The multiverse is a very large and strange place. It’s a curious element of the DC universe that’s best seen from afar or your head can get tangled in how confusing it all can be. Problem is, now that Lex Luthor is playing a new type of fire that affects every dimension, the Justice League needs to prepare every year from every universe. James Tynion IV and Javier Fernandez open up Pandora’s box this week and it continues to show how this series’ scope is bigger than you can possibly imagine.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
After being off-planet for so long, the Justice League must try to pick up the pieces of their lives–but Lex Luthor has other plans. If he has his way, he’ll show all of humanity that the Justice League will never be there in the world’s time of need!
Why does this matter?
If you’ve been reading Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez’s arc on this series you know the greatest heroes of all time just forged an alliance with a god-like being that actually created all the universes of the DCU. This issue begins the World Forger’s mission to work with the heroes rather than go his own way.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue balances three stories well, progressing each to the point where you’ll be on the edge of your seat. One follows Martian Manhunter who is attempting to do his best on his own to stop Lex Luthor, with whom he has a childhood bond. Another follows Mera and Hawkgirl as they attempt to get the heroes in line and ready for a war the likes of which the universe has never seen. The third involves the main Justice League members attempting to convince the House of Heroes a war is coming and they must prepare. The House of Heroes scene is filled with colorful characters we’ve seen before (and some we haven’t), revealing how rich the Multiverse is while increasing the doom hanging over everything. Hawkgirl’s own stress is adding to that tension too, and Martian Manhunter’s scenes help add a bit of quietness, as if he is experiencing a personal calm before the storm. Together these three scenes help establish some rather complex elements as the “Year of the Villain” kicks off.
As I said above, there are a lot of familiar faces popping up in this issue, which is exciting. Clearly, the heroes are banding together and there are some heroes popping up you may not expect. In a fun scene, Flash is speaking to John Stewart about his experience with the Multiverse. It’s a nice way to ease readers into the concept since John isn’t familiar and it’s fun to see Flash smile since this isn’t his first rodeo. It’s a crazy big concept and Tynion does well to ease us into it.
The art by Javier Fernandez is strong with a darker tone we’ve come to expect from the series so far, suiting the gloom and doom hanging over the characters. There are a few standout pages, like a double-page splash of Superman talking to a bevy of heroes across the multiverse with various heroes around him. It’s a lot of fun to linger on this page and see the detail put into the poses and costumes. You might even spot a Marvel character or two! The body language of Hawkgirl is excellent and she serves as a barometer of what this team is feeling. Fernandez captures that tension very well.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
I appreciate Martian Manhunter’s scenes as they add a calmness that’s unnerving, but the captions are very much like prose and don’t jive well with the rest of the book. The voice of the narrator comes through in these captions, but they’re a bit heavy-handed for my tastes.
Is it good?
A threat like no other is approaching and this issue captures the tension in the room very well. A war is coming and it’s interesting to see the heroes’ perspectives, since they know they’re at a disadvantage further enhancing reader anticipation for the event of the year.