Shut Up and Take My Money: Tactical BBQ Kit

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Item:

Tactical BBQ Gift Pack

What it is:

The last of the snow has hopefully fallen and the time has come to put away the winter clothes and break out the summer gear. With that also comes time to break out the grill and have some friends over for hotdogs and hamburgers. Nobody likes their clothes to be stained with grease from cooking and everyone needs the proper equipment to make sure everything comes out perfect. This tactical gear kills two birds with one stone. You not only get protection from the dangers of cooking but you also get the proper ordinance such as a laser guided pizza cutter and laser guided BBQ fork to make sure your brats or pizza doesn’t try to pull any shit. The tactical vest itself looks like a bomb disposal vest and has four pouches to store everything from seasoning and barbecue sauce to extra magazines.

How Much it Costs:

$70 is the original asking price on ThinkGeek, but it is currently on sale for $50. I also found it cheaper on Amazon for around $40 so there are options all over the place.

Is It Worth It?:

For fifty bones this seems like a no-brainer. If you are anything like me and enjoy grilling/cooking but hate the idea of having to wear some fruity apron to keep your clothes clean, then this should be right up your alley. This does however seem a little tedious to take on and off since it does require you to wear it like an actual vest but if you keep it on the whole time I can’t see there being any big issues. The best part isn’t even the vest so much as the laser-guided utensils.

Tactical Apron

Bottom Line:

For the price, you can’t go wrong as a goofy impulse purchase. Even if you don’t end up liking it that much for the apron, you still get the really cool utensils. This is a little pricey to be purchased as a gag gift unless you can find it pretty cheap on Amazon, but I couldn’t see any man not enjoying something like this.

 

Shut Up and Take My Money: Captain America Shield Replica

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Item:

Captain America: Life-Sized Replica Shield

What it is:

I believe the name pretty much says it all, but for those with possible reading comprehension issues – it is a life-sized replica of the shield that Captain America uses in the new film. It comes in the standard color but a new color is available, as well. I would have preferred they went with something that fit with the comics a bit more like one that has the visible crack his shield got after breaking and being re-bonded together. The website states that this is constructed of fibre-reinforced polymer and metal with leather hand straps. It stands 27 inches tall and looks like it is pretty thick. Every aspiring hero or defender of justice should own one. Perhaps police can get one as standard issue?

How Much it Costs:

For $1500, this thing had better be made out of actual vibranium if they expect people to actually purchase it. That being said, I am a major Captain America fan and plan to dress up for the upcoming film. If I had an extra 1500 bucks lying around I would strongly consider purchasing something like this since all the other replicas I have seen on the market have been cheap knockoffs or kids toys with no heft. This does however appear to be expertly crafted and they have obviously spared no expense when it comes to material. I would like a little more information about this polymer but I am sure something that will be mounted on my wall or be used in the occasional dress up event should suffice from the current materials being used. Like the Nightwing Escrima Sticks this is really only for the serious collector or major fan of the Cap.

Is It Worth It?:

For $1500, this thing had better be made out of actual vibranium if they expect people to actually purchase it. That being said, I am a major Captain America fan and plan to dress up for Captain America: Winter Soldier, out this Friday (April 4th). If I had an extra 1500 bucks lying around I would strongly consider purchasing something like this since all the other replicas I have seen on the market have been cheap knockoffs or kids toys with no heft. This does, however, appear to be expertly-crafted and they have obviously spared no expense when it comes to material. I would like a little more information about this polymer but I am sure something that will be mounted on my wall or be used in the occasional dress up event should suffice from the current materials being used. Like the Nightwing Arsenal, this is really only for the serious collector or diehard Cap fan.

 

Nailed it.
Nailed it.

