Sometimes a comic comes around that makes you think a little deeper about life, society, or yourself. Sometimes those kinds of comics have a message that flies under the radar so you miss it. That’s not true of Justice League #39, Scott Snyder’s last issue on the series, thanks to inspiring captions that point the book, and a bold ending that’ll leave you waiting, and wanting more. Somewhat like the Sopranos, this ending will have you wondering if you are missing a few pages, and while this might be frustrating at first, you begin to realize the message Snyder has laid out for us.
The issue opens (read the preview here) with Martian Manhunter back and standing tall ready to fight. It’s a sign of hope and it drives the first half of the issue well. With J’onn back the tide might be turned and the heroes may just win this thing against Perpetua. In the issue, Lex Luthor was basically defeated, so it’s the Justice League vs. Perpetua this go around, but there is actually another party in this battle. All of us.
This story arc has been largely about the bad guys luring all life in the universe towards their side. At the same time, the Justice League have been attempting to sway everyone to the side of justice and hope. There’s a powerful message Snyder makes via the captions that reveals why the Justice League protects us at all. There is another caption that’s pure and empowering commenting on how, as a society, we are stronger together. It’s a message we need more than ever these days with politics the way they are globally and domestically. It appears Snyder’s last chapter in Justice League is being used to inspire, or at least try to inspire anyone reading this book and to remind us that the doom Perpetua brings is real just as much in our own world as in the DCU in the sense that many people are selfish and have an inability to find compassion for others.
There is more to this book than just a message though. There’s a battle of speed and will by Martian Manhunter that is gripping, there is a turn in the story you won’t see coming, and there is an ending that was so huge in scope I pondered if I was reading a Marvel Comic. Snyder and the art team on this book consisting of Jorge Jimenez, Daniel Sampere, and Juan Albarran conclude this book in epic fashion with the stakes so high you may just fall out of your chair when you finish this book.
The art by Jimenez continues to be stellar with an impressive double-page layout featuring Martian Manhunter doing his thing and the world watching, while in another you feel the beat of boots on the ground as Perpetua’s army races towards the heroes on the ground. Daniel Sempere and Juan Albarran wrap up the second half of the book well and it’s a natural switch given the way this issue is structured. They make you believe the Justice League are facing possibly the greatest threat in all of history.
When the book ends I will admit I was wondering if I was missing a page. I think many will feel frustrated with how this ends, but if you give it a bit of thought and understand its purpose you may come around to believe it’s a great work with a strong message. It took 10 issues to get us here and I’ll admit part of me wants more resolution I’m fine with Snyder utilizing this platform to convey a message the world needs a lot more of.
This is a brave and bold finish to a 10-part story that had a lot riding on it. What could have rang as false is handled with truth and vision. In its final moments Justice League proves the team, much like the heroes on it, can be a force used to inspire hope and empowerment. There is a message here that is crafted not to be against anything like war or violence but is positive in its hope for compassion, life, and finding the hero inside all of us. We just need to believe it’s there.