DC Comics' Jim Lee and Geoff Johns knew that fashioning a reboot of the Justice League series would be no easy feat.
In an interview with the International Business Times, artist Lee and writer Johns spoke about the new series and some of the challenges they faced. For Lee, there was a huge challenge in reshaping the looks of iconic characters, such as Superman and Wonder Woman. Too much change would make the characters unrecognizable, he said, and too less change would look lazy.
It's something that you don't take lightly, Lee said.
Some of the changes, said Lee, were made in a nod to modernism of these characters. One of the changes, for example, is that several characters had their belts lowered. The drop on jeans has gotten a lot shorter in recent years, he noted.
And as for Wonder Woman, she is back in her classic outfit, with a few tweaks -- but artists have been given the green light to change her look depending on her situation. The Amazonian princess will see a steady evolution in terms of battle dress, said Lee: I think her color scheme works very well.
The majority of the first issue, released Aug. 31, features Batman and Green Lantern meeting for the first time. They are being pursued by the law, as superheroes are considered public enemies at this point in the universe.
There is tension between the two characters, but also a great deal of humor, particularly when Green Lantern pokes fun at Batman for being unable to fly.
At one point, Batman swipes Green Lantern's power ring.
You won't do that again, Green Lantern tells him, trying to get it back.
Not unless I want to, Batman says.
You really want to pick a fight with someone who can create anything he can think of? Green Lantern asks.
I'd be worried if I thought you could think, Batman retorts.
Humor will play an important role in the series, Johns said. There can be high stakes and kick-ass action, he said, but comics do need some humor: The characters themselves bring it out naturally.
There is also tension between Green Lantern and Batman, and such tension will be a part of the relaunch. Johns said that fans of the Justice League often think of these superheroes as super friends, but that won't necessarily be the case in this series.
In reality there are very different people behind these masks, Johns explained. There's definitely going to be an ongoing tension, ongoing rivalry. It's going to be character first.
Johns noted how easy it would be to fall into the trap of every superhero being on the same page.
I think you can fall back on that really quick, he said.
According to Johns, the series will avoid this trap by having the characters interact in a variety of ways. Johns noted that each character has his or her own past and their own ideas of right and wrong, as well as different viewpoints and ideas on how to get things done. This will cause the characters to split up in a variety of ways, and part of the fun, Johns said, will be to see how they split up and whether they will work well together.
You'll fall in love with the characters wherever they go, Johns said.
Several characters have yet to make an appearance. Wonder Woman, Johns said, will make her appearance in the third issue. She will have recently arrived to Earth, and the world will still be very new to her.
I think they'll find her warm, smart and powerful, Johns said of fans' reactions to Wonder Woman. She really holds her own.
Fans and Experts Speak
A major benefit of the series is that it begins from scratch, so to speak. It is an introduction, a chance for those unfamiliar with the Justice League to get started.
Justice League fan and blogger Jason Kirk of Somerset, England appreciates this approach the creators have taken.
They've created an issue that hooks everybody equally, said Kirk, 35. It's as much the origin of the universe as it is the origin of these characters.
Fan and comic book scholar Roger Whitson, 33, has used comics extensively in his teaching and research. He noted how the first issue of the Justice League relaunch began with two characters that are familiar thanks in part to fairly recent movies.
So people kind of know these characters, he said.
Whitson is hoping the series will take a more philosophical approach, as he is interested in comics that make him think.
I hope it presents a kind of fresh vision of these characters that can challenge people to think in a different way, he said. We live in an era where people who make a lot of money tend to get away with a lot. If you look at the politics of the last few years it looks like these multi-billionaires are becoming more untouchable.
Where the series will go remains to be seen, but the modern twists to familiar characters seen to have given the series a decent head start.
Very canny lending of old and new, Kirk said. And I think it's worked really well.