(This review may contain spoilers for the story content.)
Introduction: Hello, everyone. For this latest review, I stumbled across Subway Presents: Justice League while I was reading some comic issues from DC Comics this week. This comic “title” is actually a set of advertisements for Subway™ that DC Comics published in their issues in 2011. Each “issue” of Subway Presents is an 8-page story that both promotes Subway while simultaneously providing fun stories that do not take themselves too seriously. I thought these stories were entertaining, and I figured we could have fun by looking at these advertisement issues in a review that likewise does not take itself too seriously—while still remaining fun.
Plot Summary: Each issue, implemented by a different creative team, focused on a different set of people going about their lives craving a Subway sandwich until a DC villain begins causing some chaos. As a result, these ordinary (in the sense that they do not possess superpowers) people end up assisting members of the Justice League in stopping some of these villains’ crimes. The stories include professional athletes from football, basketball, boxing, NASCAR, and the Olympics. Oftentimes, the guest-stars describe their favorite Subway sandwich orders.
For the purpose of this review, I shall focus on my favorite of these stories, the first one, “Sacked,” which features professional football players Ndamukong Shu, Justin Tuck, and Michael Strahan. Here, the three athletes were attending a charity all-star game in Hawaii when they decided to break off from the group and grab lunch at Subway. They were describing their favorite sandwiches when saw some goons in wetsuits carrying an unconscious Aquaman under the orders of Ocean Master and Black Manta, Aquaman’s two most notorious arch-enemies. The trio jumps into action and sacks the henchmen while Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman enter the game and take on the super-villains. The Leaguers thank the athletes for their assistance and leave them to enjoy their Subway sandwiches.
Plot Analysis: Okay, so, as you would expect, because this comic was an advertisement, much of the story promoted Subway. However, I am impressed that the story was not overly saturated with promotional language and whatnot. While the story started with the athletes craving Subway, the middle portion of the issue contained a nice action sequence that was centered around foiling the criminals’ plots. As such, while the story was still short, it had some substance beyond being an advertisement for subway. Now, naturally, the whole tone of the story was lighthearted and a bit silly, but I found this aspect of Subway Presents to be charming. I have seen comic-style advertisements in comics before, but the length of this one gave it that aforementioned substance that made me enjoy it more.
Characterization: I know it may seem like “fun” is my word of the day when it comes to this review, but the stars of these issues, particularly “Sacked,” were just that. Shu, Tuck, and Strahan were written to make seem like all-around good guys. I do not know much about the real-world versions of these football stars, nor do I know about their personal characters, but their comic adaptations made me want to shake their hands. The way they just dove into action to help others made me smile, which I am sure is what Subway was hoping for—people associating these good people with their product. In a way, Subway Presents reminded me of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, wherein guest-stars (including people from real-life) helped the gang solve mysteries and stop the villains. I remember that show with nostalgic fondness, and the similar tone found in these issues struck a chord with me.
Art: As I said earlier, each of the issues has its own creative team. But the artwork from the first issue is what attracted me most to this advertisement that I could have easily overlooked otherwise. The art of the first issue (including the cover) was penciled by Sergio Sandoval and colored by Jorge Gonzalez. The characters were drawn with a great amount of detail, including all of the football players’ physiques. Perhaps I am simply fond of the color green, but the greens of the athletes’ and Green Lantern’s uniforms. All I know is that I found the art to be very pleasing, and if it were not for the art of the first issue standing out to me so well, I may not have ever decided to find the other issues and write this review. Kudos to the artists used throughout this advertisement comic series.
Final Remarks: All-in-all, considering that these comic stories were mostly simply advertisements, Subway Presents: Justice League made for a fun “commercial break” within the comics I had been reading when I found them. As comics, they may not hold many candles to other renown comic tales, but for what they are, they shine brightly enough. I may not be recommending you all seek these stories out. However, if you happen to come across one while reading a comic from the time period (around 2011), I hope you smile and enjoy the comic because you have read and remember this review. P.S. Yes, this has been my shortest review yet, but I wrote it for the fun of the subject matter, and I hope you had a nice laugh (or at least a smile) knowing that I reviewed an advertisement. I told you guys before that I hope to cover a wide variety of comic types, so I hope this review reinforces the idea that I aim to keep my promises.
Closing: I know I have said a lot about this story, and I hope you have enjoyed what you have read. If you have any thoughts on the comic or on my review, feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have an amazing day.