Bottom Line:

If you are a serious collector of high-end pieces, major fan of Captain America, or even planning to protect America from that Nazi bastard the Red Skull, then you should definitely own this. Otherwise, it’s safe to say that you can pass on this or buy a cheaper replica.

inFamous: Second Son Review

inFamous: Second Son Review

Genre: TPS (Third-Person Shooter), Open world exploration, super-powers

Released for/Reviewed on: Released & reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment (all the Playstation exclusives)/Sucker Punch Productions (inFamous 1 & 2Sly Cooper)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Troy Baker (Joel in The Last of Us, The Joker in Arkham Origins, Ocelot in MGS5, Batman in LEGO Batman 2)

Alluring Element: Super powers in an open world with the freedom to choose how to use them

Check it out if you liked: inFamous series, Prototype

Rated: 16+

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 9
Replay Value – 8
Entertainment Value – 9
Captivity – 9
Variety – 8
Originality/Creativity – 10
Soundtrack – 9
Overall awesomeness – 9

inFamous has been slated as the PS4’s first killer game of this generation, and it did not disappoint. The visuals on this game are so far only rivaled by other big name games like Metal Gear Solid and maybe Titanfall. What is truly impressive is that they were able to keep this level of detail and graphics so high despite the large and intricate world they have created. The game is set in Seattle – and it is spot on. The dreary weather, Puget Sound, the ridiculous amount of seagulls and hipsters carrying coffee cups – it’s all there and gorgeously textured.

tumblr_n37sqyzDXb1qhqpozo1_500

The premise of the game itself is pretty standard if you have played either of the previous inFamous games – or any type of open world game that involves free-roaming with powers (such as the old Spider-Man or Prince of Persia titles). The game picks up seven years after the events of inFamous 2 and with a majority of the conduits wiped out; the remaining conduits have been labeled as bio-terrorists. This is where are story begins – with leading man, Delsin Rowe. During a prison transport gone wrong Delsin finds out that he is a conduit with the ability to absorb powers from other conduits. The government agency in charge of controlling conduits (D.U.P.)shows up and wreaks havoc on the town while endangering the lives of the town. Without giving too much away, Delsin is forced to go after the head of this government agency in order to steal powers that will help him save his town.

infamous beautiful

After some introductory story and gaining a few new powers, the player is given the ability to roam through the city freely while dispensing justice or chaos. There is plenty to do throughout the city and some of the side missions take full advantage of the new capabilities of the DualShock 4 controller. The tagging side missions utilize the features the most as you have to manipulate the controller in many different ways to complete the artwork. The touch screen in the middle is used for absorbing more energy as well as some QTE’s. It is actually a nice inclusion since the system has mainly released ports of games that haven’t made any attempt to include these features. Note: If you’re really into the graffiti missions, there was a PS2 game released in the early 2000’s called Marc Ecko’s Getting Up. where you build your way up to becoming a world famous tagger.

INFAMOUS GRAFFITI

Free-roaming and combat are pretty standard fare and as are the upgrade trees to both. Throughout the game, the player absorbs new powers that give new combat and travel abilities. I won’t ruin what any of them are, but suffice it to say it is just as much fun acquiring these powers as it is using them. This game does an amazing job of continuously making you feel more and more powerful. Each power has its own strengths and weaknesses and although each upgrade tree is pretty standard, they offers plenty of room for early customization to fit the gaming style of the player (ie – stealth, power-house, run and gun, etc). The melee system is a bit weak, but I think I spent 99% of my time aiming for headshots, anyway, so it didn’t bother me one bit.

tumblr_n3bi07B3RQ1qbznm5o2_500

As far as complaints go, I don’t have too many negative things to say – but my biggest gripe would have to be with the way they implemented the switching of powers. You are only able to use one power at a time and have to absorb the energy for the type of power you would like to use at one of the power stations around the city. Finding these power stations is very simple because the whole city is littered with them and they are labeled on the map as well. I personally would have preferred individual power bars that we were able to switch to on-the-fly. This may have made the character more powerful but they could have easily compensated with increased difficulty. My only other gripe with the powers was that the final power you spent the entire time trying to acquire felt like it wasn’t given the same amount of attention compared to the other ones. It isn’t completely developed and you are only given the opportunity to use it on the final boss and end game content. It’s a minor complaint, but I still think that with the lack of multiplayer content, this should have been give more attention. There is the possibility that future DLC can correct both of these complaints as well as add new powers for people to play with.

infamous fly

 

