The GeeksverseHow To Doom A Series

How To Doom A Series
Published on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by

Justice League International was one of those highly acclaimed series and people were excited when it was announced as part of the New 52. It was recently canceled in the second wave. What happened?

When people hear “JLI” they immediately think back on the J.M. DeMatteis/Keith Giffen/Kevin Maguire series that was known for it’s quirky humor. A super hero comic that was funny, but not done as an intentional comedy. It was filled with some A-List and well known characters and rounded out with some newer ones. It had a clear direction and it was popular enough to warrant a spin-off in Justice League Europe.

The most famous scene from the DeMatteis/Giffen series.

So a new series written by well-respected veteran Dan Jurgens and featuring some of the original cast should have been well received and well done, right?

Wrong.

But where did it go wrong?

The new JLI had alot going for it:
-Established creators in Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti
-It had established (and popular) history thanks to the Giffen/DeMatteis series
-Established and popular A-Lister to help bring in readers (Batman) who had a history with the series
-Established and popular B-Listers to help bring in readers (Booster Gold, Guy Gardner) who had a history with the series
-C-Listers to round out the team that had lots of history, interesting and some with direct connections to the first series (Vixen, August General In Iron, Ice, Fire & Rocket Red)
-A new character that could be interesting (Godiva)

So with all that going for it? Where did it go wrong?

Well first off, it had two big things going against it:
-It was part of the New 52 (I’ll explain more in a minute)
-It lacked direction

Those are two pretty big issues. But wait, you might say, the direction was that the JLI was the United Nation’s super hero team. Well yes, that’s what it was meant to be, but it never came across that way. The first issue had the team being formed as an idea and from there it just fell apart. By the end of the first arc there was a bombing that took out half the team and the UN let them go in the early part of the first arc.

Where’s the direction? This book never found it’s feet. There was never any interest generated by the characters. There was no dimension to them. I’ve never been a huge Jurgens fan but he’s normally better then this. It felt like editorial just said “here make a team out of these characters” and no one ever gave it any thought.

Changing a character at the last minute is not a good sign

And part of that is the fault of the New 52. The way the new 52 premiered, it threw us into the middle of this universe after it had been going for awhile. Instead of learning about who these characters were, we were just supposed to know about them already. But again, that wasn’t reflected in the writing. That these were established characters, even Godiva, was never felt.

Speaking of Godiva, the original cover had someone that people assumed was Donna Troy and was later photoshopped into Godiva. That alone shows how little thought went into the book’s creation if a character could be substituted so easily.

The other problem with the book was the abrupt change in status quo, not that there was much to begin with after only 6 issues and 5.5 of those spent fighting. The UN let the team go and there was a major roster change. So people that thought there might be something to build off of with the interaction between August General In Iron (what a mouthful of a name) and Rocket Red were disappointed because Red was killed. Vixen was left in a coma and Fire and Ice were out of action.

The new JLI had some of these guys, but it wasn't enough

That is not how you establish a series. That’s how you doom a series.

JLI never got a chance to establish itself. It was doomed from the start.

3 Responses
    • Batman can’t save every title. I think that is also part of what we’ve learned here. 

      • lol

        In a case like this I don’t think Batman is meant to save the series so much as draw in readers.

        •  Isn’t that the same thing? Save a series should = draw in readers if draw in readers= make money, and thus save a series = make money. It seems like a basic syllogism of comic book marketing, ie. the Batman will save us principle.

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