Justice League #29 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Bruno Redondo, Hi-Fi and Tom Napolitano is yet another clever issue masquerading, in its opening pages, as something a little bit different tonally. What I expected to be something of a fun issue focussing on Jarro – well, ‘fun’ being a subjective term here, given the lack of fun the Leaguers have had recently – turned around into being a highly emotional issue by the end, while ramping up the danger to the Multiverse as Apex Luthor once again has the advantage over the good guys. All that, and a twist that caught me off guard, even though its one of the oldest tropes around. Damn you, Snyder and Tynion IV.
It’s also an issue that acts like Cliff Notes summarising all that has occurred so far to the Justice league, going back as far as the No Justice mini-series that launched this title only a couple of years ago. We’ve covered a great deal of ground since then. Through Jarro’s story we get a concise recap of the many, many complexities of this saga, boiled down into a digestible bitesized recount over the course of a few pages, all skilfully and beautifully created by Redondo, whose textures, figures and facial expressions aren’t too dissimilar in style to regular artist Jorge Jimenez’s own. It’s an immense task for any artist, but Redondo achieves this and draws the reader further into the story with his masterful panel layouts. Everything from No Justice through Dark Nights: Metal and including cross-overs along the way too. Furthermore, it does help to solidify the various threads Snyder and company have been juggling and brings cohesion and comprehension to all that’s been going on. Finally, my head has stooped spinning! It’s a great jump-on issue, even if it hasn’t been marketed like that. But, if you do know someone yet to read this book, do recommend this issue to them, won’t you?
It’s hard not to love Jarro, who up until now has been something more of the Snapper Carr of this contemporary edition of the team. Even his posing in a Robin outfit at the start of the comic, while about to pounce on the Legion of Doom, seems faintly ridiculous, and most definitely comical. How even dare he, right? He may have once been an all conquering despot but after No Justice Jarro has become a friendly one-eyed face around the Halls of Justice. Someone to provide the odd joke, but to sit out a lot of the main action. And, these character are always the ones to keep an eye on, in my experience.
It’s a marvel, then, that Snyder and Tynion IV – surely the Starsky and Hutch of the DCU – take a character that is essentially a super pet and teaches us, by the end of the issue, to regard him in a very different light, and to embrace him as one of the more stand-out characters this series is producing. If I was Ralph Dibny, my nose would be twitching with anticipation. Methinks we’re only scratching the surface of Jarro’s story. I pray he remains the good guy he’s become. Comics often give us the illusion of change, but wouldn’t it be great if Jarro bucked that trend – and there’s a plot point at the end of this issue that would sustain this hope – and remain on the side of the angels?
Justice League #29 is out now from DC Comics.