Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE: LAST RIDE #7
[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 #7: It’s all been building to this – past and present and future all collide here in the final issue of this monumental series. Everything connects back to J’onn’s death, Batman’s final decision, and Superman’s regret-it all has been leading to this final confrontation with Darkseid. Who lives (some do!)? Who dies (some do!)? It all culminates in a bombastic finale from which the Justice League will emerge eternally changed.
With Justice League: Last Ride #7, Chip Zdarsky brings his Justice League story to a conclusion. Zdarsky has been generating a feeling of finality in this story so far. And considering that this miniseries takes place in a possible future timeline, I expected that we would see one or more notable deaths in this final chapter – perhaps several.
So was there? Well, it did seem like Zdarsky had actually killed off the freakin’ Batman. This was enough of a twist in and of itself, but the fact that this could be for real made it even more effective.
And I love the exchange between Superman and Batman as Bruce endangered himself to save Clark. Superman demands, “Bruce, you idiot! Why–“. And Bruce, apparently dying, gets a shot in with, “Can’t let…let you get yourself killed… You’d be furious… with me…”. Bruce is reproaching Clark for his anger at Bruce over Martian Manhunter’s death. But he does so in joking, playful manner to signal that he has forgiven Clark. Of course, Batman pulls through, which does little from diminish his actions. He was fully willing to sacrifice himself to save his friend.
Zdarsky had dropped a hint early on in this story by having Hal Jordan being the only Leaguer who had adopted a new costume in this future timeline. This indicated that something was up with Hal, and last issue we found that Hal had been possessed by the essence of Darkseid. So, when we see Hal back in his classic Green Lantern uniform this issue, it’s a triumphant declaration that the real Hal is back.
True to his word, Lobo helps the League defeat Brainiac and his horde of Manhunters. But with Lobo having fulfilled his bargain with the League, there’s the question of making sure he faces trial before the United Planets. But Wonder Woman has an effective solution for making sure Lobo doesn’t cause any trouble – which I absolutely loved. Once Lobo’s obligation is complete, Diana lops his head off – which in Lobo’s case is merely an inconvenience rather than fatal.
Although this Zdarsky’s future seemed pretty bleak at first, the story’s denouement shows that things look fairly bright. Martian Manhunter lives on, although he’s permanently tied to Apokolips. However, that planet has been transformed into New Oa by J’onn and a revitalized Green Lantern Corps.
And we see Bruce, Clark, and Diana committing to reforming the League – and expanding its scope. As Bruce explains, “Darkseid and the Corps proved something to us–corruption and evil are everywhere. Far beyond Earth, there are those needing help, those who need Justice. We’re no longer American. Or International. We’re Justice League Universal”. This change in name and focus seems a natural evolution for the Justice League. And I’d love for Zdarsky to return and tell us the adventures of the JLU.
Miguel Mendonca has done a brilliant job on the artwork for Justice League: Last Ride. Every character is clearly recognizable and looks their iconic best. And he has wonderfully captured the high intensity of what might have been the League’s swansong.
Some might consider that the fact that Batman survived his brush with death undercuts the significance of that heroic act. However, Zdarsky did a convincing job of establishing that Bruce’s death was a real possibility. So, the risk of death in itself on its own had much more significant than in a canon story where his survival would be a certainty. I don’t think that Bruce’s actual death would have added much to the impact. And it would have certainly detracted from the story’s hopeful ending.
Justice League: Last Ride #7 was an fantastic conclusion to an awesome Justice League story. This is the kind of story I wish we were getting in the League’s regular series. DC should keep Zdarksy in mind for the job when Bendis eventually moves on from writing Justice League. But until then, I’d love to see a sequel project starring the Justice League Universal.