There is no title from either Marvel or DC that I get more excited to read than Justice League. I eagerly await each issue to get the latest on this epic tale from Scott Snyder and James Tynion, IV. Given where we left off with the last issue I am expecting a big issue with Justice League #16. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion, IV
Script: James Tynion, IV
Pencils: Jim Cheung and Stephen Segovia
Inks: Jim Cheung, Mark Morales and Stephen Segovia
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the white Martian explaining to J’onn that Krona first discovered the existence of an earlier universe and of Perpetua. That Krona and his fellow Maltusian scientists he hid the secret and studied it.
The white Martian then explains Perpetua’s symbol. The horizontal line represents the Source Wall. The seven vertical lines beneath it represent the dark universal powers of Perpetua. The seven vertical lines above it represent the positive universal powers. The white Martian says that currently, the positive universal powers have remained dominant while Perpetua has been locked away. The white Martian reveals that she is dying and that there is still so much more that he needs to tell J’onn.
We cut to Shayera and Katar battling Kendra. We see Killowog and several Green Lanterns facing off with John Stewart. Killowog orders John to stand down. Killowog says that insubordination is Hal Jordan’s thing and not John’s way of acting. Killowog says that the Green Lantern Corps has jurisdiction on Thanagar and not Earth based super hero teams. John says that the Multiverse is dying and that he is done standing on the sidelines.
We hop back to the white Martian telling J’onn that the Maltusians evolved into the Guardians of the Galaxy and they decided to hide the knowledge of Perpetua here on Thanagar. The Guardians feared that Perpetua’s perfect race of soldiers would return and lay waste to the universe. Perpetua’s perfect soldiers were a blend of humans and Martians. That when the two species were split the humans retained the fire of passion but weak in body and mind. The Martians were strong in body and mind but lacked the fire of passion.
The white Martian then says that some human scientists tried to recreate Perpetua’s perfect soldiers by mixing human DNA with Martian DNA. The Martian that the scientists used was J’onn. He was abducted as a child.
We shift to Shayera beating up Kendra. The Green Lantern Corps then intervene. Killowog says that Shayera is under arrest. Shayera responds that with her willpower and the Absorbascon that she is unbeatable on Thanagar. A ton of Wingmen suddenly appear in the air and attack the Green Lanterns.
We hop back to the White Martian telling J’onn that she is dying. The white Martian reminds J’onn that Perpetua’s symbol can mean either Doom or Justice. That it is up to J’onn to make sure Justice prevails in the Multiverse.
Suddenly, Shayera crashes into the scene and goes to attack J’onn. Then the Green Lanterns crash into the room followed by the Wingmen. The White Martian dies. And then everything on Thanagar begins to fall apart.
Shayera puts on the Absorbascon helmet and tries to rebuild Thanagar. Martian Manhunter tells Shayera to take off the Absorbascon. That it will kill her. Shayera removes the Absorbascon helmet and apologizes for what she has done.Suddenly, all of the wingmen disappear. Katar then disappears, too.
Shayera apologies for what she has done and says that she just wanted to help Thanagar and protect her people. Killowog says that Shayera is under arrest. Kendra says that putting Shayera under arrest would achieve nothing. That they all need to stand together in the face of the horror that is coming.
Shayera then says that the Vault’s locks have been triggered and that they cannot escape. Suddenly, an energy beam blasts open the Vault’s walls. We see Starman standing there. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are behind him. Killowog’s power ring says that Starman’s power readings are incalculable. Wonder Woman says that Starman has the power of the Totality within him.
Starman touches Shayera and retrieves some energy from her and then places it inside of Kendra. Starman says that Perpetua tried to keep Kendra and Shayera split rather than being whole. That now Kendra is complete. Kendra says that she feels like a piece that has been missing from her since she died as Shiera Hall has been returned.
Shayera asks Starman if he just stole her soul. Starman says that he did not. That Shayera has her own soul and her own story. That the Thanagarians will need her as a leader to help rebuild Thanagar.
