“The Extremists” has proven something I’ve been noticing in different volumes of DC Comics, which is that Batman’s role has evolved in several iterations to be the guy who brings heroes together, providing the platform and resources they need to be successful; from the formation of the Teen Titans and now with The Extremists. They’re a motley crew of villains and misfits, who are less of alien origin like Martian Manhunter and Superman. A group more palatable to the people of earth to cheer for, with Batman playing the PR game.
Throughout the story there is no real attachment to the majority of the characters and for all the talk of them being The Extremists there was nothing really extreme about their behavior either; both on the sides of the villains and heroes. The most extreme on the team is probably Lobo. The remainder, from Black Canary to Killer Frost, seemed more on the emotionally damaged side from their past misdeeds, with Vixen rounding out the group as the leader.
The two villains are not overly impressive. One destroys their planet and comes to Earth to take it over, and the second is an arms dealer with a penchant for speaking in iambic pentameter. Maybe that’s to showcase the difference in levels between the JLA and the JLA Extremists.
Havok, the villain for 3/4 of the story, was the closest to impressive, with his scorched earth approach in accumulating power by not playing by the rules and preying on the vanity and greed of world leaders.
The artwork throughout is okay; it looked gritty and dark, with cool color tones throughout. But thats JLA Extremists in a nutshell; it’s decent but nothing stands out. I would recommend this if any of the members of The Extremists are your favorite characters, but even Batman didn’t do much outside of his brand of scowling. It’s understandable why he’s the catalyst for the formation of this group and it is possible the plot might expand, but in the here and now, Volume 1 of JLA Extremists is lacking.