The last complaint that I have would be with the length of the story. While it was a solid (albeit simple) and engaging story, I did feel that by just going through the story it was a bit on the short side. It’s not nearly as short as the previously reviewed MGS: Ground Zeroes, but it will only clock you in at around five hours to complete the story and grab all the collectibles, roughly half of what it took for the first two games. Granted, the game is intended to be played twice for both the good and evil choices; once you have done that and completed all the side quests, there is very little left to do until possible future content is released. This is where the compensation comes in: Paper Trail! Paper Trail is one of the most innovative additions to a game I’ve seen. After all is said and done, there are special missions that you actually have to go online and do some detective work to complete. Once you solve the clues online, you unlock missions in the game. I’m not sure how it will work going forward – there are only a couple missions currently unlocked – but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones that were there.

infamous ppr trail 1

inFamous: Second Son is not a perfect game, but it is a noticeable improvement of last-gen games – especially the previous two inFamous games, which set the bar very high for PS3. The addition of versatile conduit powers really let you customize the game in terms of how you play it. The side-quests, even though they are short and repetitive, add a new dimension to the game that made the older ones monotonous; coupled with Paper Trail make for some great fun after the story is complete. Most importantly, Delsin Rowe is a hero (or villain) gamers can really relate to. He’s just a normal kid with powers, not the prodigy that Cole McGrath was. His personality also makes players invest more in his cause. I get Delsin in a way I could never understand Cole. Minor complaints aside, this is an amazing game that everyone who owns a PS4 should consider picking up. For anyone wondering what the future console generation was going to look like need look no further than this game. This is but a starting point for what the future of this gaming generation is capable of and the future looks amazing.

All media credited to Sony Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions

Dark Souls 2 Review

Dark Souls 2 Review

Genre: Action RPG, Open world exploration

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on Playstation 3, X-Box 360 and soon-to-be PC (April 25th), reviewed on PS3

Publisher/Developer: Namco Bandai Games (Tekken, lots of Japanese ported games)/From Software (Souls saga, Tenchu series)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Nobody that stood out to us

Alluring Element: True Next-Gen visuals combined with genre leading stealth and action gameplay

Check it out if you liked: MGS series, Splinter Cell series, having two thumbs connected to a brain

Rated: M

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 8
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 7
Replay Value – 10
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 9
Variety – 9
Originality/Creativity – 8
Soundtrack – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9

The Souls video-game series have been known to cause the destruction of many a-controller since their release a few years back, and Dark Souls 2 is no different. Dark Souls 2 is set in the same universe as the first one but isn’t supposed to be directly related to it in any way. If you don’t really take the time to search it out, however, you won’t be finding much of a story anyways. There are plenty of websites and wikis dedicated to the collection and retelling of the Souls series lore. All you really need to know is that you are an undead who is afflicted with a curse that – only by killing tons of undead enemies and bosses – can you hope to cure it. Fortunately, the game focuses entirely on the gameplay so searching out the story can only help to enhance your experience.

Dark Souls 2 Image 2

 

The real meat of the game is in the ridiculously hard enemies and even more grueling bosses. Add to that the ability to customize you characters stats to play any way you want and the game has almost infinite replayability. The basic builds are still present but this time around the finishing stat-cap will be higher this time around which will open up all sorts of interesting combinations. You can be a massive hammer-wielding mage or a katana-slashing monk with any type of variation in-between. The gameplay itself hasn’t changed too much since the first Dark Souls but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The controls have been more refined and a few things like an actual jump button and a power stance have been added. Tack on more equipment from the previous list and you have a pretty full game to play around with as you please. Once you have found the build that you like, you are able to put it to the test in one of the many co-op or PvP type game modes. There is nothing more fun in this game than the thrill of pitting your character against someone else.

Dark Souls 2 Image 4-1

My main complaint with the game isn’t so much in the game itself as it is the hardware that From Software chose to run it on. This is a very ambitious project and, unfortunately, it has only proven to show the age of the previous-gen consoles. Even the PS3 has some frame rate dips in some of the busier places and the graphics can take a major dip in certain places. There are rumors that it will be ported to next gen but there hasn’t been anything to substantiate those rumors yet. The other main gripe I have with this game is that the difficulty compared to other games feels off. While it is noticeably more difficult, it feels like some of the bosses are only arbitrarily harder because they will put three on the screen instead of one. It does make it more strategic for co-op play-through, but I don’t feel like it takes away from the enjoyment of the single player experience.

