Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE #36
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Scott Snyder
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Justice League #36: How powerful is too powerful? Lex Luthor has assembled everything he needs to complete his plan of turning the world toward doom, including reviving the ancient goddess Perpetua and restoring her powers. But can he keep Perpetua from dragging the DC Universe into the abyss alongside the rest of the Multiverse? This is a question that hero and villain alike must ask, as the epic battle between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom across space and time comes crashing together. Everything that happens here sets the stage for the senses-shattering finale of the Justice/Doom War-and the fate of all existence hangs in the balance!
The Justice League has reached their lowest point ever. They have lost the ultimate battle between Justice and Doom and now Lex Luthor is on his way to exterminate the League and their allies. The situation is so dire its shaken shake Batman’s core belief in Justice.
Faith is at the centre of the story in Justice League #36. The trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman confer and work out how faith has brought them to this end, and how it could allow them to survive, and possibly turn things around.
It is Lex Luthor’s faith that has put them in this situation. Before this story, Lex Luthor has been a truly selfish person, only believing in himself. But, Luthor has found a faith in something larger and darker than himself, Perpetua and Doom. This faith allowed him to move beyond his previous limitations. However, the League wasn’t ready for this new Luthor: “We lost because we fought him as though he was the old Lex.”
Therefore, to fight Lex, they realize that they need to find and affirm their own faith. But in what? A deity? No. When Batman asks what god they are praying to at the altar in the Hall of Justice, Wonder Woman tells him, “None… we’re praying to something else altogether.”
The League has realized that they didn’t place enough faith in the people that they fight for. Superman tells the assembled heroes, “We didn’t fight him by enlisting everyone, by believing in them. We hid the truth from them. We tried to win for them, not win them over.”
So, what can they do now? How can they correct this? By continuing to fight for them, even in the face of certain defeat. Batman declares, “We don’t show them we can win. We show them we believe in them even though we can’t.”
And other heroes chime in, “The endless fight.” “We fight as we always have.” “And always will.”
Lex Luthor, on the other hand, instead of having his faith reaffirmed is gets a shocking blow to his own faith. Despite believing that Perpetua would reward the Legion of Doom, she instead turns on them. Brainiac’s reward is to become her throne, from which she will rule the multiverse. Cheetah, Grodd, and Sinestro are immobilized for her to use as living batteries to feed Perpetua their power.
This shakes Lex enough that Martian Manhunter is able to reconstitute his psyche enough to entreat Lex to end this. However, Perpetua asserts that out of all of her servants, Lex will be rewarded, as she feeds him a greater level of power than he had previously experienced. This is enough to make Lex fall back in line.
I also have to admit that it is cool to see the Hall of Justice to rise into the air to meet the forces of Doom. It is so very much like Batman to design the League’s headquarters itself to be used as a weapon in extreme circumstances.
This is an issue that could have come off as a little awkward and exposition heavy, but this is circumvented by the amazing collaboration of the Snyder-Tynion writing team. James Tynion IV is the stronger writer when it comes to more introspective stories, so Tynion takes the reins for Justice League #36, giving us an amazing story.
Now that the Justice League has straightened out their thinking, can they use their reaffirmed faith to turn the situation around? Or will they only score a moral victory as they fall before the forces of Doom? It appears that we are about to finally find out as we head into the concluding issues of Snyder and Tynion’s ultimate Justice League epic.