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‘Justice League #31’ (review)

Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
Art by Jorge Jimenez 
Published by DC Comics


“Then it looks like it’s time for what I think has to be the first Justice League/Justice Society team-up!”

(OK, Flash. I mean, of all the people.)

What is old is new again.

Then again, what is new is pretty seriously messed up.

But hey, nothing that a couple of last-ditch trips into Hypertime, and one to the Bleeding Edge of the DC Multiverse can’t fix, right?

Maybe. The problem is, Dark Perpetua’s first acolyte, Lex ‘Apex’ Luthor remains continuously several steps ahead of the Justice League – even within the nebulous physics of cosmic space and time travel.

In other words, Doom is winning.

For some reason though, Hawkgirl’s the only one who sees it. The others are so determined to follow the super-hero playbook (and Starman’s by now less-than credible over-confidence) by dividing the core team into several strike-force do-or-die missions, that they simply can’t seem to anticipate, much less counter, the designs of Luthor’s Legion.

You really do have to admire authors Scott Snyder and James Tynion for creating a framework and a rapidly growing multiversal crisis that allows for as much wild, inventive flights of storytelling as they have.

The trade-off however, is accepting the nonstop, over-the-top, shock-and-awe style that has come to define the Justice League in this run. I mean, really, even for a comic book, there’s so much unlikely absurdity going on here, that you really just have to give it up and enjoy the pageantry. Because of course, that’s the entire point: the pageantry.

This whole run seems to be designed to deliver as many next-level, go big or go home moments, that the plot struggles to keep up. Good thing the overall storyline is, in fact, a truly impressive next-level effort. Because no matter what crazy, insanely impossible situations Scott Snyder has cooked up for our heroes, by now it matters a great deal how all of this is going to turn out. And that’s good.

And so, in these pages we have Perpetua herself, awake and orchestrating her dark designs in full, living color. And we have Luthor, who has transformed himself into a pasty cosmically powered fiend, determined to tip the universal scales to the side of his own burning, all-consuming megalomania.

But we also have no less than four comic adventure backdrops, any one of which would have been sufficient to fill the pages of a Justice League comic from the youth of any mature reader.

Mind you, it is truly enjoyable to have the Justice Society of America gracing these pages, and back in action again. And there’s no missing the nod to the classic out-of-time team-ups that helped make DC truly great once upon a time. Even with Barry’s annoyingly out-of-touch commentary, it’s hard to mess that one up. After all, we’ve been waiting for 6 years.

And it looks like Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, has become a de facto member of the Justice League himself. (No one’s stopping him.) And that’s nothing compared to the second future-time scenario in store for Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. Or the surprise reveal at the end, that seems certain to create one seriously bad feedback loop.

Combined with art by Jose Jimenez that is brilliant from start to finish, and there’s more eye-popping moments than your granddaddy’s comic book ever hoped to manage.

I’d be a lot happier though, if everything didn’t feel so rushed. And I’d definitely be happier if the characters didn’t seem quite so amused by their own lines. There’s no reason to be so pleased with themselves, with so much on the line, and no guarantee of how it’s all going to go.

But hey, that’s the style of this book: Everything turned up to 11. Our characters are more noble, more brilliant, more jaunty – to say nothing of more dastardly and more dangerous – than ever before.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times.

No matter where in space and time we may be..

Next Issue: The New Axis of Evil. Worse than the old one.


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