James Tynion IV takes over Justice League this week and as he put it in my interview with him, “It lets me explore a different type of dark. Writing villains is so much fun, especially the big core iconic villains.” And big they are in this book — the biggest, in fact, with Joker, Sinestro, and Lex Luthor taking center stage. This is a villain-centric issue, so prepare yourselves for something a bit more evil.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Lex Luthor’s back in the present just trying to live his best life after seeing what the future could have held for him. Luthor’s new mantra? “Embrace Your Doom!” So now he’s rounding up a new Legion of Doom to go on a cosmic wilding and establish himself as the biggest baddie in the DCU. In full recruiting mode, Luthor approaches both Sinestro and Gorilla Grodd to join his new team, and he doesn’t exactly have to twist any arms. (They’ve got a matching 401K plan and great bennies, after all!)
Why does this matter?
This is our first look at how the Legion of Doom functions, and better yet, how it was formed. This issue is a big one if you’re paying attention to the larger DCU because it explains how the world of villainy is a bit different in these new post-Metal times.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is written with nearly all captions save for a few pages here and there. It’s all written as an authority on what is going on and how the Legion of Doom reached their current status. It reads like a decree of why the Legion of Doom is necessary and how Lex Luthor is basically our only hope. There’s a message within about how it’s not wrong to be as you are and to reject the idea that you must be better. The argument is a strong one and you might even believe it by the end of the issue.
This issue is also very good at establishing Lex as a premiere villain while also leaving behind his run as a hero. Anyone angry the superhero Lex emblazoned with an S on his chest long gone will only need to read this issue to be given reason enough for his switch. This issue reminds us Lex may be super smart, but another one of his supervillain powers is his tenacity to achieve his wildest dreams.
This issue is drawn by Doug Mahnke with inks by Jaime Mendoza and color by Wil Quintana, who combine for a darker tone that comes through loud and clear. There’s also a sketchy nature to the art that suits the villains and the nature of their characters. In the opening pages we get a nice snapshot of the Legion of Doom headquarters with a peek at specific rooms designed by the baddies (like Joker’s torture room, yikes).
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a quick scene in the future that doesn’t quite hammer home why Lex is underwhelmed by what he sees or how it could have been better. That left me wondering what his ultimate goal really is and while his wanting to be treated like a god while he’s alive is obvious, how the world should be different isn’t quite clear. Maybe it doesn’t matter all that much since we know whatever he does is going to be evil and wrong, but Tynion made me curious what his vision for the future should be and that’s never translated.
Is it good?
A good issue that’s all about the villains. If DC Comics keeps this up we’re all going to be demanding we get a supervillain book all its own as soon as possible.