Review: Justice League #37

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Christopher Priest

Artist: Philippe Briones

 

Summary

“JUSTICE LOST” part four! As public confidence in the League continues to fall, strained relationships within the team are set aside when Simon Baz is kidnapped by the mysterious figure known as the Fan: a zealous Justice League acolyte who was inspired by the team as a youth and who now deals death to the League’s enemies. The Fan knows literally every detail about the League membership’s powers and tactics, and easily turns their own systems and resources against them “for their own good.”

 

Positives

The idea of superheroes having the general public turning against them isn’t new – it was done well in the Legends event and is also a component of the current Doomsday Clock series. However, where this is being orchestrated by a villain, in this story the villain is trying to help the heroes, but is only managing to make things worse.

The fake Batman from the previous issues turns out to be Joshua Christian, who is using the League’s own technology to ‘help’ the League by murdering people who he determines are threats to the League. Christian had been one of the workers who assembled the League’s Watchtower base, which gave him access to the League’s tech.

This is a villain that many fans can relate to: an obsessive fan that just wants to help his heroes. He doesn’t even have his own sobriquet or costume, but cos-plays, previously as Batman, but in this issue also as the Hal Jordan version of Green Lantern.

There is a short flashback of the League’s past, told from the view of Christian, which includes Martian Manhunter, who hasn’t been seen much since the Rebirth relaunch. Is this an indication that the League’s history has been rewritten to restore J’onn’s history as a League member?

 

Negatives

Oddly, the same flashback shows several Leaguers in their Rebirth costumes – including Batman, who adopted his Rebirth costume only very recently (in DCU time). Yet, the villain is a teen in the flashback, but an adult in the present. At the very least, this flashback has to be five years in the past. It seems most likely that this is a mistake, but there is the possibility that the DCU’s history is still in flux.

 

Verdict

Despite this apparent continuity error, this storyline is proving to be a refreshing change for Justice League. The title was starting to feel a bit tired and repetitive, but Priest has managed to reinvigorate the title.

 

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.
  • DCFan4Life

    Rebirth wasn’t a reboot! It was mentioned in the new 52 that Martian manhunter had been on the justice league before going “crazy”. Again, rebirth was not a reboot and the continuity continued from the new 52!

    • Derek

      I used the term “relaunch” in the review, not “reboot”. It was definitely a relaunch, as nearly their entire line was restarted with new #1s.

      Also, although Rebirth wasn’t a reboot and started out carrying on the continuity from the New 52, some alteration has been done since then. The largest example is Superman Reborn, which has merged the New 52 continuity of Superman with the pre-Flashpoint continuity. This has majorly changed Superman’s history in the Rebirth universe, and given Superman’s influence in the DCU, must have caused an enormous ripple effect throughout the DCU’s continuity. Plus, who knows what retcons might come arines of Doomsday Clock and Metal?

      Thus, I think it is quite reasonable to posit that the apparent continuity goof in this issue might be intentional and be hinting at a change in the League’s history.

      • DCFan4Life

        but he was in the justice league in this continuity…it’s been mentioned a handful of times. No matter how you spin it, he was in the Justice League so its not a continuity goof

        • Derek

          No, but the costumes were (or at least Batman’s was). This either is a goof or JLA history has been retconned. The presence of J’onn makes me hopeful that if it is aretcon, that his history with JL has also been retconned, giving him a larger role than in the previously shown New 52/Rebirth continuity.

          • DCFan4Life

            well, since the bad guy was a young kid when it happened, it was way in the past anyway

      • DCFan4Life

        all of that was supposedly in the 5 years from the first justice league arc (origins) and the rest of the beginning of the New 52. It is also mentioned in the JLA book and the Stormwatch book.