Killowog tells John that he is not going to arrest him and bring him to Oa. Killowog wishes John good luck and tells him to call for backup the next time something goes wrong.
J’onn then tells Batman that he needs to find someone who might be the key to tipping the scales back to Justice. Starman then tells Kendra that she is finally ready to fulfill her cosmic destiny. That it is time to fix the source wall. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #16 is another excellent issue. Scott Snyder and James Tynion, IV continue to crank up the intensity of this story with each issue. Amazingly, this story keeps getting more grand and epic as this story continues to unfold and evolve. It is incredible how much fun this title is. Justice League is guaranteed to slap a smile on any reader’s face.
The plotting and pacing continue to be superlative. Snyder and Tynion pull of some impressive plot progression in Justice League #16. The best part is that when Snyder and Tynion a plot answer the new information immediately sparks several new questions. It is this type of highly detailed and complex plotting that makes this story feel so organic and immersive.
Justice League #16 delivers plenty of new information and present several new questions. Let’s start with the new information concerning J’onn’s past. It is revealed that J’onn was actually abducted by humans when he was a child. And then J’onn’s DNA was used to recreate Perpetua’s perfect warriors. What a cool reveal. I like that J’onn’s place in the story has assumed a more important position. It is fitting for his character. J’onn is an iconic Justice Leaguer and I like the idea of him being an important character in the cosmic aspect of the DCU.
Martian Manhunter’s original origin from 1955 had J’onn being captured by Dr. Saul Erdel. Dr. Erdel performed experiments on J’onn. Snyder and Tynion pull of a pretty large continuity shift by having the experiments performed on J’onn being for the purpose of creating Perpetua’s perfect warriors. Even more interesting is that the creature created by combining human DNA with J’onn’s DNA looks just like a White Martian. This is a pretty huge change to both J’onn and the DCU’s continuity for Mars in general. I think retconing white Martians into Perpetua’s perfect warriors created from humans and green Martians would be a pretty cool concept. It should be interesting to see where Snyder and Tynion take this new development.
I also am fascinated to learn more about this small band of Earth scientists who were able to discover the Guardians’ great secret and then reengineer Perpetua’s army. This is such an interesting plot development and it will be fun learning more about this in upcoming issues.
Justice League #16 also delivers a surprise reveal about Kendra. Snyder had already hinted at Kendra’s importance in this story during her fight with Luthor over the Totality. However, we now learn that Kendra’s cosmic destiny is the fix the Source Wall. That is quite the revelation. I am curious to learn why it is Kendra’s character that is destined to carry out this task.
I also liked that Starman helped to make Kendra’s character whole by giving her what was missing inside of her soul. Kendra’s character is an absolutely mess. Kendra is the only character whose continuity is more of a dumpster fire than Carter Hall’s continuity. It is time that Kendra’s character become more streamlined and focused.
I enjoyed seeing Starman finally in the mix as a fully functional and coherent character. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Starman. He is a great 1980’s character. I think Starman has tons of potential and can help bring even more excitement to this story.
The Justice Leaguers have been so in the dark concerning the Totality and Perpetua. Lex Luthor has clearly been several steps ahead of our heroes and clearly has more knowledge about Perpetua and the Totality. The Justice Leaguers have also been a bit rudderless during this story without a character to help properly guide them in this battle to save the Multiverse from the forces from beyond the Source wall. It is time that Starman serve as a counterweight to Luthor and help our heroes finally begin to learn more about this grand cosmic threat to the Multiverse and to help give our heroes more focus and direction going forward.
I enjoyed all of the new information that Snyder and Tynion gave us concerning Perpetua’s symbol and the meaning behind her symbol. I dig the concept of seven cosmic energies of Doom being balanced by seven cosmic energies of Justice. This is such a fantastic high concept idea that make super hero comics so much fun.
The explanation of Perpetua’s symbol also helped to put into proper perspective the cosmic conflict between Doom and Justice. It also helps to flesh out the Doom theme from earlier in this story when the writers spent more time focusing on Lex Luthor learning more about the Totality.
