Review: Justice League #19

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

Writers: Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez

Artist: Jorge Jimenez

Colours: Alejandro Sanchez

Letters: Tom Napolitano

 

Summary

“The Sixth Dimension” part one! At last, the Justice League has the map to the Sixth Dimension in hand — and with it, they have the key to saving the Multiverse from utter destruction! But things aren’t as simple as they seem, because they still need to get to the doorway, and to do that, they’ll have to go through the only being in all of existence who can get them there: Mr. Mxyzptlk!

 

Positives

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the entire current team’s lineup. We had an issue almost entirely devoted to Martian Manhunter and Lex Luthor and another where the League was absent entirely, it feels good to see them reunited. It’s interesting to occasionally focus on smaller groups of characters or on the villains, but generally readers expects an issue of Justice League to star the actual League.

Scott Snyder’s writing on Justice League has benefited from his collaborative efforts with James Tynion IV on previous issues, as Tynion seems better at simplifying for the reader the complex cosmic concepts Snyder is making use of. More such elements are added in this issue, and seem much clearer than some of Snyder’s previous issues.

Jorge Jimenez is credited as co-writer, so it’s possible that his input helped with the issue, or maybe Snyder made an effort to keep the story comprehensible – or maybe just working with a collaborator helps focus the clarity of his writing.

One fascinating addition to DC lore is that Mister Mxyzptlk is a lot more powerful a player in the DC roster than we ever realized. He’s clearly powerful enough to give Superman a hard time, but it appears that he is somewhere near the top of the heap of DC’s cosmic powers.

Also, he clarifies his role somewhat. He is not merely a trickster occasionally having fun with Superman. He also has secretly been playing the role of guardian angel. Also, he mentions that he and the imp who does the same for Batman are the two most powerful imps in the Fifth Dimension. So, yeah, Batmite is essentially a cosmic trickster god as well.

Mxyzptlk also defines the what the Fifth Dimension actually is in DC’s cosmology. Where the fourth dimension is Time, the fifth is Imagination. And the imp’s home dimension is as doomed as the rest of the multiverse due to the Source Wall’s destruction.

Also, Mxyzptlk demonstrates that the map of the Multiverse (as seen in Multiplicity) needs to be seen as a three-dimensional diagram instead of the flat version we’re familiar with. This is actually a small stroke of genius on Snyder’s part. Of course a higher dimensional being is going to see that a 2D map is inadequate to describe the multiverse.

We also get a sneak peek at the League’s apparent future, as the Team meets themselves ten years in the future. We only see a single image of them, but what we do see raises some fascinating questions.

Among the most interesting is the Flash. There appears to be either three Flashes, or one phasing through three different forms. But the shocking thing is that one of them appears to be Wally West. If this is truly the League of the future, it signals good news, as it seems that Wally either survives Heroes In Crisis or returns from the dead sometime in the next decade.

I also quite appreciated the occasional bits of humour present in the story. Like the running joke about whether Bruce Wayne pads his suits or the Flash telling Mxyzptlk, “Look, impossible to pronounce name, I don’t care who stole your Lucky Charms.”

Negatives

There is a touching moment where Superman helps Batman regain his bearings after Bruce realizes how far outside his depth he is in this current crisis. While this is a nice indication of the friendship of the World’s Finest team, it is very out of character for Bruce to doubt himself like this. Bruce has faced threats that threaten the entirety of reality before without doubting himself. It seems rather out-of-place for him to do so here.

 

Verdict

Just when you think the No Justice storyline must be reaching its conclusion, Snyder throws a curveball and gives the League something else to deal with first. You would think that the stakes are as high as they could be by this point, but Snyder keeps finding a way to nudge them a bit higher. When the conclusion eventually does come, this will either be an epic Justice League story or an epic failure. As the story progresses, I am becoming more inclined to believe the gamble will pay off.

 

 

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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.