We were originally told that Justice League #38 would bring a close to the epic and enjoyable saga Scott Synder and chums have woven across so many issues, only to then find out that it was Justice League #39 that would close the door on this particular chapter in the ongoing adventures of Justice League, but to find that it only opens the door further – and quite literally – to yet another battle with Perpetual and I can’t help but feel a little bit played.
Having invested time, and money, in a story that started off way, way back in Dark Nights: Metal, only to find that this whole series has only acted as a overblown, albeit it sensational, prequel to another Dark Nights instalment , then how can I not feel swindled? It’s also an issue that seems to have the unenviable task of setting everything that’s gone wrong in the DCU on the one, true course where all stories matter and all stories and eras have always existed; a narrative diktat already intruded in Doomsday Clock’s final issue and one picked up again here in the closing pages of this comic.
I should have realises something was up when I picked up my floppy copy and found it felt the same as any other regular issue. For a grand balls-to-the-wall finale I was expected – and I imagine many other fans too – I imagined an oversized blow-out with fireworks aplenty and a life affirming take down of Perpetuta, Luthor and his Legion of Doom. But, no, nothing of the sort. It would seem I am now expected to part with even more of my hard earned cash for series after series… until when exactly?
Frankly, I don’t think I can anymore. And, I’ve been one of this titles biggest fans, often even defending it to like-minded comic book fans too. Like Johnny Rotten once so eloquently put it; “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” Er… yeah. Most definitely. Hell, I don’t even get a full issue of Jorge Jimenez’s gorgeous artwork either. fatigue is now mist definitely creeping into this fans old, weary bones.
It’s a conclusion without a conclusion. A story without an end. I even had to double check there weren’t any pages missing, it ends so abruptly. I have to wonder how much was down to editorial and how much was Synder’s plan? A bot of both, no doubt; but what was the split in the decision making I wonder?
After setting up the return of J’onn J’onzz in a blaze of glory and offering up one of the few optimistic moments in this issue – and giving J’onzz the spotlight he has deservedly been given by Synder over the course of this series (one of Synder’s legacies on this book I do hope incoming writer, Robert Vendetti, will develop further and not simply cast aside) – it all comes crashing down around our heroes feet one last time. The Martian Manhunter’s global telepathically communicated speech of hope is ignored by humanity in favour of evil, decay and entropy. A flavour that has been present in DC Comics events over the past year or so as Event Leviathan and Doomsday Clock are name-checked as evidence of evil’s newfound grip on the world and the universe. And, in name-checking Doomsday Clock, Snyder also dismisses it entirely as en event that did not even happen in this reality of the DCU. All in one panel too!
So, I feel I’ve been cheated not once but twice by DC Comics, in relatively quick succession too. What do they say about being fooled not once, but twice? Shame in me indeed. Lesson learn, DC Comics. And an expense one too.
I’ll admit, this is a review I’m writing raw, directly after putting down this last issue of Synder’s stellar run. It’s a run I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and one that has added so much to the DCU. A treasure trove of toys that other creators will enjoy playing with for years to come, but will I be reading Justice League again after this? Do I want to be a willing participant in this ongoing bait-and-switch that DC Comics seem to be happy to endure their loyal readership too? And, how much more of it can we take?
After 39 issues, I truly wish I could have signed off on this one with the same energy and positivity I have reviewed the previous 38 issues with, but sadly this has left a very bitter taste in this fan’s mouth. One that can’t be washed away too easily either and has me now seriously reconsidering what’s on my pull list. After all, it’s not like there isn’t a huge sea of choices out there.
Justice League #39 is available now from DC Comics