We here at The Revolution have not been shy about our love for Justice League. Scott Snyder has made the Justice League the best super hero comic book currently on the market from either DC or Marvel. Since Snyder is writing Justice League #23 I would expect plenty of plot progression and an epic story. James Tynion, IV usually handles the slower paced and smaller scaled stories on Justice League. I have high hopes for Justice League #23. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!
Words: Scott Snyder
Plot: Jorge Jimenez
Art: Jorge Jimenez
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Superman remembering teaching Jon how to start a campfire without using his heat vision. Jon thinks that this is a dumb endeavor. Clark says that he thought the same thing when Pa Kent taught him to create fire without his heat vision. Superman says that they light the lanterns this way on this night as a way to remember those from Smallville lost in the Great War. Clark explains to Jon that traditions are important and that they are what links us through time.
We cut to Superman on the barren planet that 6th Dimension Superman left him on. Superman focuses on a lone sun far in the distance. Superman thinks how he has one chance to make it to the sun above. That if he does not make it then he will die. Superman thinks how he will succeed. How he is tradition. Superman then blasts off into space. The barren planet shatters under the force of his takeoff.
We cut to the Justice League on Future Apokolips in the 6th Dimension. We are told that the Fourth Dimension is time. And that the Justice League is running out of it. Lois Lane has the Justice League members cuffed in energy manacles that drain them of their powers.
Lois explains that she was born on one of the World Forger’s earliest attempts at a Justice Formation. Lois says that she has watched the World Forger create countless universes where they try to save everyone. And each time they fail. And they always fail because of Superman. Clark never sees the truth. Each time Jon follows Clark. Each time Jon dies. Lois says she has watched too many people die. That they must win this war.
Lois then has our Justice League members locked up in a cell. Flash says that they have nothing to worry and that this cell won’t hold them because they have a Batman. Suddenly, the Justice League members looks around and realize that Batman is not there.
We hop over to Earth in the 6th Dimension. The World Forger is glad that Batman decided to stay and listen to the World Forger’s plan. Batman says that he wants to hear the entire plan. No tricks. Just facts. The World Forger says that Batman has the best strategic mind in existence. The World Forger says that beings like him are designed to monitor from afar. The World Forger’s cells are such that he cannot exist on Batman’s plane.
The World Forger says that there is only way to achieve a Justice Formation in time to fool the Cosmic Judges. Batman asks what he has to do. World Forger says that right now on Batman’s Earth Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyptlk are battling each other. That Mxyptlk is unimagining the fabric of things. That once that happens the Crisis Anvil will appear and the World Forger’s hammer will light. The World Forger will strike the Crisis Anvil and this universe will descend upon the vanished current one. The life energy of those beings who have a place here will be transferred to their future counterparts. Hopefully, the Judges will not notice the time missing from their Multiverse so they can fool the Judges into thinking they evolved to this form naturally. World Forger says that Batman will convince the other Justice Leaguers that this is the only way forward. That this is Batman’s role as leader.
Batman asks about Superman. World Forger says that Superman is trying to reach them. That all the other Supermen failed, but this is Prime Superman so it is possible that Superman will reach them. If Superman reaches them then they will all surely die.
Batman says that the World Forger wants him to move the suns away from Superman so he will die. World Forger says that being leader means making hard decisions. World Forger says that after Superman dies that his cells will still retain energy. That World Forger will take Superman’s life force into his own 6th Dimension Superman.
We hop back to Future Apokolips. Our Justice Leaguers cannot break through the cell door. Suddenly, Shayne appears from the shadows of the cell. Shayne used his mind powers to make himself invisible to Lois and her soldiers. J’onn tells Shayne to focus on a strong emotion and create a psychic blast to free them from their cell.
Shayne thinks about anger. Anger over their war which has led to so many deaths. That people were scared and sorry and that they punished them anyway. Shayne screams that this is not Justice. Shayne lets out a massive psychic blast that destroys not just the Justice Leaguer’s cell but every cell in the prison.
The Justice Leaguers walk out of their cell and realize that every single criminal imprisoned on Future Apokolips have also been freed. Shayne says that they can run to the prisoner transport at the launchpad and make the jump from this system. Our heroes run to the launchpad with all of the villains chasing after them.
Our heroes arrive at the launchpad and are stunned that there are no transport ships present. The villains all surround the Justice Leaguers. Suddenly, a space ship appears on the scene. The bay door to the space ship opens and we see that it is Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, and Cheetah. They tell the Justice Leaguers to hop aboard the ship now.