Justice League #16 also introduces a new mystery at the end of the issue as J’onn hints at a person that he needs to find who could be the key to topping the scale back to Justice. This is another example of how an answer leads to a new question. J’onn learns about his role in trying to rebuild Perpetua’s army. This new information leads J’onn on a new path to trying to recruit a mysterious character to help our heroes’ cause. This type of plotting is scene all throughout Justice League.
I am curious to see who this person is who can help tip the scales back to Justice. Hopefully, it is another surprise character that we have not seen in a while. Snyder has been excellent at pulling in such an incredible cast of characters from nearly every corner of the DCU. This is part of what makes Justice League feel so epic. Hopefully, Snyder has another cool character reveal in store for us.
Tynion cranks out some strong character work and well crafted dialogue in Justice League #16. All of the characters have well-defined external voices. Each character has a well-developed personality. All of this leads to Tynion being able to create excellent chemistry between the characters. The strong character work also helps to inject plenty of emotion into this issue.
I enjoyed the little moments that Tynion places into Justice League #16 to help accentuate the well-developed characters and good chemistry. One nice example of this was a small moment when Killowog points out that John is acting like Hal Jordan by being insubordinate. This is a nice way to organically perform character work. This moment reinforces the differences between Hal and John and that John is traditionally a good soldier who follows the rules. This moment also emphasizes how desperate the situation has become that even a rule follower like John would begin to act recklessly.
Another great small moment was when Shayera makes even more Wingmen and attack J’onn and the Green Lanterns. Killowog tells John that he is going to kick John’s ass after this. John replies, “Yeah. Fair.” This is a funny moment that shows the good chemistry between these characters. The dialogue for both characters was so perfect and in keeping with their different personalities.
Tynion also does an excellent job with Shayera. I forgot how much I missed this character. Shayera is so compelling and multi-layered. Shayera is both strong and full of vulnerabilities at the same time. I love that Tynion had Shayera genuinely remorseful for what she had done. I also like that Tynion built a good defense for Shayera for her actions. No one can fault a leader for doing whatever they can to protect their people. This was a great job by Tynion to keep Shayera a hero rather than becoming a full-blown villain.
Shayera is everything that Kendra is not. Shayera is a confident and capable hero who has an attractive and complex personality. This character has gravitas and commands respect. I would much prefer for Shayera to become the main Hawkwoman on Justice League.
Jim Cheung, Stephen Segovia, and Mark Morales combine to deliver a quality looking issue. The panel layouts are creative and interesting. The action scenes are dynamic. The dialogue heavy scenes are equally well done.
The Bad: I am not sure that I like what Snyder and Tynion are trying to do with Kendra and Shayera. DC has done such an amazing job cleaning up Carter Hall’s continuity over on Robert Venditti’s run on Hawkman. Then DC creates this mess with Kendra and Shayera existing at the same time.
Hawkgirl is the only character whose continuity is as much of a dumpster fire as Hawkman’s continuity. And by having Shayera and Kendra existing at the same time DC is making things worse for Hawkgirl’s continuity. At this point, DC should simply clean up Hawkgirl’s continuity like they did with Hawkman. DC needs to kill off Kendra and return the character to her roots like their did with Hawkman. Have her be Shiera Hall. And then call her Hawkwoman.
Another reason to get rid of Kendra is that her character is still bland and underwhelming. In Justice League #16, Kendra gets absolutely overshadowed by the far more captivating and complex Shayera. There is just nothing to Kendra’s character. And Snyder and Tynion trying to awkwardly shove such a dull character into an incredibly important role in the story may actually backfire.
Overall: Justice League #16 delivers just the right mix of dialogue heavy scenes and action. This issue will appeal to fans who like action as well as fans who desire character driven stories. This title continues to be DC’s crown jewel. Justice League #16 is worth every penny of its cover price. If you still have not hoped aboard this title then you need to do so immediately.