Review: Justice League #5

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

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artists: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza

Colors: Wil Quintana

Letters: Tom Napolitano

 

Summary

Lex Luthor’s back in the present just trying to live his best life after seeing what the future could have held for him. Luthor’s new mantra? “Embrace Your Doom!” So now he’s rounding up a new Legion of Doom to go on a cosmic wilding and establish himself as the biggest baddie in the DCU. In full recruiting mode, Luthor approaches both Sinestro and Gorilla Grodd to join his new team, and he doesn’t exactly have to twist any arms. (They’ve got a matching 401K plan and great bennies, after all!)

 

Positives

The cover of this issue has features the Justice League logo overwritten with the words “Legion of Doom”, which is appropriate as this issue stars Lex Luthor’s group of villains. The League itself is almost entirely absent except for The Flash and Superman each appearing in a single panel (as well as Cyborg on the variant cover).

This issue steps back a bit in time to see how Luthor conceived his current plan and how he recruited two of his most powerful allies: Sinestro and Grodd. We are told that each of the members of the Legion of Doom are uniquely suited to command one of seven forces. Of these, we have seen the Still force and the Ultraviolet portion of the emotional spectrum.

Scott Snyder takes a break from the writing duties, while James Tynion IV takes the reins. However, the story doesn’t suffer do to the change in writers. This issue is itself an interlude from the main story, which fills in some of the backstory. Tynion is a bit more restrained than Snyder, choosing rather to fill in details. This give the readers a chance to get their bearings before Snyder returns and kicks the story back into high gear.

I like how this title gives us little glimpses of other DC characters, reminding us that the events of this story are having a profound effect on the entire DC Universe. We see brief cameos of Neron, Trigon, Granny Goodness, Desaad, Black Adam, and others. Most of these characters are villains, which is fitting for an issue that is focused the story’s villains. Interestingly, we briefly see the Scarecrow, who was a member of the Super Friends version of the Legion of Doom, but not the current lineup.

 

Negatives

In this issue, Lex travels to the far future, where he sees the apparently inevitable triumph of evil over the forces of good. One million years in the future, Lex arrives in Lexor City, which is named in his honour and features a giant statue in his likeness. He meets a man whose appearance is clearly patterned after the Joker.

I find it hard to accept that the DC Universe will succumb to such a future. It goes against the basic nature of the DCU for good not to triumph over evil. Additionally, a million years is an extremely long time. To give some context, our current recorded history only goes back 6,000 years, and even the most important figures from that far back are only vaguely remembered. If Lex were remembered a million years from now, I doubt they would remember him with any clarity if they even remembered him at all.

However, I am able to suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the story on its own terms. Despite this, it has enough internal consistency to hold together and make a good story. I remain unconvinced of the inevitability of that future, but I can except that Lex sees it as such.

Verdict

Lex is at the very threshold of conquering the universe and the Legion of Doom has control of various cosmic powers that drastically overpower the League. Things have rarely looked this dark for DC’s premier team. This version of the Justice League works on a scale that’s even more epic than Grant Morrison’s “Big 7” League, making this one of the most exciting books in DC’s lineup.

 

 

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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.