We’re right in the thick of it with Justice League #28 as Apex Luthor tempts J’Onn J’Onzz with an offer that you just know the Martian Manhunter is going to turn down, even before it’s said. But then again, this is Lex Luthor we’re talking about here, arguably the DCU’s greatest mortal mind, now shattered with his transformation into his current pasty-white, super-powered form. He starting to sound a lot more like The Joker than his former self, although he still retains that savage genius of his. And, it’s on display again in this issue, as we are once more reminded of his desire to see doom bring down the entire Multiverse and bring down the Justice League along the way. Meanwhile, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and pals find themselves hunting down the Anti-Monitor on Qward, leaving Starman and Jarro to babysit Shayne, Hawkgirl and J’onn J’onzz’s child from the 6th Dimension. That’s a lot of spinning plates that writer James Tynion IV has to keep spinning and balancing and he does it well, portioning out each set of characters air time appropriately, with the bulk of the issue focussed on Luthor and J’onzz’s showdown.
Helping delineate each subplot are the very different artistic styles of Javier Fernandez and Daniel Sampere who continue to add to the growing list of top talent drawing this series. The Justice League haven’t scaled these type of heights, narratively, in years, and it’s no wonder this title is still one of DC Comics best sellers. Each issue is designed to ring out the most drama and emotional turmoil and this issue is no different. By the end of this book, it would seem a League member has fallen and Luthor’s plans seem to be going well with the threats coming fast and thick from all corners of the Multiverse and beyond. This is truly as large scale a saga as you could want and shows that DC Comics are once again heading to a crescendo that will, I dare say, attempt to give us a more coherent, cohesive universe. Just don’t let Doctor Manhattan in on this plan. I don’t think he got the memo.
In amongst all of this is the emerging family history of the Authors, which I am finding fascinating. We’ve already learnt of Luthor’s father’s capturing of a young J’onn J’onzz and his own Legionnaires; a forerunner of Luthor’s own Legion of Doom and a seemingly shadowy force that has worked behind the scenes for decades. I like this new addition to Luthor’s story and I think it’s far more fitting for a man, a villain, like Luthor. And, who can’t be captivated by the outfield romance of Hawkgirl and the Martian Manhunter too?
All-in-all, this Justice League series reminds me of the Bronze Age Avengers who also added drawn out and interesting team romances, while adding more and more drama, sub-plots and intrigue into the title, along with a slew of all new characters that only enriched the 616. Plus, with artists like George Perez on The Avengers back in the day, The Avengers was always going to be a stone-cold classic and a heavy influence on many even today. Just like the Justice League today; top of the game, and always top of my reading list.
Justice League #28 is available now from DC Comics.