If you’re reading the regular Justice League bi-weekly comic, then you really, really should pick up the annual, out this week. Justice League Annual #1 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Dan Sampere, Juan Albarran and Adriano Lucas changes gears for the book with a big bang of a plot point that will have large repercussions in the issues to come. It’s a story worthy of it’s oversized status and majestically illustrated throughout by Dan Sampere, who can delicately apply the gentlest of touches to his characters – Starman positively shines from Sampere’s touch – while applying heavier, darker patches to change tone seamlessly when necessary.
With the gang back together again after the event of last week’s issue, the League journey to the very ends of the universe, the Promethean Galaxy, and the broken Source Wall, guarded by the Green Lantern Corps. We’ve already had Perpetua mentioned before now, and so she is mentioned here too. Well, more than mentioned really, as the Legion of Doom, alongside Brainiac, go in search of the literal Mother of all Creation. Not the hippy-dippy loving gods we’d all hoped for, but a dark and mean spirited god who makes the Old Testament fire and brimstone God seem like a pussy cat in comparison. The Justice League have a plan for healing the Source Wall involving the mighty Omega Titans, revealed to be the antibodies of our universe. But, with the Legion of Doom in play, the stakes are high.
Hawkgirl, who has really grown in this series, is once again one of the book’s leading lights. We know enough to know she is absolutely integral to this whole galaxy and dimension-spanning saga, and it’s always been one of the joys I took when reading JLA as a kid: this is a team book that allows less iconic characters to grow and develop when not in a monthly title of their own. Here, we prepare for the worse, and with two Hawkwomen running around the DCU, I was worried. Especially as the JL’s Hawkgirl is ready to sacrifice her life for the salvation of everything because of events in this issue. Even J’onn J’onzz has created a mind map – a literal world into which her conscience can slip if the worse comes to fruition. It’s an emotional, poignant scenes and one that reveals Hawkgirl’s feelings for one of the Justice League in particular. I definitely didn’t see that one coming!
This is a blockbuster-sized comic and a hugely enjoyable one given how high concept this whole saga is. Already having devoured two mini-series (Dark Nights: Metal and Justice League: No Justice) and 16 issues of Justice League, this is a well crafted, meticulously planned and plotted epic scale story that’s still nowhere near finished. And with the different twists and turns – as well as a fertile field upon which to play with other characters from DC’s toy box including the New Gods and the timely return of the the Justice League Of The Multiverse – I for one am not suffering from any fatigue from this magnum opus.
As we saw with Snyder’s run on Batman, what we’re seeing here is an overarching story that will leave its mark indelibly on the DCU, just as Snyder did with Bruce, Tim, Barbra and the rest of the bat-gang. With Tynion IV sharing writing duties, together they make a formidable team. With the large, growing cast involved with this storyline, and additional characters added as this story grows and grows, it feels like a DC crossover of yore, but it isn’t. Although, something tells me, it could well be leading to one. And, I’d be more than happy with that.
Justice League Annual #1 is available now from DC Comics.