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‘Justice League #8’ (review)

Written by James T Tynion IV
Illustrated by Mikel Janin
Published by DC Comics

 

“The Totality is a mystery, but it’s a mystery in our possession. No matter what Luthor knows, that gives us the edge. We just have to trust ourselves that we can solve it first.”

Ah, trust.

This issue of the Justice League is the second in the Legion of Doom arc to be penned by James Tynion IV, and it is a solid piece of scripting even better than his first. Accompanying him this time around, we are treated to the excellent penciling talents of Mikel Janin. Together these two give us a high caliber comic that goes a long way to moving our story along from Scott Snyder’s first act, into his second.

And lest you be concerned that the epic operatic scale of that first act is likely to tone down at all, this issue makes it very clear that nothing of the sort is likely. In fact, with just this preamble, it’s pretty clear that what Scott Snyder has in store for us will bring new meaning to the phrase Gods and Monsters.

First off, of course is the Batman Who Laughs, easily one of the darkest demons of the new DCU. Indeed, he may very well be its darkest. But that hasn’t stopped Luthor from snatching him from the fallout of the Dark Multiverse invasion and locking him away in Vandal Savage’s basement. Resourceful guy that Lex.

But there are games within games being played here, and it goes a long way to describe just how far gone Luthor’s lust for power has driven him, for him to introduce a character that even the Joker is repelled by into the equation. Turns out though, that our Dark Batman maybe has got quite a lot more to offer Lex than our resident evil mastermind has realized. The Laugh-Bats certainly doesn’t seem at all surprise that Luthor’s opening gambit has failed.

But then we should probably expect evil Batman to be at least a few steps ahead of the game.

The scenes between the two are marvelously scripted. Tynion demonstrates just how well he understands these characters as they verbally spar around negotiations that reveal as much from what is not said, as what is.

It’s more mystery, at a deeper level, but at least this time we have a lot more information to work with ourselves. And we’ve begun to see the limits of Luthor’s own intel, which despite a rash of ruthless and despicable activity, has only brought him so far.

Meanwhile Black Manta and Cheetah have set into motion the second wave of the Legion’s bid to control the ancient hidden powers of the Multiverse. And it’s a big wave, by all indications. Really big.

The two turn out to be surprisingly well-matched conspirators, a fact that I suspect will be reflected in the corresponding stories of their traditional go-to adversaries over the issues ahead.

But what are these seven ancient powers really? And what is their connection to the intelligence within the heart of the Totality, an intelligence which has quite possibly shaped all of the events leading up to this moment, and set up a battle royale campaign between the most iconic of DC’s superpowered pantheons?

Think that all sounds paranoid? I suspect the Batman Who Laughs would laugh at you for saying so. After all, as he himself is quick to point out, just because a critical piece of the playing board has come into your possession, doesn’t mean that it didn’t want to be there all along..

Next Issue: It’s Coming from Within the House…

 

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