Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez are in the process of creating one of the most fulfilling superhero books I’ve ever come across. The first three issues feel dense with content, action, and entertainment. There’s a great mix of character dialogue, plot progression, and excellent art. I’m not sure you could ask for more from a comic book series about superheroes in capes.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
What is hidden in the darkest depths of the ocean and farthest reaches of space doesn’t even compare to the insidious secrets buried in the pasts of Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter! While the rest of the League battles to save their friends before all of reality unravels, the citizens of Earth make a startling decision…to join the Legion of Doom!
Why does this matter?
This series may be called Justice League, but it’s actually devoting a lot of time to the villains. Last issue revealed a bit about Sinestro when he was a hero and in this issue we get a key moment for Gorilla Grodd. With Dark Nights: Metal we learned evil is at the heart of everything, so why not give the villains a bit more attention, eh?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Grodd when he was a young pup trying to make his way up the hierarchy of his tribe. It’s a moment that reminds us even the worst of us were once young and malleable and in this moment we see he was tempered by abuse. His decision to manipulate and mess with others becomes more clear. He plays a big part in this issue and it’s in these scenes that Snyder builds up the character so the later scenes have more impact.
Much of this issue cuts between the exploits of Superman and Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and John Stewart, and the rest of the Justice League. Batman and Hawkgirl are also fighting a battle within Martian Manhunter and Superman too. If all of that sounds confusing or convoluted, fear not — the story is paced well enough that you’re always on the edge of your seat and learning new bits to propel the stories further. It helps that the actions of the villains seem to be doing real damage and potentially changing the DCU forever. This series seems to be changing the course of the larger threats to the DC universe and that makes the story matter even more.
There are also new ideas being thrown about that have interesting philosophical meaning. There are forces at work that humans may never understand, giving the story a grand fantasy feel that’s highly interesting. I don’t want to spoil a big reveal, but there’s an idea described in this issue that could explain how belief systems could be tainted.
Jimenez is putting in his best work ever and it continues to show. The use of blur early on when Superman and Martian Manhunter nearly get obliterated, or the details of John Stewart watching his livelihood shatter are all rendered beautifully. There’s a level of detail in the work in this issue that is usually saved for event comics, which further elevates the impact of the story.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is one of those superhero comics where the chips fall too easily for the villains. The heroes seem to drop like flies (maybe there’s a message here about working together?) and while it builds up the stakes and makes the heroes underdogs, it comes at a price.
Is it good?
Justice League is compelling on all levels. Art, character, dialogue, and plot, it’s a comic you won’t want to put down.