Justice League Annual #1
Story: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Words: Tynion IV
Pencils: Daniel Sampere
Inks: Juan Albarran
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Annuals come in two varieties. A new team takes on the title for a fun one-shot and different take on the characters in the main series, or an event that is too important for a smaller single issue. This annual is the latter and is essential reading for anyone who has been following The Justice League since the relaunch.
The premise of this story is the League banding together with Starman to fix the Source Wall. This wall has been part of DC continuity for a long time. After the event of Dark Knights: Metal the wall was shattered and now has unleashed what is behind it. This annual helps bring some more answers to light on what those ramifications are, and move many plot points from The Justice League forward. Starman is finally given a starring role here (pun intended) and we learn more about what he knows and who he is. I would explain more but this is an issue to read and not be spoiled. Overall this issue is a clear turning point in the series ending a lot of threads but bringing in some new threats.
Snyder and Tynion IV work so well together. The stories they craft are full of imagination. They hand back and forth actual scripting duties, but they never sound different. It is incredible that Tynion IV can match Snyder’s energy, but he does. This annual is exactly what I have been waiting for. Since the series started I have wanted answers on the new status quo of the DC universe. Everything comes together wonderfully from the series so far. Starman, The Legion of Doom, and the varied cast of The Justice League are all given time and purpose. There are so many moving parts but the writers here handle it all with finesse. While this is a story that is dense and touches upon so much, it does not rest on exposition. Instead, everything moves forward at a brisk pace and the action set pieces are incredible to behold. They are even able to tie up some loose threads from the Thanagar Prime storyline without having to retread a single beat. On one hand you could give this issue to someone who has been following Justice League and they would be thrilled at all the little payoffs. On the other hand, I feel a new reader could pick up this story and understand the stakes at hand and would be ready to pick up the next issue. The way this issue ends has made me extremely excited for what is to come next.
Daniel Sampere is no rookie artist, and he knows how to draw the Justice League. I am not simply saying he understands how to draw the characters, he understands how to draw a team book as demanding as this one. While the script has a lot of energy, it wouldn’t matter without an artist who could translate that. This comic just feels alive in your hands as it jumps from flashbacks to the source wall, to all-out battles. Not a single page is boring. There are some great character moments that are given depth and care through the art, as well as some high energy action sequences that are exciting and bold. It seems there is nothing that Sampere, and Juan Albarran his inker here, cannot pull off.