I haven’t had this much excitement and hope for the Justice League in a very long time.
Scott Snyder’s first arc on Justice League ends today with big revelations, huge twists, and surprises galore. It’s the kind of conclusion that requires big beats because the stakes are so damn high. Adding to the pressures of the climax, Superman and Batman are down for the count, but who will rise up from the ranks of the JL to win the day? Or will they even win?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
It’s wall-to-Source-Wall Justice League action as artist Jim Cheung rejoins writer Scott Snyder! Hawkgirl takes wing against Legion of Doom leader Lex Luthor; John Stewart faces off with old foe Sinestro; the Flash must run down the Still Force-empowered Gorilla Grodd; and Wonder Woman tackles the tag team of Black Manta and Cheetah–underwater, no less!
Why does this matter?
It’s the climactic end to Scott Snyder’s first arc on the series. It also has Jim Cheung on pencils and boy does he know how to bring the house down on big action.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a conclusion that requires a lot of the heroes’ efforts to turn the tide and also never forgets to tie those efforts to the personal fears and emotions fo the characters. So often comic books and action movies forget the characters are human, but that is not the case here. Instead, Snyder and Jim Cheung keep your interest up because you’re rooting for each hero who are all fighting different sides of this climactic coin.
After the last issue, that means characters like Martian Manhunter, Flash, and John Stewart must do the impossible to win. Characters like Batman and Superman are down for the count and their inability to help is a nice reminder this team needs to exist. The villains also play interesting parts and you can tell Snyder is building towards big stories with many offshoots in the works. That makes the book feel more important since you need to pay attention or you might miss something that pops up in the future.
This issue has fun puns that will give you a healthy laugh. It’s a reminder of how Snyder and Cheung are crafting a big blockbuster humor and all. The action is huge, the stakes in play as dramatic as they come, but it never loses sight of being fun. That’s in part because the humor is never forced, but saved for offbeat moments to the side or well-crafted dialogue that works both dramatically and comically.
Cheung is without a doubt putting out his best work to date. There are many dramatic beats in this issue that are sold so damn well by the art. Striking shots of giant beasts flying at us, swords penetrating flesh, and much more. The last few pages, which serve as an epilogue of sorts, work very well because they tell a story in regards to the characters’ emotions and state of mind.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The last eight or so pages are incredibly wordy and while they do some heavy lifting setting things up and getting us thinking about things, it’s heavy-handed. You almost wonder if the details relayed here could have been used elsewhere, but I suppose it’s a means to prepare readers for what may come next.
My only other gripe is how Batman is being used. He’s pretty much comic relief, saying over the top things when he’s given some time on the page. He’s down for the count here so he doesn’t take part in much of the book, but his and Superman’s reduction in page time is glaring, especially since both have little to do in the last eight or so pages.
Is it good?
A good conclusion to the first story arc that effectively wraps things up while impressively setting up a lot of questions and adventures to come. I haven’t had this much excitement and hope for the Justice League in a very long time.