Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE #30
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colours: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Justice League #30: The “Justice/Doom War” starts here! The Lex Luthor the League has known and fought is no more, replaced by an apex predator version of Lex, powered by Perpetua with a goal of bringing tragedy to the DC Universe. Now that Lex has powered up villains across the cosmos, he marshals his own troops, sparking a war between the Legion of Doom and the Justice League that will span space, time and the Multiverse itself. This is the start of the next big Justice League event, with consequences affecting “DC’s Year of the Villain” and beyond!
The first chapter of the Justice/Doom War begins with the Justice League being defeated by Lex Luthor, who declares, “Perpetua is risen. Doom has won. The Justice League is dead.”
It turns out that we are seeing a Hypertime reality where the Justice League loses the looming war, which Starman is showing to the assembled heroes. This is a unique but effective way to start the story, driving home the point that not only is it possible that the Justice League could lose the conflict, but that they almost certainly will be defeated by the Legion of Doom.
The heroes that Starman is addressing appears to be nearly every active superhero in the DCU, with the crowd extending well past the point where it’s possible to identify who is there. This shows both the extreme severity of the impending threat and the respect the League commands to be able to assemble so many heroes to fight alongside the League. Similarly, we see that the Legion of Doom has amassed an equally large group of villains. The ensuing battle is the ultimate fight possible: all the heroes vs. all the villains.
I find it interesting how deeply affected Hawkgirl is by the loss of the Martian Manhunter. There appears to be some sort of romantic connection that was developing between them, making J’onn’s loss a harder blow for her than for the others. Kendra appears to have forsaken any hope of winning the war, and hope is the League’s main asset in this dark time.
Starman summarizes the current situation, describing the forces at play and the danger that they are facing. Then it cuts to Perpetua further explaining things to Luthor. This expositional section gives a nice summary to bring new readers up to speed on the story. Snyder sometimes gets lost in these cosmic explanations, leaving some readers struggling to understand, but luckily Tynion is co-writing and keeps the exposition from getting too incomprehensible.
One thing that caught my eye was in the scene of the large assembly of villains. One of the villains appears to be Plastic Man, who was clearly shown to be amongst the heroes earlier in the issue. Could this be the vampiric Plasma-Man from a parallel Earth? Or is it some new evil nemesis for Plastic Man?
The heroes determine that they can create a “Justice Totality” by finding two Totality fragments that have been lost in the past and in the future. So, they divide into teams to travel to these time periods to find the fragments.
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman find themselves face to face with Kamandi, who tells them that they have arrived in that time period two weeks too late to save the world.
Green Lantern and the Flash travel into the past, where they meet a group whose return to the DCU has been eagerly awaited by fans: the Justice Society of America. Even though the situation is extremely dire, their appearance awoke a feeling of glorious elation at the sight of them.
I especially love that they look exactly like they should. Their costumes are exactly as they appeared pre-Flashpoint, with no New 52-style updates or other visual changes. This gives me hope that their original history is going to be fully, or at least mostly, restored.
I also liked that it was the Flash and Green Lantern that meet the JSA, as they are the two members that have direct counterparts in the Justice Society. Also, it’s fitting that the first contact between the Justice League and the Justice Society should have both Barry Allen and Jay Garrick present, as it was Garner Fox’s Flash of Two Worlds that first made contact between the two Flashes and led to the original JLA/JSA team-up events.
Also, sharp-eyed readers might spot a neat bit of foreshadowing the JSA’s return earlier in the issue. Starman shows the assembled heroes the Cosmic Rod. The Cosmic Rod is the one used by Jack Knight (and later Stargirl). The rod’s existence implies that it’s inventor, Ted Knight exists in continuity and likely had a career as Starman. And on that final page, we see him amongst the heroes of the Justice Society.
I also find it somewhat fitting that the recall and reissue of Superman #14 has caused the long-awaited return of a superhero group from the past to come out the same week as the equally long-awaited return of a superhero group from the future: the Legion of Super-Heroes. I know this wasn’t planned this way, but it seems fitting for the two returns to coincide.
One could complain that there is an overabundance of exposition in this issue. The pages featuring Starman and Perpetua’s summaries seem almost as if there is more word balloons than art on the page. However, I feel this is somewhat excusable, as a recap of the situation is called for, and that situation is very complex. Thus, Snyder and Tynion are fully justified in subjecting us to a barrage of exposition.
Even without the JSA, I am eager to see where this story is headed, but I am especially eager to see what role the Justice Society plays in the story, and what the story will reveal about the Justice Society’s place in the post-Doomsday Clock DCU. The Justice/Doom war is definitely shaping up to be a defining moment in the history of the Justice League.