Our heroes wonder why the Legion of Doom would want to save them. Sinestro replies that there is no time to argue and to just get on the ship. Our heroes all hop onto the Legion of Doom’s ship. Sinestro tells the pilot to take their ship to the World Forger. The Justice Leaguers ask who is piloting the Legion of Doom’s ship. We then see that the pilot of the ship is Darkseid. (Damn!! Didn’t see that coming!)
We hop back to the World Forger’s headquarters. World Forger tells Batman that it is time for Batman to choose a side now. Batman says that his entire life has all built to this decision.
World Forger reveals that the truth is that in most universes, at the end, it comes down to a battle between Batman and Superman. The will to win versus faith in a happy ending. This is why Batman and Superman have 5th dimensional imps assigned to them. World Forger then tells Batman to choose now.
Batman asks if he sends the suns away quickly if it will happen fast. The World Forgers answers that it will be fast. Batman touches the computer controls and moves the suns away from Superman. Batman says that he is sorry and that there is so much he wishes he could tell Clark right now.
We cut to Superman racing toward the sun. Suddenly, the sun fades away and Superman is surrounded by complete darkness. Batman says that he has so much to say but there is not time for anything except good-bye. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #23 is another excellent read. Scott Snyder continues to be white-hot on this title. This issue is a powerful read. Snyder delivers an emotionally charged story that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them captivated until the stunning hook ending.
I continue to enjoy how detailed and intricate Snyder’s story is on Justice League. And issue #23 is no exception. Justice League #23 is delightfully complex as Snyder juggles multiple detailed plot lines. Snyder layers in so much depth and texture to the story in this issue. There is so much for the reader to delve into and get lost in with this issue.
Snyder’s world building continues to be impressive. The setting for Snyder’s epic tale is so wonderfully fleshed out. Snyder is not just delivering an entertaining super hero story. Justice League #23 continues Snyder dealing with grand cosmic themes that impact the very foundation of the DCU’s mythos. The scale of this story continues to be grand as Snyder keeps touching on as much of the DCU as possible. With each issue, Snyder continues to perform amazing continuity work on a level that we have not seen since Geoff Johns during the periods before and after Infinite Crisis.
Justice League #23 is an impressively plotted and paced issue. The story moves forward with a clear direction in mind and at a steady pace. Snyder never loses focus and the story never wavers or gets bogged down. There is plenty of quality plot progression and new content in this issue.
I love how Snyder constructs the framework of this issue. Snyder opens the issue with Superman in space then proceeds to alternate between the slower dialogue heavy scenes with Batman and World Forger and the action packed and frenetically paced scenes with the Justice Leaguers on Future Apokolips. Snyder then ends the issue with Superman is space.
Alternating between the two contrasting scenes on Future Apokolips and at the World Forger’s headquarters allows Justice League #23 to be a well-balanced issue. Each of the scenes compliment each other in their differences. Starting and ending Justice League #23 with the scenes of Superman in space gave the story an excellent symmetry and neatly tied together the various themes that Snyder was playing with in this issue.
Snyder throws several great plot twists at the reader in Justice League #23. The first plot twist is the Legion of Doom appearing on Future Apokolips to rescue the Justice Leaguers. Snyder keeps the reader off-balanced and wondering what in the world is going to happen next. I did not see this swerve coming. But, I am certainly curious to see where Snyder takes this plot twist.
The second plot twist was the reveal that Darkseid is the pilot of the Legion of Doom’s space ship. What a cool surprise. Darkseid has been operating on the fringe ever since Snyder rolled out New Justice. And we have had Darkseid over in Justice League Odyssey. I am glad that Snyder is finally weaving Darkseid into the main story here on Justice League. The fight to stop the end of the Multiverse certainly seems to be making some strange bedfellows.
Snyder ends Justice League #23 with an excellent hook ending. We all know that Superman is not going to die. Yes, it is a bit of false suspense. But, this hook ending works wonderfully because it is consistent with the rest of the story and has good internal logic. The hook ending places Superman in legitimate danger that flows naturally from the story. The ending also encourages the reader to come back for the next issue to see how Superman can possibly survive such a seemingly hopeless situation.
The hook ending packs a ton of emotion. The reader feels the anguish in Batman’s soul as he makes the heavy decision to move the suns away from Superman. This is perfectly consistent with Batman’s character. Even with a heavy heart, Batman does not deviate from he believes in the right path. Batman would certainly sacrifice his own life or the life of a fellow Justice Leaguer if it meant saving the universe.
