Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE: LAST RIDE #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Miguel Mendonca
Colours: Enrica Angiolini
Letters: Andworld Design
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Justice League: Last Ride #3: The League needs to prevent galactic upheaval by protecting a ruthless killer, and the only to do that is to visit the scene of their greatest failure!
In Justice League: Last Ride #3, the League arrives on Apokolips and has set up camp on the apparently vacant world. Batman has selected a location ideally suited for securely containing Lobo: the “summer home” of Desaad, Darkseid’s chief torturer. While this seems an especially macabre choice, it does make sense, as Desaad was well-practiced in keeping prisoners securely incarcerated.
The apparent desolation of Apokolips does raise an interesting question. What happened to the former inhabitants? Presumably, Darkseid, Desaad, and the other Apokoliptian gods were captured or killed in Darkseid’s failed invasion of Earth, along with armies of Parademons. But what of the ordinary citizens, the “Hunger Dogs”? Did the League or one of their allies carry out a genocide on the planet? And if so, could that be what caused a rift in the League?
While that rift hasn’t been explained yet, there are a few more hints. It seems to exist mainly between Superman and Batman. The other Leaguers don’t seem especially angry with either, so I don’t expect that either could have done anything too heinous. It seems more like one of them did something that the other disagreed with on a fundamental level. But nothing that particularly offends the others.
It would seem more likely that Batman would do something Superman disagreed with. However, it bears noting that Bruce goes by a moral code that is every bit as inflexible as Clark’s. And Wonder Woman’s comments raise questions about where the blame lies. She chastises Bruce for his lack of people skills. But she also tells Clark, “You’re supposed to be the best of us. So start acting like it”. It seems to me that Diana holds them both equally responsible in whatever conflict exists between them.
There is a recurring motif of finality in this issue. Perhaps this adventure truly will be the Last Ride of the Justice League. Batman speaks of the Earth being in good hands with the next generation of heroes and that “It’s okay… for the League to die”. He’s speaking metaphorically, but could this be foreshadowing the literal death of some or all of the Leaguers?
And Lobo tells Superman, “Ya seem off yer game. I’ve seen it before. It’s that look when ya know…yer end is comin’. Ya feel it in the back o’ yer skull. You’ve been swingin’ away at death and yer arms are tired… and ya know you ain’t comin’ back from this fight”. Lobo might just be trying to psych Superman out, but he seems to strike a chord. He then calls Lois saying, “I just… wanted to hear your voice”. It sounds like he might be truly afraid it’s the last time he’ll ever talk to her.
Given that this story is set in a possible future timeline, it’s not guaranteed that all of them (or even any of them) will come out of this story alive. That raises the stakes well above any regular story. If this was happening in their regular monthly title, it could be taken for granted that the League would prevail and be ready for their next adventure. But here, we have no reassurance that this is not the final days of the Justice League.
And what is going on with J’onn? It’s been implied that J’onn is dead, but his appearance in Bruce’s dream raises questions. Bruce informs us that he only dreams when he makes a conscious decision to allow it. But J’onn appears to Bruce in a dream anyway. Bruce states that the dream might indicate that this was a telepathic attack, but he doubts this is the case? So, what possibility is there? Is this somehow an actual communication from J’onn?
I am loving Miguel Mendonca’s artwork in this series. All the heroes are looking their iconic best. If this is indeed their final story, it’s only fitting that the heroes are looking their best. It’s interesting that Hal Jordan is the only hero with a redesigned costume. I like that it seems based on a knight’s armour, which brings to mind Alan Scott’s costume in Kingdom Come. But it does make me wonder whether there is some significance in Hal being singled out from his teammates in this manner.
I have no issues at all so far with this story. I even think that Chip Zdarsky is making good use of Lobo, a character that I otherwise cannot stand. But despite my dislike of the character, he perfectly fits the role Zdarsky has written for him.
Justice League: Last Ride #3 continues this intriguing story from Chip Zdarsky and Miguel Mendonca. I just wish that the Justice League’s adventures in their monthly title were this good. DC should consider wooing Zdarsky to taking it over when Bendis decides to move on.