Something Smells Fishy And It Isn’t Aquaman In Justice League #20

by Oliver MacNamee

If the future looks too good to be true, then it probably. After all, the Justice League have been to many a far flung utopian future in the past and found this to be true many a time. So has the reader, who can see that not all is as it seems, as we catch up with the team in this week’s Justice League #20. An aged Superman and chums fill  in the Leaguers and us on further matters to do with the multiverse in an attempt to speed up the current entropy that is affecting the DCU thanks to the Source Wall’s collapse. Speed up the process that, for the past 19 issue, the Justice League have been attempting to reverse? I don’t need Aquaman’s presence to know that something is beginning to smell fishy.

It’s another issue that throws even more plot points at us as we juggle what we thought we knew about the DCU while navigating the newly introduced Sixth Dimension. Meanwhile, in the present day, the fifth-dimensional imp, Mr Mxyzptlk, begins to breakdown that causes its own problems, especially when Lex Luthor reveals his own plans for dealing with this dimension-travelling guardian angel. The League may well be able to one day soon coin the phrase, “We have a Mr Mxy,” but Luthor will certainly have an answer to that one, should it even come up. He seems to have an answer to a lot of things these days.

In between all this epic storytelling Snyder still finds time to include those quieter, personal moments that help develop character and, hopefully, evolve them to another level. I always enjoyed those romantic liaisons that only the Justice League of America could bring about. Often very left-of-field, the budding relationship between Hawkgirl and the Martian Manhunter is a welcome return of a personal favourite JLA trope from the past, and I look forward to seeing how far it goes. The Sixth Dimensional future Kendra and J’onn may well suggest they end up together, but we’re not believing this future, are we? Still, it’s a nice edition and a lovely nod to the Justice League traditions of the past, modernised for today’s readership.

It’s an issue that offers a false sense of optimism and an optimism that is reflected in the beautiful, fluid art of Jorge Jimenez. No better is this fluidity expressed than through the futuristic architecture Jorge has delight in designing throughout this book. Just wait till you get a good look at Gotham City, or for that matter,  or even Metropolis. Although that double page spread at the beginning of the issue, depicting a lesson on the multiverse from the elder future/fake Superman, is another wonderful example beautifully balanced by the colour work of Alejandro Sánchez. 

By the end of this one, we’ve also caught up on the stranded Superman, which only adds to the growing sense of imminent conflict that this issue’s cover explicitly depicts.

Justice League #20 is available now from DC Comics.

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