Beyond the untold mental horrors of the Valley of Starros, across the seas to Brimstone Bay, at last lies Perpetua's throne... but it's guarded by the all-powerful Omega Knight and the terrifying MINDHUNTER, who holds J'onn J'onzz in this thrall!
But with Detective Chimp's morale failing, the other heroes untrusting of Lex Luthor, and Hawkgirl seeming to have her own agenda - is their quest doomed before it even truly begins?
Writer Josh Williamson hits his stride in “Doom Metal” part three, fully leaning into the quest sensibilities of the story for maximum effect. And while “Doom Metal” isn’t the most original creative venture to hit comics, it doesn’t need to be to be effective. There’s a misguided belief sometimes that stories must be hitherto wholly original in their content, lest they lack in artistic merit. That’s completely fallacious. What matters is that a creator manages to put their own stamp on a story, and tell it in their own voice, and that’s exactly what Williamson is doing here.
By swerving hard into “Doom Metal’s” quest/high fantasy aspects, Williamson is bringing a dimension to the larger Death Metal narrative that might otherwise be missing among all the chaos and shenanigans. And while this isn’t necessarily a story that, in an alternate universe, couldn’t exist in some other context, it definitely feels right at home in Snyder and Capullo’s grand power chord of a multiversal aria.
The art, this issue by Robson Rocha (taking over for Xermanico, who drew the previous two issues), is in a word epic. Rocha has brought a high-fantasy feel to much of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s current Aquaman run, and alongside regular inking partner Daniel Henriques and colorist Romulo Fajardo, Jr., really bring “Doom Metal” to life on-page. The character designs, though not Rocha’s, are really stand-out too. Nightwing is rocking his inner Jon Snow to massive effect; and I’ll gladly take Cyborg-with-a-sick-‘stache any day of the week. He basically looks like he decided to tap into the Luke Cage-ness within that we all knew he had the whole time.
The heart of the story, though, is thus far Detective Chimp, whose loss of faith is genuinely saddening. Bobo is a character often defined by his never-give-up attitude in defiance of his comic relief appearance. To see him in the throes of despair is legitimately heartbreaking, especially when he’s trapped in the Starro-illusion of his deceased friend Nightmaster having a beer with him like old times. That wasn’t real, he’s told. Was it any less of a nightmare than this world? he bitterly retorts. That sort of bald fatalism coming from such a usually chipper character is humbling.
As for the rest – J’onn J’onzz’ struggle against the evil Mindhunter Batman is easily the least-developed aspect of this story thus far, but it does prove an effective catalyst for Hawkgirl recklessly throwing the plan out the window in the name of love. Lex Luthor remains untrusted but obviously the key to the whole thing, although it’s going to be interesting to see what fate befalls him once the Legion of Doom is in the position to exact their revenge for his betrayal. Oh, and Starfire has the most epic mohawk since Storm cut all her hair off back in ’83. What’s not to love about that?!
"Doom Metal" finds its mid-tempo groove in Justice League #55, leaning strongly into the inherent strengths of its quest-style story and really running wild with them to great effect. Strong characterization and crisp, detailed art bring it all home. Don't miss out on this one!
Justice League #55: Sinister Slaughter
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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