When a character is hunting for something it’s usually incredibly relatable. We’re all seeking some kind of approval, recognition, or at the very least a reaction from those around us. Martian Manhunter is going through this right now in Justice League, as he’s trying to connect with his old friend from childhood. That old friend is Lex Luthor. Recently it was revealed Lex and J’onn J’onzz connected after Lex’s dad kidnapped J’onn. Now he’s hunting for Lex to save him, but is it too late?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The Apex Predator rises! Justice-Doom War is coming! This is the culmination of the Legion of Doom’s master plan, and they will take the Justice League to far-out places they may never return from…and do things the DC Universe may never recover from.
Why does this matter?
Lex Luthor has gone through a massive change as of late after blowing himself up. Reborn with the help of Perpetua, he’s no longer human. This is a key issue in understanding why he did this and where his mental state is at.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is an instant classic if you’re interested in seeing how the hope of a hero can sometimes doom them. Martian Manhunter is tracking down Lex to see if he can change his mind and make things right. Knowing superhero comics, that’s probably an impossible thing, but it’s a curse of most heroes that they must try even if they know they may fail. The issue opens with J’onn and Hawkgirl tracking Lex down and almost immediately we see how Lex has changed quite a bit. As the issue unfolds there is a check in with the remaining Justice League, but the real meat of the story is all about what Lex has to say.
I don’t want to spoil it here, but Lex has had a huge change in mindset. Ever the proud human, it appears Lex is aware that becoming incredibly powerful and better is an inherent part of our evolution. What he says to Martian Manhunter connects to prior stories and, thankfully, James Tynion IV even has the character reflect on the hypocrisy of what Lex is saying. It makes it easier to digest and believe. By the end, you will without a doubt look at Lex Luthor in a different way. It’s an exciting development and it feels natural to the character since he’s relatively stayed the same for decades.
The art is shared between Javier Fernandez, who handles the Martian Manhunter scenes, and Daniel Sampere, who draws the Justice League scenes. I’ve said this in previous reviews, but Fernandez is a good choice for this darker and more sinister road for J’onn. Fernandez does an exceptional job drawing Lex in this issue, who is cloaked and incredibly scary looking. The angles at which we see his face are straight out of a horror movie. He’s practically the Emperor from Star Wars in how he’s depicted. Meanwhile, Sampere draws each of the Justice League well while casting the correct amount of odd weirdness in the surroundings of the characters.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The story as far as the Justice League themselves go continues to feel like filler. Their appearance is a check-in, with ever-so-slight plot development. The real focus is on Martian Manhunter and the Justice League’s inclusion seems to be here simply because they have to be included in order to call it a Justice League book.
Is it good?
Justice League is changing the way you think about Lex Luthor in a big way. Seeing as he’s at the center of the “Year of the Villain” event, this is a must-read to gain an understanding of the bigger picture.