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JUSTICE LEAGUE: ENDLESS WINTER (2020-) #1 Review

Neil reviews the first issue of DC Comics December 2020 event JUSTICE LEAGUE: ENDLESS WINTER. Grab issue on in comic stores and on digital now.

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Justice League: Endless Winter #1 (DC Comics)

Synopsis

“Endless Winter” chapter one! The crossover event of the season begins here! The Justice League encounters an extinction-level global storm brewing at the former site of the Fortress of Solitude. Enter the Frost King, a monster mad with power with an army at his command! What devastating mystery lies in his past? And how does he tied to Queen Hippolyta, Swamp Thing, Viking Prince, and their reluctant ally, Black Adam? Two timelines will reveal further clues and secrets throughout each chapter of this blockbuster tale!

Review

Justice League: Endless Winter #1 cover art by Mikel Janin

Winter is upon and DC Comics is doubling down on the cold, dark nights with a brand new crossover event, Endless Winter. The event, first teased back in summer, begins here with the League dealing with a run-of-the-mill case which quickly becomes an extinction-level event.

Those hoping for a universe-spanning event with huge ramifications for the DC multiverse are in for a surprise. Endless Winter is actually just another adventure for the League. But it’s an adventure with such scope that it’s easy to tell just from this issue why it’s spilling from the pages of Justice League in to a number of tie-in titles.

Writers Andy Lanning and Ron Marz use this issue to lay some solid foundations for the story to come. Forgive the pun but a cold-opening featuring a number of villains quickly leads to the League taking on what appears to be an average ice-villain.

There’s a narrative sweet spot were things begin to escalate out of control and it quickly becomes clear there’s something much bigger going on. By the books end we’ve been (briefly) introduced to the villain of the piece. Whilst little is given away it’s clear he’s some kind of ice-themed Demi-god super-charged by the remains of Kal’s Fortress of Solitude.

It’s refreshing to see DC handing an event to someone other than their A-listers. It’s equally refreshing to see a crossover event which isn’t headlined by an A-list villain. The Frost King appears formidable and Endless Winter #1 does exactly what it needs to do to intrigue the reader.

The Frost Kings arrive triggers the extinction-level snow storm teased in the synopsis. Again we’re only treated to a little of it in this issue but it’s still an extra layer of complexity to the story.

Endless Winter builds to one hell of a tease in its final coda. It appears the mystery of the Frost King ties back to a 10th century adventures starring Black Adam, Hippolyta, Swamp Thing and Viking Prince. It seems these characters formed a disparate early version of the League to help stop a similar or connected threat. It’s an extra plot line which adds further intrigue to an already inspired book.

The artwork here is headlined by Howard Porter and Marco Santucci’s pencils and inks and is capped off by some wonderful colouring by Hi-Fi and Arif Prianto. It’s a solid read which steps out from the normal Justice League title to create something a little more animated. It feels less gritty than the main book and more adventurous, helped by those typical zippy colours from Hi-Fi.

There’s a visceral quality to the art which makes it feel like more of an independent book rather than a title from one of the big two. Much like the story, it’s refreshing and makes for a great palate cleanser after a packed year of storytelling for DC.

Verdict

Endless Winter #1 is the perfect Justice League story to cap 2020. It’s got high stakes worthy of a crossover but humbly takes aim only at the titular team rather than encompassing the entire DCU.

Justice League: Endless Winter #1 is written by Andy Lanning & Ron Marz with pencils and inks by Howard Porter & Marco Santucci, colours by Hi-Fi & Arif Prianto. Main cover artwork is by Mikel Janin.


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