Snyder dished up plenty of his usual excellent character work In Justice League #23. Snyder continues to impress with each and every issue how well he understands the personalities for each Justice Leaguer and their role within the franchise. The result is that Snyder is able to give the Justice League a soul. The Justice League feels like an organic being. The Justice League is unique in that the characters mesh together perfectly to form a single entity rather than simply being a roster of characters on a super team.
Snyder highlights this when he has Hawkgirl state that Wonder Woman is the Justice League’s clarity. Superman is the Justice League’s hope. Batman is the Justice League’s mind. J’onn is the Justice League’s heart. This was spot on perfect.
The best character work was reserved for Batman, Superman, and Lois Lane. These were the three main characters of Justice League #23. Snyder’s Lois Lane was well done. Snyder did a fine job explaining why Lois would engage in war and use such questionable tactics. Lois’ background of having a general as a father established the proper foundation for her approach. Then the addition of Lois having to watch multiple versions of her son Jon following Clark to his death was all the necessary motivation required to set Lois on this militaristic path. There is nothing a mother will not do to protect her child. This motivation perfectly explained why Lois would be acting in the manner that she is in this story.
Snyder’s handling of Superman’s character is also well done. I loved the short flashback scene with Clark and Jon. Superman has always been a character that I associate with old school Americana. Snyder choosing the themes of tradition and hope to define Superman ring true to me.
In particular tradition. I love how Snyder really pushes that theme with Superman in this issue. Snyder uses the theme of tradition on two levels. The first is within the context of the story in Justice League #23. Superman is the most iconic super hero. Superman is the first super hero. He is the standard-bearer in the DCU. Superman represents all of the good qualities of small town old school Americana that really do not exist anymore. Critics of Superman often cite to his character being outdated and no longer in step with modern society’s views. I love that Snyder take this criticism of Superman and leans into it and embraces. Snyder uses the theme of tradition as a positive for Superman.
The second way Snyder uses the theme of tradition is in more of a meta manner. Snyder has Superman say that traditions are what links people together through time. Superman serves that same role across generations of comic book readers. No matter when you started reading comics and no matter what period of super hero comics is your favorite Superman is a character that anchors all eras of super hero comics. Superman is a constant that binds together all generations of comic book readers.
Snyder also does a fantastic job with Batman’s character. As always, it is up to Batman to make the tough decisions. Snyder’s Batman is properly logical and pragmatic. The needs of the many always outweigh the needs of the few. Batman also views super heroes as expendable soldiers in the war to protect the innocent. Batman also believes that super heroes accept the risk of sacrificing themselves the a second they begin their careers as heroes.
Snyder properly made Batman hard as nails and being able to kill Superman to save the universe. However, I appreciate that Snyder did not make Batman heartless. The genuine pain and sadness as Batman moves the suns away from Superman made the scene so much more poignant.
Snyder also does a fine job with the themes in Justice League #23. This is a strong point of Snyder’s writing. Snyder usually places unique themes into individual issues. It is this type of attention to detail and finely crafted writing that makes Snyder one of the best in the business. The main three main themes in Justice League #23 is justice, tradition, and time. Snyder uses these themes rather effectively on several levels throughout the issue.
I also loved the fact that Snyder has the World Forger state that in any of the universes in the Multiverse that it always comes down to Batman versus Superman. I love this concept. Batman and Superman and the yin and the yang of the DCU. It is only fitting that any ending come down to Batman and Superman. I also believe that, in the end, Batman and Superman should always be on opposite sides.
Jorge Jimenez’s artwork is okay. Justice League #23 is not the best looking issue that we have gotten on this title. Jimenez does a serviceable job in conveying Snyder’s story to the reader. There are a several pages that look particularly cool. This would include when the Legion of Doom appear on Future Apokolips, the panel revealing Darkseid, and the final page of this issue.
The Bad: I have no criticisms with the writing in this issue. However, I did find the artwork to be uneven from page to page. I prefer Jimenez’s artwork more when someone else inks his pencils. I found the art to be slightly sloppy at certain points in the issue. It looked like Jimenez was rushing his way through the issue. Some panels lacked detail and made it a bit difficult to follow what was going on in the story.
Overall: Justice League #23 is another excellent read. Scott Snyder continues to deliver one gem after another with this title. This issue treats the reader to classic super hero action and adventure with the quality and depth of writing that is not found on many mainstream super hero titles. This comic continues to be well worth the price of admission.
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