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Justice League: The Ultimate Guide

Justice League: The Ultimate Guide
Studio: DK Publishing
Publishing Date: October 3, 2017

Description: Enter the world of the Justice League and discover the heroes, villains, and adventures. This comprehensive guide celebrates the exciting world of the iconic Justice League Super Heroes, a roster that includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. A must-have for fans, this book showcases major in-world events in the Justice League's pulsating story, spanning nearly 60 years of comic book history, and is packed with info on the team's allies, enemies, bases, origins, and more. Includes artwork from the first Justice League comic book in March 1960 to the crucial Rebirth issues and beyond. The stunning design contains lots of in-world information, including in-depth profiles of characters, key comic book issues, and special features on the Justice League's greatest adventures.

Justice League: The Ultimate Guide Review
By James Harvey

With the big screen Justice League movie now upon, now is the time for both new and long-time fan to brush up on the history of DC Comics' premiere superteam. Thankfully, DK Publishing has you covered with Justice League: The Ultimate Guide, an excellent hardcover release that manages to break down the sometimes complicated backstory of the Justice League. Covering far more material than expected, fans should be plenty pleased with the content they find between the covers.

Similar to Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior, also released by DK Publishing, Justice League: The Ultimate Guide covers the entire history of the famed supergroup, from their initial appearance in the 1960s up to the current (and awesome) "DC Rebirth" era. Given how complicated comics can be to jump into - what with different continuities, timelines, etc. - having a guide such as this makes it easy to keep up with what's going on month to month, but also helps to put everything in context. For long-time fans, it's fun to see the Justice League's entire history condensed in such a fashion, and for new readers it's an enjoyable history lesson.

And, right out of the gate, it's apparent this book will pay respect to the League's vast history. Once you crack open the cover, the first shot of the League you see is Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman sporting their 1970s designs by José Luis García-López. That's almost immediately followed by a foreward by J.M. DeMatteis, who is partially responsible for the amazing Justice League International comic titles from the 1980s (plus a host of other amazing comic and animation work). And from there, we're off. Justice League: The Ultimate Guide starts off with the original debut of the Justice League of America and then just takes off from there. It's almost surreal how, despite all that changes to the superteam over it's long history, there are plenty of core facets that remain intact.

Celebrating the vast history of the Justice League remains front and center, especially with the handy timeline that's placed near the front of the book which, yeah, covers a host of key moments from the League's history. Whether it's the League's first meeting with the Justice Society, the start and end of the team's Detroit wing, the team gaining international status, the formation of the Extreme Justice team, even the creation of the Young Justice team, all the way to Flashpoint and DC Rebirth (and even beyond that), it all nicely breaks down the tumultuous tests this team endured. And, after that, the book breaks down key comics and characters (starting with the first issue of Justice League of America and Superman, naturally). Darkseid is the first major key enemy to the team (and rightfully so).

Justice League: The Ultimate Guide doesn't just stick with a specific history for each of the characters, too. Facts from a character's alternate history, universe, etc., are all included to help create a well-rounded take on each's backstory. And yes, Martian Manhunter's cookie addiction is indeed included in his bio. The League's different headquarters also get a fair shake, starting off with their old headquarters in Happy Harbor (a name that Young Justice fans should be familiar with), and touching upon their other bases of operations over the years (include the Bunker and their assorted space-based HQs and embassies). Key events, such as DC Comics' assorted universe-altering crisis's, also get plenty of dedicated space.

Surprisingly, the Teen Titans also get explored in this book, which does an admirable job in breaking down the team's sometimes complicated history with the League. Heck, even Batman and the Outsiders get a solid entry as the creation of that team is a key event for the League itself. In fact, this book makes a point to show how events key to specific characters affect the overall Justice League (one such example being Doomsday's devastating debut in the DC Universe in the 1990s). There's also some great character moments highlighted as key events, such as Batman and Guy Gardner's infamous tussle in the 1980s Justice League title.

Rightfully so, the formation of the JLA, under famed comic writer Grant Morrison, serves as a major event in the guide, as it legitimately ushered in the next era of the team for both DC Comics as a publisher and in the DC Universe proper. The Watchtower, the epic line-up and the amazing secondary members that joined that team over the years, the major storylines and events, it all serves as a jumping on point for the next couple decades of storytelling for the team, and the Justice League: The Ultimate Guide rightfully acknowledges that. That entire era, with the assorted major events (Identity Crisis, the new Justice League of America, etc.) are all given proper context and placement in how the team evolved during this time.

Naturally, this leads into the next era for the team, that of The New 52 and DC Rebirth. The assorted teams that have come about so far are highlighted (Justice League Dark, Justice League Unlimited, Justice League of America, etc.), as well as noteworthy events, such as the "Darkseid War" and "The Final Days of Superman" and the team's recent clash with the Suicide Squad.

Basically, Justice League: The Ultimate Guide does a very admirable job in running the reader through the team's entire history, both in universe and it's publishing history under DC Comics. It's laid out in an easily digestible format with no confusion to be found. Everything here is relevant, but the book also makes sure to highlight some of the fun quirks from the team's history and some of the members themselves. It provides a very detailed picture of just what this team is all about and why it's a crucial collection of some of DC Comics's best heroes. Also, to note, this isn't a repackage of the 2002 The Ultimate Guide of the Justice League of America. This is a completely new release, reworked from the ground up.

And, a very cool touch - like how the book opens with shot of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman from decades ago, during the League's early year, the book closes with the latest iteration of the DC Trinity.

Additionally, DK Publishing has also recently released The Lego Batman Movie: The Essential Guide, spotlight the excellent 2017 animated movie and its subsequent wealth of Lego minifigurine releases. For those younger Justice League fans (yes, the Justice League actually plays a crucial role in that movie), this is a good start to get introduced into the somewhat heavy universe of the World's Greatest Super Heroes. This book breaks down all the available minifigurines inspired by the movie (and somewhat vice versa) and provides character biographies. Naturally, as this title is aimed at a younger audience, the information is fairly basic, but it also remembers that this title is also of interest to collector's so it's very detailed in terms of showcasing each minifigurine and providing excellent graphics for each. It's a worthwhile additional purchase for those grabbing Justice League: The Ultimate Guide.

For those looking to learn more about the Justice League, or perhaps need a refresher of the team or just want an overview of the team's history, Justice League: The Ultimate Guide has you covered. The book is easy to read, with clear sections breaking up the history's timeline and accompanied with some beautiful artwork and two-page spreads. It's a fantastic breakdown of the team's entire history, and it's amazing to see this dense material broken down and easy to digest. Hats off to writer Landry Walker for just knocking this out of the park. With the Justice League movie on the way, this is a great way to learn more the comic book inspirations for the big screen superteam. Highly Recommended to Own.

Please note DK Publishing provided copies of both titles to review, but that had no outcome on the final review of these products.

Both Justice League: The Ultimate Guide and The Lego Batman Movie - The Essential Guide are available at retail and digital outlets everywhere.


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