Dark Souls 2 Image 3

The good thing is there will always be someone to help you out due to the very dedicated community that plays this game – and while there are plenty of scumbags playing, I can attest to having met many friendly people that are more than willing to help people learn the game and enjoy it even more. While this game isn’t for everyone, I strongly urge that everyone at least give it a try once. If you don’t start with this one, the first Dark Souls and Demon Souls are both under $20 and give you a great idea of what to expect with Dark Souls 2.

 

All media credited to From Software and Namco Bandai Games

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes Review

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes Review

Genre: TPS (Third-Person Shooter), Open world exploration, Espionage

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on Playstation & X-Box (both gens), reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Konami/Hideo Kojima

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Kiefer Sutherland (24) as Big Boss, Troy Baker (Delsin Rowe in inFamous: Second Son)

Alluring Element: True Next-Gen visuals combined with genre leading stealth and action gameplay

Check it out if you liked: MGS series, Splinter Cell series, having two thumbs connected to a brain

Rated: M

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 8
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 10
Replay Value – 9
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 10
Variety – 7
Originality/Creativity – 8
Soundtrack – 9
Overall awesomeness – 10

Hideo Kojima is one of the most important video game directors of our time and his Kojima productions is one of the last Japanese companies to consistently create major selling and highly rated AAA titles. Ground Zeroes is the prologue to the highly anticipated sequel, Phantom Pain. This was done as a way to give players a taste of the new stealth and gameplay mechanics due to the long wait for Phantom Pain. This game also showcases the new style of storytelling that Kojima would like to utilize in the next installment.

mgsvgz_ss_game_006-1864x1048

 

The game picks up where Peace Walker left off. If you haven’t played that it isn’t surprising seeing as how it was a canon sequel on the PSP platform; however, it has been given the HD treatment and added to the PS3’s HD Collection and the Metal Gear Legacy collection, both of which are under 40 bones. The story is pretty simple: infiltrate the prison and recover two people. While the main story is pretty short, you can beat it in two hours even while playing in a slow pace, the game opens up a handful of side missions once it is complete. These main missions take place during the day and are used to showcase the daytime graphics of the Fox Engine being used.

Screen-Shot-2013-11-16-at-2.48.29-PM-1024x450

 

I played on PS4 and most of the reviews tend to say it has the best graphics as well. That being said, this is one of the most gorgeous games I have ever seen. I don’t really know what else to say; the rain looks absolutely stunning, with the way it interacts with everything from the buildings to the mud, it’s just beautiful. The gameplay has changed quite a bit, with Big Boss seeing many improvements to his repertoire. The movement is more fluid this time around with his transition to different stances being flawless. He is given a few new moves and some have been added from Peace Walker, the multi-CQC takedown being one of them. He is also given a diving button that allows him to dive behind cover and remain prone if he is close to getting spotted.

gsm_169_mgs_ground_zeroes_impressions_090412_6401

The stealth mechanics overall have been changed; there are no more cones of vision or even a radar, for that matter. He now has an iDroid that displays the map, proving that Apple was ubiquitous even in the 1970’s. If for some reason you are actually spotted,  Big Boss now has the ability to enter “Reflex Mode,” which slows down time, allowing him to silence a guard before he is able to call for help or alert anyone. This is meant to be used as a crutch and can be turned off in the menu option at any time but is definitely fun to use when just running around exploring the island.

You, sir, are screwed.
You, sir, are screwed.

My only real complaint with this game is it is too short. I am a major Metal Gear fan, so much so that both of my gamer tags involve Solid Snake in some facet and right when I was getting in my groove and enjoying things, it was all over. The ever-present need to know what is going to happen next wasn’t satiated in any way whatsoever. This only served to whet the appetite and since the next installment won’t be released until next year, at the earliest, I am left feeling hungrier than when I began playing. There are still side missions to play but they really only serve as a way to add more to an already minimalistic package. They are plenty of fun, but I would have preferred just extending the story instead. All that being said, I still feel that this is worth the price of admission at 30 dollars. No true Metal Gear fan should miss this game.

