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Justice League #21 Review

Three jaw-dropping moments make this yet another addictive read for the series.

Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez
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The Justice League are facing an enemy that defies all logic, defies space, and makes their job of seeking justice harder. It’s the biggest fight the League has ever faced (and a character literally says this in this issue) making the story feel paramount and important. In the latest issue, the League must make a choice and it could doom trillions. Just another day for the League, right?

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

The Justice League pulls back the curtain on their futures and learns that not everything is what they’ve seen. The team goes to confront the Justice League of Tomorrow for the truth, but can they handle it? Meanwhile, with his powers waning, Superman struggles to remain hopeful on a world with no sunlight.

Why does this matter?

Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez are telling a big, mind-blowing story that delivers superhero storytelling. It’s physical proof comic book stories can do things other mediums just can’t. It’s aiming high and not slowing down.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Gotham is bathed in light now.
Credit: DC Comics

If you thought Snyder and Jimenez would drag this story out and squeeze as many issues as they could out of the clever plot you are mistaken. This issue progresses things nicely not only giving us big answers but offering three huge reveals that change everything. It’s a fly-by-your-pants storytelling style that doesn’t let up and keeps you entertained. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the characters it’s hard to resist how often new reveals keep the characters and the readers on their toes. The linchpin of this issue is Batman who shockingly might be the most misguided of the heroes. Considering he’s Batman though it’s hard to believe he’s not right. One of the more dramatic character beats involves the character and how can you blame him when the book opens with Bruce enjoying a utopian Gotham.

At its core, this issue is about heroes not taking the easy road. They are offered a choice that could resolve things, but it’s an unconscionable choice given the repercussions. At one point a character reflects on how they keep losing with one step forward and two steps back is the norm. The characters are at a point where making hard choices is the norm, but at what point do you relent and make a choice that’s easy? The threat they are facing is so huge and insurmountable, even for them, it’s an interesting choice they must mull over. It heightens the reader’s interest in the characters since it feels like the story is covering new ground.

The last issue was a great exploration of each character’s inner thoughts and desires and this issue refines that look on Bruce Wayne. He gets more time to let loose and reveal how he feels about a Gotham that is at peace. It helps make his important statement later in the issue gather more weight. The only other character to get a nice colorful moment is Jarro who, let’s face it, Snyder is obviously sweet on these days.

The art by Jimenez with colors by Alejandro Sanchez and letters by Tom Napolitano is positively gorgeous. The final full-page splash is quite a site with incredible use of shades of red giving the shot a sense of evil and also futuristic dystopian vibes. There’s also a great full page splash midway through featuring a city and what Mr. Mxyzptlk is doing to it. Anyone who enjoyed the Looney Tunes are going to get even more excited for what Snyder and Jimenez are doing with this character thanks to the art. The big splashy pages are great, but also finer details. Take for instance the future Superman and his cape. The way it flows is so natural and realistic it’s hard not to linger on it. Early on the light peeking through trees shining on Bruce as he revels in future Gotham is hopeful and warm. It will literally give you the warm and fuzzies.

Damn, is that a smile in the end?
Credit: DC Comics

It can’t be perfect, can it?

I’m having a hard time believing the heroes trust their semi-captor. This is partly due to this character not really making it clear why he needs the Justice League at all. So far he appears godlike in his abilities so it’s unclear what the Justice League’s part is in all this. One can guess they are a threat to this god-like villain’s plans, but it’s never really said. Why the heroes trust this character and even bother debating him seems off as well. A healthy 8 pages of the book are devoted to the League talking to this character, listening to this character, and mulling over their choices. All this talk and none of them seem all that concerned as to what he’s done with Superman until the very end, either.

Is it good?

Justice League breaks new ground in its scope, ambitious plotting, and fun twists. It’s what fun summer superhero comics should be. Justice League is an addictive read with huge reveals, twists, and turns.

Justice League #21
Is it good?
Justice League breaks new ground in its scope, ambitious plotting, and fun twists. It’s what fun summer superhero comics should be.
Good god the art is stupendous!
Huge reveals, twists, turns, and addictive reading
Jarro for president
Unclear what the villain wants or even needs from the Justice League. It's also odd they aren't more concerned about Superman
9
Great
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