Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE: LAST RIDE #4
[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 #4: The Justice League disbanded when their last mission went terribly wrong, and Martian Manhunter paid the ultimate price. But the team learns that time is a circle, and their last mission on Apokolips holds more than just the key to protecting a war criminal and completing their mission, it tells the story of how we lost J’onn…and why Superman holds Batman responsible!
This minseries is set in a possible future in which the Justice League had disbanded. Chip Zdarsky has shown that their final mission had caused a falling out between Batman and Superman. It was implied that the matter involved the death of the Martian Manhunter. However, it remained unclear what Batman could have done that would cause J’onn’s death, especially considering that the other Leaguers don’t seem to hold Batman responsible.
Now, in Justice League: Last Ride #4, we get an extended flashback that shows what exactly happened to cause this rift in the League. Batman and J’onn are tasked with stopping Darkseid’s attack on Earth. The only solution appears to be to manually shut down the main power supply for Apokolips. The only problem is that doing so would kill J’onn. Superman could have done so and survived. But he was too far away on Oa.
J’onn recognizes the necessity. and volunteers. Unable to see any other option, Batman sends J’onn to his death over Superman’s protests. There is an especially touching moment, when Bruce lets down his guard for a moment and tells J’onn, “I’m sorry. I wish I could have found a better–“. And J’onn replies, “I know, old friend. I know”.
A lot of the conflict between Bruce and Clark comes down to assigning the blame for J’onn’s death. Superman appears to blame Batman, and Batman takes that blame, as he feels he deserves it. Could Clark be misdirecting his anger at himself at Bruce? Hal states, “You know he just blames himself, right? He wants to be everywhere at all times, saving people”. But Bruce responds by saying, “Superman wants to be in the right place at the right time… but I should have been two steps ahead, so I could lead him to that right place. He blames me… and he’s right”. Batman believes he deserves the blame. But neither Bruce or Clark want to put any blame on J’onn who willingly chose to sacrifice himself.
In the present, Superman and Wally discuss the events leading up to their current mission with Lobo. Oddly enough, it’s Wally that figures out that the whole situation is a trap. In his own words, “This feels like a trap. I know I’m not as detective-y as Batman, or a strategist like Wonder Woman… but this isn’t right”. And his suspicions seem to be borne out, as the foes of the League gather to fact the League, including Mongul, the Cyborg Superman, and the Manhunters. It looks like the League has a hell of a fight ahead of them.
I also have to praise the artwork of Miguel Mendonca. There are a lot of iconic characters in this series, and he renders them all perfectly. And the battle scenes are detailed with gorgeous intricacy. And Enrica Angiolini’s colours work beautifully with Mendonca’s art to evoke the sombre mood of Zdarsky’s story.
I have no complaints with Justice League: Last Ride #4. Zdarsky’s has built a strong story so far, which is clearly building to something big. If he can keep up the momentum, this could well be the year’s best Justice League story.
Justice League: Last Ride #4 is the best issue yet of this fantastic miniseries. Zdarsky and Mendoca have given us a story that puts the regular Justice League title to shame. DC should really try to woo Zdarsky into signing on as the League’s regular writer.