All media credited to Konami and Kojima Productions

Shut Up and Take My Money: Batman Arkham City Nightwing Arsenal

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Item: Batman Arkham City Nightwing Arsenal

What it is: If you ever wanted to have an amazing replica of Nightwings sticks to help you fight crime with, then look no further. The replica creators at Triforce have managed to meticulously create the arsenal that Nightwing uses in the Arkham City game. It comes complete with a full-scale replica of Nightwings escrima sticks that actually light up to simulate the electricity running through them. The collection also comes with a collection of darts, posters and gimmicks and a really nice stand to display everything. The sticks and darts are hand- finished and hand painted out of polystone that has a solid feel and weight to it. Polystone is a very high quality material that allows for the sculptor to be very detailed in the design of replicas. This replica spares no expense to be the most accurate replica on the market.

How Much it Costs: This item is only for the serious collectors and will set you back around a thousand dollars. On the plus side however, the shipping is free so you have that to look forward to. There isn’t anywhere that seems to be offering any discounts, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye for possible price drops if you are seriously considering purchasing.

Is It Worth It?: With a price tag over a thousand dollars, this is really only going to be considered worth it to people who are serious Nightwing fans or collectors with some money burning a hole in their pockets. There is no doubt that this is an amazing replica and for the money, you can’t get something of higher quality. With high-end materials and the meticulous hand crafted nature of this replica, you really can’t go wrong if you did decide to spend the money.

BAC_Nightwing_slide

Bottom Line: This is definitely not for your average collector. Big money and an affinity for Nightwing are prerequisites for purchase here. If both of those requirements are met though, I would have to highly recommend getting this. It is almost too awesome to pass up.

Written by Robert Michael

Shut Up and Take My Money: Gunnar Advanced Computer Eyewear

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Item: Gunnar Advanced Computer Eyewear

What it is: Now that school is back in session, it’s that time again to spend hours in front of the computer studying and typing papers. If you are anything like me, not only will you be spending tons of time on the computer, the majority of your downtime will be spent in front of the television or computer screen playing video games. These glasses are a god-send for those of us that get eye-strain from those long hours in front of the screen. According to Gunnar’s website:

“GUNNAR computer eyewear is engineered to reduce digital eye strain while increasing contrast, comfort, and focus. All GUNNAR glasses include our patented lens technology with our proprietary shape to protect your eyes from drying air currents, enhanced focusing power to improve detail for clearer vision, and custom tints and coatings to filter out harsh artificial light and glare.”

How Much it Costs: With different styles coming and going along with accompanying sales going on at different websites the lowest that I have found a pair for is around $50 and they go all the way up to $150. If you have to get them with a prescription the website tops out at $350 for some of the higher end models, but lands pretty comfortably in the low $200 dollar range for most of the models. If you don’t have to get prescription, or can wear contacts like I do, I highly recommend looking for a sale on non-RXed models.

Is It Worth It?: If you sit in front of a computer for school or work or spend a considerable amount of time playing video games, then I would highly recommend buying a pair. I bought these on a whim and wasn’t sure they would be of any real value but after spending many late nights of writing code for classes I came to realize that my eyes felt much better on the nights when I wore these glasses. I also noticed that I could wear my contacts longer without getting a headache from dry eyes due to these glasses as well. These are something I would definitely recommend to have lying around the computer/gaming desk.

Robert doesn't just own GUNNARs, he swears by them.
Robert doesn’t just own GUNNARs, he swears by them.

Bottom Line: If you spend any time in front of a screen consider buying a pair. With such a low price point for entry, even if you aren’t crazy about them you still won’t have wasted a ton of money for something that can improve your overall eye health. Otherwise I see no reason to buy these, unless you are a D-bag or middle schooler that likes to wear colored lenses for absolutely no reason.

