Written By: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jim Cheung
Inking: Mark Morales
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Lettering By: Tom Napolitano
Cover by: Jim Cheung
Published By: DC Comics
I’ve always liked the Justice League. There’s something about the League that’s different from other superhero teams. The Avengers, X-Men, Titans, Legion… they have the interpersonal relationships and soap operas woven into their DNA. For the League though, every story is an EVENT. The interpersonal stuff is woven into the heroes’ individual stories, giving the Justice League stories room to be an Earth-shattering moment every time.
Honestly, as much as I’ve liked the series at times, the franchise hasn’t captured that feel since Grant Morrison’s legendary JLA run. Either it’s leaned too much into the soap opera of other titles, or it’s been too divorced from the rest of the DC Universe. Until this week.
Scott Snyder and Jimmy Cheung have finally returned the Justice League to the center of the DC Universe, and it’s FANTASTIC.
A strange comet streaks from the future to the present day, noticed by a variety of heroes from the DC pantheon. Meanwhile, the League is battling a six pronged assault from a range of neanderthal clans led by Vandal Savage. In the midst of their defeat, Savage is confronted by Lex Luthor who reveals Savage is too short sighted. They don’t need an Injustice Gang. They need a Legion of DOOM. The League on the other hand see the cosmic event and votes on whether to stop it or allow it to happen, suspecting it’s actually a cosmic agent for change told about in alien texts. In the moment after the vote though, J’Onn J’Onzz has a horrifying vision and suspects they’ve made the wrong choice. But it’s too late and the comet strikes Earth with a foreboding “DOOM.”
Snyder weaves a story that accomplishes many great things here. First of all, it is an event. The story unfolds across multiple theaters, with the League split up to battle the various threats (and unveiling that the core cast is not the only heroes we’ll be seeing). It’s a classic Justice League trope and it works perfectly. It’s fantastic to see Green Arrow alongside Batman, Swamp Thing with Wonder Woman and so on.
Along with that, the League clicks. There’s a certain degree of banter that many books force, but in this case, Snyder uses it to convey the history these characters have. There’s good natured teasing of Batman, a gentle admonishment from Superman (which is then turned on its head) and instead of just falling flat to shows the League aren’t just teammates, they’re friends. The highlight is the return of the Martian Manhunter to the League. If any character is the main character here it’s J’Onn, and it’s both a breath of fresh air and a more than welcome return. The League is diminished without him, and suddenly it’s like what’s been missing has returned.
Jim Cheung is another presence that makes this feel like an event. Cheung and Mark Morales give the action a clear impact. However, the action is fantastic. There’s an impact to the fights. They almost make it leap off the page in a way that few artists do. It’s exciting, and carries the reader through the page. THE moment in this issue doesn’t belong to the heroes though- it belongs to the villains. The two page splash revealing the Legion of Doom is the most exciting spread I’ve seen in a DC book in so long. Tomeu Morey’s color art is such a compliment. It’s bright, clean and almost makes the issue feel like an animated movie versus a comic.
If you’ve dropped Justice League for any reason the last couple of years, it’s time to come back to it. This is the best the League has been in years.
Overall: 9.5 out of 10