NO JUSTICE, PART 1: The Justice League teams up with the Teen Titans, the Titans, and the Suicide Squad to combat a threat to the entire universe. But with Brainiac involved, even all four teams may not be enough.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE #1
Authors: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson
Artists: Francis Manapul
Letters: Andworld Design
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
When Barbatos brought the Dark Multiverse into the DC Universe, the source wall, the wall separating the 52 Universes of DC from everything else, was broken, allowing worlds to seem through that had never been seen before.
At the end of Barbatos’ threat, Batman was prepared to revamp the Justice League, building the Hall of Justice.
What You’ll Find Out:
The entire Green Lantern Corps has just discovered something shocking: the source wall is breaking. Whatever the League did during Barbatos’ invasion has created a crack between realities.
On Earth, the Titans, Teen Titans, and Suicide Squad are all fighting some unseen enemy that has attacked the Earth in several cities simultaneously. The League is also mixed up in it, coming face to face with the mastermind: Brainiac. Superman attacks Brainiac directly while the rest of the League is slowly losing their fight. Brainiac then reveals that he did not come for the Earth. He came for Earth’s heroes.
Sometime later, Beast Boy, Harley Quinn, Starfire, and Zatanna all wake up in the same room. After a brief moment where Harley freaks out about a giant green bear (Beast Boy) they finally agree to exit the room without fighting. They head towards the main hallway and find several more heroes: Atom, Martian Manhunter, Raven, Dr. Fate, and Robin.
Robin, of course (being as how he’s the Damien version of Robin, a spoiled, self-centered brat), is a little impatient, even while Martian Manhunter is advising they wait until they’ve talked to the other heroes who are no doubt here as well. As Robin stomps off, determined that his father (Batman) is no doubt on top of things, finds himself face to face with Brainiac who has the Justice League behind him. Brainiac reveals that he is not there to fight the League, but rather needs their help to combat a horrific evil. Wonder Woman’s lasso ensures that he is telling the truth.
Brainiac proceeds to explain to the heroes what is going on… he tells them how the oldest beings in the universe were these four brothers: Entropy, Wisdom, Wonder, and Mystery. They were cosmic gods and in an effort to find out who was best, they planted seeds throughout the universe on various planets. The story is that they are supposed to return at the end of the universe and consume the planets to finally settle their bet, but with the source wall breaking, they’re showing up a bit early. One of them has arrived on Brainiac’s homeworld, Colu.
As Brainiac finishes his story, he declares that they must restore the balance of the four energies. Their costumes have all been modified, corresponding to each of the four titans. intending for the heroes to split into different groups to go after the four locations on Colu. However, Batman points out that the teams are unbalanced. Brainiac has that covered, though. Six villains have been captured as well: Etrigan, Deathstroke, Lobo, Starro, Sinestro, and Lex Luthor.
On earth, Director Waller is investigating the disappearance of the heroes, including her own Suicide Squad. To that end, she has captured all of the most powerful telepaths on Earth, intending to use them to hack Brainiac.
The heroes and villains aren’t exactly getting along (including Starro who is even screwing around with other villains). But they then arrive at Colu where one of the brothers, the cosmic titans, has arrived: Wisdom. Brainiac explains how the different teams must reignite the other three seeds on his world so that they are equal to wisdom. But he also reveals that upon traveling to Earth, he made sure to activate Earth’s seed to attract the brothers. If the League fails to save Colu, Earth is next.
However, as Brainiac begins to detail his plans and instructions for the League, Haller’s telepaths begin to probe. The strain is too much and Brainiac dies in Superman’s arms, his head exploding.
What Just Happened?
Justice League has certainly been a rollercoaster for the past couple years. Rebirth started with Hitch’s run, generally viewed as a dark time for the League (and I don’t mean the threats they faced, but rather the poor quality of storytelling).
Then Priest came along and his method was very different. As difficult as it was to read Hitch’s League, they were still doing what the League normally did: fought the biggest threats imaginable. Priest told a more down to earth story, giving us glimpses of how the real world might handle the League. And while I wasn’t the biggest fan of Priest and it wasn’t quite the vision I would’ve had for the League, it was much more thoughtful than your standard comic.
And now along comes Snyder, who rose to fame with his reimagining of the Batman mythos and followed it up with the immense game-changing Dark Nights Metal. Snyder isn’t going to tell some grounded story. So coming off Priest’s run, it’s easy to be unsure what to think of this. I know I sure was. I wasn’t clear what to make of this story at first, because I was so used to reading a different League.
But Snyder proved himself with the Metal saga and he’s proven himself once again with No Justice.
The book is fun from start to finish. From the entire Green Lantern corp discovering the break in the source wall, to Haller’s machinations with the telepaths, to Starro’s telepathic manipulation of Deathstroke, to Brainiac’s head explosion…it’s a blast from the first page to the last.
Snyder does what he does best and gives us a new origin story. Not for the League, not for Batman (like he did with the Court of Owls), but for the entire Universe. Much like he did with his introduction of the Dark Multiverse, he presents us with ancient god-like beings. He ties it in with the threats he left us at the end of Metal with the breaking of the Source Wall. And while it’s nothing new to take abstract concepts and anthropomorphize them, Snyder does it well, working the mythos into the story as if it’s been there all along.
The action is great (see the takedown of the Titans, Teen Titans, and Suicide Squad with the various shots like a chaotic movie scene), the dialogue is fantastic (Barry saying “Fast is the only gear I’ve got”), and the interactions feel real (too many to focus on, but pay special attention to Batman/Robin, J’onn/Luthor, and Starfire/Sinestro). Snyder proves once again that he knows how to write team books as everybody gets their own time, even when it’s four teams. Even if it’s just small lines that remind you of who they are (or teaches you who they are if you’re a new reader). For instance, Barry’s a smartass. If you didn’t know that before, you know that now.
The art is also something to be praised. Normally with weekly or bi-weekly titles, the art suffers a lot, but Manapul handles it perfectly. It easily overshadows any of the art during the past year or so of Justice League.
It’s a great book. Not perfect. Not exactly deep. And I’m kind of missing Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. But it’s a fun read. This is the League I’ve been wanting to see since Rebirth, the League I’ve been missing out on. Snyder hit the mark with this one as a great way of transitioning the League from Dark Nights Metal to his own Justice League book.
And seriously…who else could make a starfish a credible threat?
Final Thoughts: Scott Snyder, James Tynion, Joshua Williamson, and Francis Manapul give us an action-packed new Justice League that has excited me for the first time since Rebirth. It’s a fun ride and fans of the League won’t be disappointed to pick this book up.
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