Written by Robert Michael

Shut Up and Take My Money: Avengers Iron Man Power Bracelet

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Item: Avengers Iron Man MAGTITAN NEO LEGEND Bracelet (Carbon Fiber/Titanium)

What it is: For people who want to look like Tony Stark but don’t exactly have the funds of a billionaire, genius playboy, this item is for you. This bracelet isn’t just a replica of the band Tony Stark wore in the Avengers; it is the actual product itself. It is claimed that these are limited edition but I’d be willing to bet that a simple search of the internet will allow you to snag one from somewhere. This is constructed from Titanium, Carbon Fiber, and Stainless Steel which is held together by a high quality epoxy resin. This is constructed from only the best materials. The only thing that is missing is the Mark VII armor that it is supposed to control.

How much it costs: List price is $200 but there are varying discounts around the internet that can be taken advantage of to score one as low as $150. Some websites say that it is Limited Edition but it seems to be easy enough to get one if you really want one.

If it’s worth it or not: If you are the type of guy or gal that thinks it’s worth it to spend money on any type of fashion then I think this could make a nice addition to anyone’s wardrobe. It has nothing but positive reviews on varying sites, however, it does mention to measure you wrist first and to make sure you order the appropriate size. There is nothing like paying good money for something only to have it not fit appropriately. Returning through the internet is a pain in the butt so make sure to order the proper size. Measure twice buy once.  I personally think it is worth it and I am seriously considering adding this to my collection; even if I don’t wear it often, it is still a cool piece of movie memorabilia.

71ztIsunUJL._SL1500_
photo courtesy of Amazon.com

The bottom line: If you aren’t into wearing jewelry or a big Iron Man fan, steer clear; however, if you are looking for a solid piece of jewelry to add to the collection, I would recommend giving this serious consideration. At this price point and these construction materials, you really can’t go wrong

Anything you feel this article is missing? Are you wondering whether or not a certain product is worth grabbing? Let us know!

Written by Robert Michael

Graphic Novel Review – Justice League Volume One: Origin (New 52)

Graphic Novel Review: Justice League Volume One: Origins

CollectingJustice League (New 52) #1-6

Original Release Date: 2011-2012

Publisher: DC Comics

super seven

Characters: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, Darkseid

Writer: Geoff Johns (Blackest NightBrightest DayFlashpoint)

Artist: Jim Lee (Batman: HushX-Men: Mutant Genesis, Superman: For Tomorrow)

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 8

Art – 10

Captivity and Length – 9

Identity – 7

Use of Medium – 9

Depth – 7

Fluidity – 9

Intrigue/Originality – 8

The Little Things – 9

Overall awesomeness – 8

hush_rating_84

With the way that DC Comics is rolling out exciting stories with strong, developed characters, it’s easy to forget that less than three years ago, DC relaunched its entire catalog in a brazen attempt to gain more readers. The New 52 term was named after the fifty-two (no, seriously) new series that were launched in September of 2011. The first released and most heavily promoted book in the relaunch was Justice League, and it had a creative team comprised of the two biggest ballers in the entire corporation: Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and Co-Publisher Jim Lee. DC really rolled out the red carpet for our flagship characters in this first volume, Origins.

Have they got a name? Of course they do, you can call them the SUPER SEVEN!!! This is still very early in the Justice League’s career, so early in fact, that only Flash and Green Lantern have actually met before and people actually believe Batman is still a myth. While the story starts off with a bang, it is very mild compared to the type of major events one would think would have to take place to bring seven of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes together. That is actually a point of contention with me because I would have really liked to see Green Arrow in the league to begin with. While he was at least mentioned by the very end along with Zatanna, one of the most important intial members is completely left out of the picture. Martian Manhunter is nowhere to be seen or heard from in these first six issues, although he does make his debut in Justice League of America as a weaponized response to Superman. I get that they try to have one of each hero archetype involved from the start is more than enough, ignoring an original is a bit ridiculous, especially considering they included Shazam! in the animated adaptation.

