December 29th. The big question is, how does the first part read, and does it set up a must-read event story?
The answer to that question depends on how much you like these heroes. After getting through some important exposition, Marz and Lanning open this issue with Flash asking each team member how they balance work and family. “Work”, of course, being punching bad guys in the face. This effectively brings these larger-than-life characters down to our level, even when they’re zipping across the water and doing the impossible. The dialogue works well to remind us who these characters are as they beat up a supervillain team. It’s also a nice check-in that these writers can capture the voice of each. Batman in particular is a standout, especially in the final scene.
It takes about 18 pages to get to the winter part of the event, which involves Stagg Industries and the previous location of the Fortress of Solitude. Longtime fans will appreciate the scene with Sebastian Stagg and how it connects to the longstanding history of DC Comics. Once the main hook of the event drops, fans new and old should get a kick out of a new villain introduced. Again, Lanning and Marz are weighting this villain with some history which is effective in giving the character some weight and purpose.
The last third of this issue kicks things up a notch thanks to Porter’s stylized art. Color by Hi-Fi adds additional superhero pizazz to the story. The snow and ice are practically a character in itself, whipping around and always being present. The added drama of the last few pages do well to capture the impetus to read the following issues and that’s thanks to Porter’s storytelling ability. It’s succinct and impactful.
All that said, it’s hard to shake the feeling this event is more of the same old superhero action. The villain is curious and will assuredly draw interest from fans who want something new, but this issue takes its time to get there. A large portion of it is the same old fight scenes we’ve seen before. It’s not until the last 10 or so pages that the book offers something worth digging your teeth into, and by then it’s a bit too late. Many will find this good enough to carry on, but it doesn’t quite hammer home its draw in a strong enough way. Still, with the event taking place over a single month, the buy-in is easier than most events these days.
Justice League: Endless Winter is a good start to a month-long event that offers up a new villain for your favorite heroes to fight. It’s also a bit run of the mill and doesn’t capture your interest until late in the issue. Many fans won’t find enough new here, especially with DC Future State nearing its start in two months, but for now, this is a superhero fight worth investing in.
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