Justice League #36
How powerful is too powerful? Lex Luthor has assembled everything he needs to complete his plan of turning the world toward doom, including reviving the ancient goddess Perpetua and restoring her powers. But can he keep Perpetua from dragging the DC Universe into the abyss alongside the rest of the Multiverse? This is a question that hero and villain alike must ask, as the epic battle between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom across space and time comes crashing together. Everything that happens here sets the stage for the senses-shattering finale of the Justice/Doom War-and the fate of all existence hangs in the balance!
We have reached a point in Snyder and Tynion IV’s dwindling tenure on Justice League, with the announcement of the rapidly impending run by Robert Venditti (February 2020) to begin asking the questions of long-term ramifications. Up to this point, with no definite end in sight and a massively decompressed narrative, most questions have been levied against the short term with the fans who have held on taking a “wait and see” approach. For the most part, said approach has paid off in terms of the various plot threads coming together to form a cohesive whole larger than the sum of its parts. Now, as we enjoy that payoff, however, the impact of this era of Justice League begins to loom on the horizon.
Doom has, for all intents and purposes, defeated Justice, as per the last issue. This issue seems to rapidly shift that axis as Perpetua’s motives are revealed to not be in the best interest of her disciples (she turned Braniac into furniture!) exposing a massive crack in her ideological armor and providing the way forward for the heroes to win in the name of Justice. We always knew the heroes would win in the end. That was never in question. The how of it was formality. But what will the impact be? With the timeline now set, it feels like this period of defeat was glossed over too quickly to have much in the line of a lasting impact. This story, for all of its focus on legacy feels potentially devoid of a legacy of its own unfortunately.
This tendency towards cosmic-level stories with low-end consequences once the story ends is not something new to the pages of Justice League. Previous runs from Geoff Johns and others have firmly entrenched the narrative of the Justice League in a place where each subsequent writer is searching for an event worthy of the full might of the team, bigger than the last, only to have it resolve and roll directly into the next universe-ending threat. What will mark Snyder and Tynion’s epic for future generations is how well they stick the landing here. A simple death of main characters (we’re well on our way to getting our favorite Martian back in this issue) simply won’t have enough emotional impact to carry this story beyond the trade-wait crowd. We’ve seen it too many times before and the countdown will begin until such a time as that character returns. For this story to end meaningfully, there must be an emotional breakage, I think. Hawkgirl seems the most likely candidate to emerge questioning the validity of Justice over Doom but there are other candidates as well. There is a real opportunity here to make a lasting impression and I’m rooting for the creators, but time is swiftly dwindling and the time to act is now.
The tide of the "Justice/Doom War" begins to shift as the Snyder/Tynion era approaches its end, leaving readers to wonder "what comes next" in Justice League #36 (Snyder, Tynion, Manupal, HI FI, Napolitano).
Justice League #36: The Tides of War
Writing - 7.5/10
Storyline - 7/10
Art - 8.5/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 8/10
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