idiots

Where the book does get it right, however, is in the way they slowly yet awesomely introduce characters one at a time. Each character feels like they were treated fairly with equal time which is no small task considering how few issues they had to work with and the ambitiousness of this particular story. The art by Jim Lee – which really needs no further explanation, but just in case you didn’t already know – is absolutely stunning in every detail. Every page is drawn and colored beautifully; many pages left me staring well after I had read the dialogue. The attention to detail is that immaculate. My only complaint about the art is that Aquaman seems to be the only character that doesn’t match his New 52 reboot design. If people wonder why Aquaman is always getting made fun of, they only need to look at the costume he was given here. It is very hard to take him serious when he has mutton chops and a pearl necklace (like Gangstalicious said, “it’s all about pearl necklaces”) with his trident chained to him with a ridiculously long chain. He basically looks like a frat-boy looking for an S&M party at Red Lobster.

aquabro

Its not only the art that got this kind of detail either, there are little nods throughout that make it something special for longtime fans of these characters. A little girl calling them the Super Friends or the ever so slight nod towards the Legion of Doom, along with the humor that almost comes effortlessly between the characters. Even though they are meeting for the first time in this book, it feels like they have been fighting evil together for a lifetime.

barry genius

All this isn’t to say that the book didn’t have its faults, though. While there was an overall cohesiveness that worked really well for the story, it felt at times like there was almost too much going on at once. Since this story was self-contained and didn’t bleed over into any of the main characters solo storys, it felt like a missed opportunity to further explore pieces of the story that were otherwise left out. My main gripe with the story was how we as readers were just thrown directly into the middle of a story with the first panel and never really given much explanation other than Darkseid was coming. Leading up to and even after his arrival, more time is spent on introducing the characters and making sure they get their just due, when it would have been nice to extend the story a few more books and give a more fleshed out story to the reader. The end makes it seem like this is something that may be revisited, but not anytime soon.

Outside of the initial reveals for the characters, there wasn’t very much in the way of character progression. This can be forgiven in this particular instance because it goes along with the major reboot of all the series (which is where most of the character development should go), it just felt like the writers could have used the opportunity as more of a bonding experience then they actually did. I expect from this point forward for the series to build these relationships further and make them a more cohesive unit (We already know Wonder Woman and Supes get busy 😉 ). One of the biggest changes in the characters’ personality is Superman’s disregard for authority. Blue Boy Scout no more, Superman has readily embodied the ethos of the current generation, and a nice touch that has defined his character in the New 52.

do the right thing

Overall, this is an experience that can’t be missed. Even with the minor story and character hiccups, the potential this book has going forward is amazing. With the hint at the Legion of Doom being on the horizon there is the potential to have all sorts of encounters, because not only is this a fresh start for the Justice League, it is also a reboot of their greatest foes. There is also a great opportunity to cultivate relationships that can also be worked into the characters main books as well (Superman/Wonder Woman and Batman/Superman being prime examples but let’s branch out!!). Going forward, I would suggest grabbing Volume Two: The Villain’s Journey, if not for the story, at least for the amazing Jim Lee art. Any fan, casual or long-time will be able to appreciate Origin.

General Reception: It may not have been the reinvention that the Justice League merited, but fans definitely bought into it. While the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee arcs only spanned two volumes, it gave readers like us a whole new universe to go off of. Jim Lee’s art and Alex Sinclair’s coloring are top notch, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who didn’t have nice things to say about this book. It’s a great representation of what the relaunch was supposed to be.

Related Books: Flashpoint offers the same familiar feelings with a new origin twist, albeit much more drastic alterations are made. The new Justice League series is still going strong, as well. The current Forever Evil storyline shows the Justice League putting up with the Crime Syndicate. Final Crisis, also written by Geoff Johns, is a great DC epic with Darkseid as the main villain.

More by the writer: Geoff Johns has had quite the run in the past ten years. Notably, his work on Green Lantern books, everything from The Sinestro Wars leading up to Blackest Night and going all the way to Trinity War, Johns has had the rare pleasure of creating a saga. Before the New 52 reboot, Johns also wrote The Flash’s Rebirth (the return of Barry Allen) and Flashpoint. Recently, he had just left the New 52 Aquaman series after building up some credibility for the character. He is also still writing Justice League as it enters the thick of the Forever Evil arc.

More by the artist: Wanna know more about Jim Lee? Check out our new “Respect My Craft!” article, spotlighting the iconic artist, debuting tomorrow!

*Screenshots taken directly from comic book using Comixology app. Credit to DC Comics for the images.

Written by Robert Michael