Justice League is always my most anticipated title to read from either DC or Marvel comics. Justice League #25 should be a fun read as we are set to get the climactic ending to this 6th Dimension story arc. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!
Plot: Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Jorge Jimenez
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Words: James Tynion, IV
Art: Javier Fernandez
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene with Pa Kent teaching young Clark to make fire by using two sticks. Clark gets frustrated and says this is dumb and just wants to use either his powers or modern means to start the fire. Pa Kent tells Clark to imagine they are cavemen and then imagine they are everyone in between then and now. Pa Kent tells Clark to try again.
We cut to Clark as an adult standing in the rain staring at the night sky and holding the broken lantern that he and Jon did not get lit for the ceremony. Clark wonders why does he have these dark thoughts.
We cut to Superman in pure black space. Superman’s body is becoming emaciated due to the lack of any suns. Superman says that he remembers these thoughts to help him find his way back from this place where he is now trapped. Superman sees Batman enclosing him in darkness. Superman sees Lois cradling their dead son, Jon. Superman sees himself as the cause of the death of everything. All because he would not change and continued to cling to old ideals. Superman thinks he has been a fool rubbing sticks together in the darkness.
Superman then shakes off his negativity and says that what he sees is not real. Superman says that he must go forward. The narrator says that the 6th Dimension is the final realms. It is a place where everything falls away except the truths people were not meant to see.
We cut to Earth and see 6th Dimension Justice League fighting our Justice League. Batman asks the World Forger for one chance to persuade his teammates to join him. The World Forger just wants Batman to destroy his Justice League teammates and says that all of it is a waste of time. However, the World Forger gives Batman just one chance to persuade his teammates to join them.
Batman fights with his teammates while at the same time begging them to listen to him. Batman says that he is a detective and the biggest skeptic. Batman says that he knows what the World Forger says in the truth. Batman tells his teammates to look past themselves. Batman says that he needs his teammates to see it now. Batman yells, “That’s right. See it!. The way forward!” We then see the Crisis Anvil fully formed in front of the World Forger. We then see Batman yelling, “See it! See the light! Now!”
We cut to Superman in the pure black darkness. Superman feels his body giving out. Suddenly, Superman sees lights ahead of him. Superman sees the lights as lanterns. Superman sees the end of his memory as a child trying to make fire. That Clark never was able to make the fire. That Clark and Pa Kent stood with their neighbors who had all lit their lanterns. Clark was not sad. Clark was happy because even though he had not managed to make a flame, he was part of it. Something bigger.
We cut back to Batman saying that he is trying to help his teammates to see what is right in front of them. Batman then whispers, “Please Clark…see.”
We hop back to Superman. Superman sees the night in the rain with Jon when they did not get their lantern lit. We see the members of the Justice League (minus Batman) arriving with lanterns lit.
Superman then realizes that the lights ahead of him are actually multiple suns. Superman’s body begins to fill with power and return to normal. Superman says, “Bruce.” Superman then flies through the heart of each of the suns. Superman gets even more powerful after flying through each sun. Every cell in Superman’s body glows. Superman is a million lanterns. Superman moves faster than ever before after absorbing the energy of the multiple suns.
We cut to Batman kicking ass on the Justice League. Batman says, “That’s right! See it! The way forward!” We see the World Forger about to hit the Crisis Anvil with his hammer. The World Forger notes something heading toward them from the Dark Sector. World Forger contacts Lois Lane and tells her to fire all the Omega cannons at the incoming object. Lois sees that the object is Superman. She begins to cry and says that she is sorry.
Superman streaks toward Earth. Superman sees his Justice League teammates and thinks that he used to view himself as a man of contacts. A fixed point. Almost one-dimensional. However, Superman is more than that. Ma and Pa Kent taught him ethics which set him on a line aimed at the world. Lois taught him depth which made him see things from all angles. Superman learned from Batman and Wonder Woman other things. Superman learned from Jon to imagine a better Superman and a better world.
Superman realizes that the memories he had been seeing were to remind him of a single truth. Something Batman has shown Superman. That alone they are a fixed point. A single line of life. But, together, they are the present, the past, and the future. Together they are more than they can imagine.
