Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE: LAST RIDE #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Miguel Mendonca
Colours: Enrica Eren Angiolini
Letters: Andworld Design
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Justice League: Last Ride #2: The League needs to prevent galactic upheaval by protecting a ruthless killer, and the only way to do that is to visit the scene of their greatest failure! But can Superman ignore the ghosts of the past to do what’s needed?
Justice League: Last Ride #2 starts off with a flashback of the League fighting a war on three fronts against Darkseid’s armies. While Superman aids the Green Lanterns in defending Oa, and the rest of League defends Earth, Batman and Martian Manhunter engage on a mission to Oa. Given the hints that were dropped last issue, this was the League’s final adventure before disbanding. I am glad to see that Chip Zdarsky is filling in the details of that fateful event, considering how bearing it has on the current day story.
And in that current day story, the League is surreptitiously smuggling Lobo to Apokolips. Batman’s plan is to hide Lobo there until he can face trial. Batman has a very logical explanation for picking Apokolips: “Nobody would suspect it, plus… Darkseid polluted the ionosphere with a gas that inhibits scanning of the planet’s surface. Half of you emit distinct energies because of your power types. Apokolips will keep you off all radars”.
Wonder Woman mentions that Apokolips is the skeleton of the planet it once was – “Its fiery mass stripped clean from its bones”. Apparently Darkseid’s war resulted in the razing of Apokolips. I wonder if that was done by the League. That doesn’t sound like something the League would do, but if Superman or Batman did it in retribution for whatever happened to Martian Manhunter, that would certainly explain the bad feeling between them.
But if it was one of them, which one? Batman seems the one more likely to carry out a vengeful act, but Superman is the one who is powerful enough to scourge a planet. And Batman can get things done on a monumental scale when he needs to. Each has a code against taking lives, but Batman’s has always seemed a bit stronger to me. The question of which one would break that code first is intriguing. Or maybe it was a third party, making the question moot.
Unsurprisingly, the League’s attempt to keep their trip secret is unsuccessful. They run into a ship in distress along the way, a situation the League can’t ignore – especially Superman. Batman seems to accept this necessity without argument, and calls in the Green Lantern Corps to help with the rescue. But will he take Superman to task later for deviating from the plan?
Also, Lobo expresses his anticipation of “gettin’ a front row seat… to watchin’ you all die”. Is there something he knows that the League doesn’t? Maybe Apokolips isn’t as dead as the League thinks. Or maybe this whole situation is a trap that the League is stepping into. Something seems fishy here.
This story appears to be either a possible future timeline or out of continuity altogether. This raises the stakes, as there are no guarantees that the team will remain together past this story, or that any of them will survive the story. Zdarsky isn’t bound to bringing the League back to status quo at the end, so he is free to make the story as tragic or triumphant as he pleases. This adds an element of suspense that superhero comics often lacks.
I don’t really like the character of Lobo, but he fits the role in the story that Zdarsky has set for him. In a story where the League has to defend a unrepentant mass-murderer that is near-universally hated, there isn’t anyone who fills that role better than Lobo. So despite my dislike of the character, his presence in this story is completely justified.
Justice League: Last Ride #2 continues to build on the fascinating story started in the first issue. Zdarsky has created a different kind of Justice League story that has got me hooked. And Miguel Mendonca’s fantastic art aids in making this series a treat to read.