Review: Justice League #20

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

Writer: Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez

Artist: Jorge Jimenez

Colours: Alejandro Sanchez

Letters: Tom Napolitano

 

Summary

“The Sixth Dimension” part two! The Leaguers come face to face with their future selves in the Sixth Dimension and explore the path that lies before them. Meanwhile, Superman is trapped on a world with no light and hundreds of dead Supermen! Can the Man of Steel escape before his powers completely disappear? To do that, he’ll need to learn who captured him!

 

Positives

Whenever a Justice League storyline gives us a peek at a potential future timeline, I love picking it apart for hints at how current storylines might be resolved for characters. Unfortunately, there are hints the future League in this story are not who they claim to be, but still the future pictured here has some fascinating wrinkles.

The most fascinating is what this future holds for the Flash. We aren’t really given much detail about what’s happened, but the future Flash seems to be three Flashes merged into one. One of them appears to have Wally’s costume. Does this mean Wally returns from the dead at some point in the near future? I definitely hope this is the case.

Also, the future Flash’s hair colour is a hint at the third Flash in the matrix. This Flash is pictured with brown hair. Barry is blond and Wally was a redhead. It was Jay Garrick that had brown hair.

Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter are surprised to find that their future selves are a couple and have a son. This is a somewhat surprising turn, especially considering that Hawkgirl is supposed to be fated to be with Hawkman in every life. Would her picking a different mate disrupt their eternal cycle of reincarnation? It may turn out that their life together isn’t real, but it would be great to see J’onn and Kendra consider pursuing a relationship together.

Batman’s future is somewhat different from most versions we’ve seen before. Usually, we see an older Bruce Wayne handing over the role of Batman to a successor like Tim Drake or Terry McGinnis. In this future, Bruce has made the ultimate sacrifice, and Dick Grayson has taken up the mantle.

And I find it fitting that the original Robin has realized a different future for Gotham City. He has recreated the city in the Sixth Dimension as a bright and clean utopian Gotham. I like that although this seems to be Bruce’s goal realized, he doesn’t appear to be comfortable in the new Gotham City.

I loved the interlude where Jarro (Batman’s pet mini-Starro) is fighting alongside the Dark Knight as his favourite Robin ever. Unfortunately for Jarro, this is only a dream. However, I certainly would like to see some further adventures of Jarro based on such dreams.

I am also intrigued by Luthor’s revelation that the Legion of Doom has a fifth-dimensional imp of their own to counter Mxyzptlk. The symbol on the cage is Bat-Mite’s approximation of Batman’s Bat-symbol. It’s may seem silly, but a battle between Bat-Mite and Mxyzptlk could wreak untold destruction on the Earth.

Normally, I’m not a big fan of variant covers, as I feel that the comic companies are taking advantage of their completionist readers, knowing that they’ll feel obliged to buy multiple copies. However, the triptych created over the main cover and the two variants is gorgeous. And in keeping with Snyder’s references to the League’s animated versions, the picture is very reminiscent of the intro for Challenge of the Super Friends, which showed the heroes and the villains racing towards each other. I would really love to have this picture as a poster.

 

Negatives

It’s hard to gauge how far in the future this future League is supposed to be, as their ages are very inconsistent. Most appear not to have aged much, most notable Hawkgirl and the Flash. But Wonder Woman has white hair and wrinkles. Her Amazonian/Olympian origins could explain her aging more slowly or not at all, but why does she appear so much older than the rest? I expect that the answer to this apparent inconsistency is coming shortly.

Also, I do find myself a bit confused. If the Earth of this future League exists in the sixth dimension, does that mean that the Earth will be relocated into that dimension, or has that League built a new Earth there? I hope that Snyder will explain exactly what’s supposed to be going on there – or maybe James Tynion IV might explain things when he next co-writes an issue.

 

Verdict

This story has DC’s top-tier heroes facing their future selves and the Legion of Doom with the fate of the Multiverse in the balance. Add to this an impending war between the incredibly powerful fifth-dimensional imps, and a goddess who is potentially the most powerful being in the entire Multiverse about to awaken. To borrow from an old DC advertising slogan: Justice League is must reading!

 

 

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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.