We see Superman streaking toward the World Forger. We see Pa Kent and Jon flying alongside Superman. We see the World Forger about to strike the Crisis Anvil with his hammer. The World Forger looks up and sees Superman’s fist. Superman punches the World Forger so hard that it creates a massive crater beneath them.
World Forger says that the Justice Leaguers have doomed the Multiverse. That Perpetua will now win. The World Forger is shocked that Batman would betray him. Batman says that he does believe that the World Forger is correct. That it was likely their own chance of winning. However, Batman said he moved the suns into a fast orbit knowing that Clark could die and believing they would have a better chance if Clark did die. Batman continues that he also knew that if Superman pushed through to the suns then he would live. Batman gave Superman a chance to prove him wrong. Batman says that Superman is his friend and he makes Batman believe in things that he cannot on his own. Superman then says your welcome and then thanks to Batman. (For…trying to kill you?!)
Batman says that when he reviewed the World Forger’s calculations that there was one option that the World Forger never explored: the World Forger fighting with the Justice League. World Forger says that his cells prohibit him from interfering. Batman says that the World Forger can create worlds. Batman tells the World Forger to remake his cells so he can help fight with them. World Forger then agrees to join the Justice League and fight with them. Superman then welcomes the World Forger to the Justice League. End of main story.
We cut to the Justice League and the World Forger teleporting outside of the Hall of Justice. They enter the Hall of Justice and are greeted by Mera, Starman, and Jarro. Mera tells the Leaguers that they have been gone for a week. Mera says that Mxy and Bat-Mite fought and Bat-Mite won. That the Legion of Doom helped Bat-Mite during the fight and that the Earth was saved.
Mera then plays a message from Lex that was broadcast around the world. In the message, Lex says that the heroes caused a break in the Source Wall that threatens the entire Multiverse. That the heroes caused this and never came forward and told the public about this fact. Lex says that this is the path that the heroes have lead them to. Lex says that they call them villains because they cling to the true emotions within themselves. Lex says that the universe is dying and that they must save themselves at any cost. Lex says that they all must be villains.
Lex then says that he is dissolving LexCorp and all of his fortune will be given away. All of his technology will be given away to the people who will show them the way to save themselves. Lex says that everyone will have to choose the path of Justice or Doom. Lex urges everyone to reject the Justice League and save themselves. Lex says that the way to save the Earth is to make this the year of the villain.
Mera then tells the Justice League that Lex broadcast this message across the entire Earth. That this caused riots due to people lashing out in fear. Mera then fills in the Justice Leaguers on all the events of DC’s Year of the Villain #1.
Batman says that they need to be proactive. World Forger says that this is exactly what Perpetua needed to transform the Multiverse into her original vision. World Forger says that they need to find his brothers the Monitor and Anti-Monitor. That they defeated Perpetua once before.
Starman disagrees and says that they need to solve the mystery of the power inside of him. Starman says that if he could send a message through the Multiverse then the Multiverse might give them an army to fight back.
Wonder Woman disagrees and says that they need to expand the Justice League even bigger than before and call upon all the heroes of Earth to join their cause.
J’onn says that they actually need to all of it. What World Forger, Starman, and Wonder Woman suggest and even more.
We cut to the Hall of Doom. We see Lex Luthor climbing out of a chamber. Brainiac says that the plan worked to rebirth Lex. Lex orders for the drones with his gifts of tech and money be sent off to the various villains of the Earth. We see that Lex’s new body appears to be a human/martian hybrid. End of back-up story.
The Good: Justice League #25 was another well-crafted read. Scott Snyder and James Tynion, IV are in a groove and show no signs of slowing down. I enjoyed both stories in this issue. Tynion did a great job with the back-up story and setting the table for the upcoming Year of the Villain event. However, Snyder’s main story was simply on a different level altogether.
