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‘Justice League Annual #1’ (review)

Written by Scott Snyder, James T Tynion IV 
Illustrated by Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran
Published by DC Comics




Time to step it up a notch.

The League gets serious this week, as they head to the outer rim of the Universe to finally do something about the Source Wall.

It’s a welcome shift to the mega-cosmic, with a tale and a backdrop that calls to mind some of the greatest universal crises of the League’s history.

And for the most part, it does not disappoint.

Guest artist Daniel Sampere does a fine job of meeting that challenge with artwork and layouts that do credit to the scale, and that history, both.

James Tynion continues scripting duties, which I still don’t quite understand, given how central this chapter has evidently always been to Scott Snyder’s vision. No serious criticism of Tynion intended, but at such a critical juncture of a storyline that is nothing if not complex and ambitious, it would have been nice to get Snyder’s take of the action in his singular, inimitable style.

Disquieting to imagine that it has proven too complex for even him to script.

As it is, there’s a whole host of significantly contrasting matters of scale to adjust to in this issue, and while Tynion manages the epic romance of that quite well, there’s still an almost dizzying suspension of various reference points at play in that, compounded by a loose usage of certain vocabulary – words like ‘universal’, ‘creation’, ‘reality’, and ‘infinite’ – that suggest that even our authors are still getting used to some of this themselves. All I can say is, they must be keeping their editors busy.

But on the whole, it hangs together. And the picture that emerges is quite something indeed.

Let’s see if we can break that down.

We learned last issue, in a throwaway line, that Perpetua, is one of many children, the ‘most feared’ of her brothers and sisters, one of a race of godlike beings from a supra-reality beyond the Source Wall. A race capable of creating whole universes to their own design.

Our own universe – the great DC multiverse, past and present – was once, in its previous and original incarnation, the design and creation of Perpetua herself. A ‘dark and predatory’ reality, fashioned from seven dark forces of creation, by a dark and fearsome Goddess, the very Mother of creation herself, made with the intent to be some sort of ‘Omni-versal’ weapon.

Whatever that means. But yes, it sounds pretty hostile.

Even more than Tynion’s recent tragic triple-goddess Hecate over in Justice League Dark, Perpetua here sounds a lot like Sophia, the Great Mother of All, who according to scripture, unsuccessfully created seven shadow universes, each discarded as incomplete and lacking, until the reality we now know and live within, came to be.

But Perpetua is not a benevolent Mother. Oh, no. Very much the opposite in fact. More of a Dark Sophia, then.

Perhaps fitting for a mythic sturm-and-drang universe of heroic avatars and the endless struggles they endure, the original Mother Goddess of the DCU, it now appears, is a being so dangerous, feared and hated, she was (somehow) long before the DCU we now know ever came to be, defeated and locked away (along with her great army of monstrous, titanic warriors) within the very body of the Source Wall itself.

That is, until recently.

Yet another frightfully grim aspect of the Divine Feminine here fellas. Here’s hoping you’ve got something in play to balance that out.

Now, against what or whom, or in what capacity the ‘original’ version of the multiverse was created to be a weapon against, we as yet have no idea. But it would appear, that there is some sort of Over-reality beyond the Source Wall – the previously mentioned Omni-verse, presumably – a sort of Prime Reality within which the whole of the DCU has always resided, locked away from what lies beyond, by… the Source Wall.

An infinity of other universes and multiverses ordered and inter-related with one another, according to some as yet unguessed at design.

So much for 52 (53!). Something that’s been needed for a long time now.

Perhaps Hawkgirl’s wings could provide us with a few clues about all that. Too bad Kendra is committed to a mission that is meant to take her off the board – a grand sacrificial role, with no less than the safety of the entire multiverse at stake.

Good thing we have a fully recovered Starman back in the game. Without him, we’d know none of this, and without him, we wouldn’t have a plan to fix the Source Wall. A plan he is certain, with his newly restored cosmic awareness, will work. Because the heart of the multiverse itself tells him so…

See? Here are the Omega Titans themselves, shepherded back to the Source Wall to fulfill their purpose. Now, with the sum total of all the forces of creation available to them through Starman himself, they can resume their place in the Source Wall and fulfill their original intended purpose again – to lock away the threat it was built to contain, once more.

There’s only the matter of who will have to replace the Entropy Titan, whose destruction Braniac was certain to ensure way back in last summer’s No Justice mini-series, before the Coluan was killed himself.

But wait – you say Braniac is back from the dead? Raised up from the great Data Fields of Elysium by Lex Luthor, to help him succeed in his mad quest to free Perpetua from her prison within the Totality to resume her rightful role as Queen of all Reality?

Ah well, I’m sure that’s nothing to worry about.

Next Issue: Seven point to Doom.

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