Snyder continues to weave an incredibly emotional and powerful story. What is so enjoyable is Snyder’s use of themes and imagery. Snyder approaches writing a comic book the same way he does writing a novel. Few writers play with themes and imagery in the same manner that Snyder has in the pages of Justice League. The result is that Justice League #25 is a beautiful read. The narration flows like poetry and captivates the reader’s attention.
Snyder has been employing the theme of light and darkness during the entire 6th Dimension story arc. However, these themes come to a crescendo with Justice League #25. I was wondering what in the world was the point of Snyder constantly focusing on the lanterns in the flashback scenes in the prior issues off this story arc. That made the reveal that the lanterns were a symbol of hope and inspiration in the same way that the suns are a symbol of Superman’s never-ending resolve and source of power. The moment that the lanterns transformed into the suns was a brilliant and powerful moment. This was an emotional crescendo that hits the reader squarely in the chest. I loved that the light is not just the source of Superman’s powers but also the source of Superman’s positivity and never-ending hope.
Snyder’s use of the flashback scenes with the lanterns was skillfully unfolded in Justice League #25. Snyder had done an excellent job making these flashback scenes come across as moments of sadness, weakness, and self-doubt that Superman tried to push down and ignore. The reader completely brought into this narrative. Snyder’s impressive flipping of the narrative by revealing that the flashback scenes with the lantern were actually positive and happy memories were incredible. Seeing these scenes transform into Superman’s inspiration designed to guide him to victory was fantastic. This reveal evoked genuine emotion in the reader.
Snyder also does an excellent job building his themes of the various dimensions. Justice League #21 discussed the themes of the 3rd dimension. Justice League #23 discusses the themes of the 4th Dimension. Justice League #24 discusses the themes of the 5th Dimension. Now, in Justice League #25, Snyder ties it all together by discussing the themes of the 6th Dimension.
Snyder has been revealing what each dimension stands for and how each subsequent dimension adds a new layer of perspective on the universe. The 3rd dimension was defined by the concept of complex shapes. The 4th dimension was defined by the concept of time. The 5th Dimension was defined by the concept of imagination. The 6th Dimension is defined as being outside of imagination and understanding and that it is the unyielding truth that we were never meant to see.
In prior issues, the reader believes that Snyder is explaining the different dimensions in order to flesh out the Multiverse in general. However, with Justice League #25, Snyder uses the descriptions for each dimension and applies them to Superman’s character in order to explain how Superman has evolved into the man he is today.
The viewpoint evolves from a single one-dimensional line into angles and then into different time periods and then into the endless possibilities of imagination. Superman credits different people in his life for the growth he has experienced as he has aged. His parents set him on his path as a boy. Then, as Clark becomes a man and gets married we see him evolve thanks to Lois adding the characteristics of the 3rd Dimension to his personality. As Clark becomes a married man he begins to value the past more and certain traditions like the Lantern lighting ceremony. This adds the characteristics of the 4th Dimension to his personality. Then, Clark becomes a parent and his son, Jon, adds the characteristics of The 5th Dimension to his personality.
Snyder then shows us in Justice League #25, how Clark has the characteristics of the 6th Dimension added to his personality. While the other characteristics are brought on by external forces, the 6th Dimension characteristics are brought on be an individualistic internal journey. This last stage can only be taken by Clark in isolation from all of reality. This reflects the fact that while a man can grow and evolve thanks to his parents, his wife, his children, and his friends, that in the end, a man’s final state of bring rests squarely upon his own shoulders. That a man can take all that he has been given by those around him and then must look inside of himself and use what he has learned to come to grips with his own internal truths in order to be a man of strong moral convictions. This spiritual journey that Clark has been on during this story arc hits an intense crescendo in Justice League #25. It is so satisfying and enjoyable to see Clark emerge even stronger and more confident in his convictions than ever before.
Snyder’s main story is well plotted and paced. The story moves forward with a clear purpose. The scenes with Superman are tense, yet quiet and full of internal conflict which contrasts pleasantly with the more intense and action-packed scene with Batman and the Justice League. The main story is impressively constructed with the narration serving as the spine of the main story. Snyder employs excellent scene transitions as the main story builds logically on each scene toward the powerful climax.
Snyder also does an excellent job with the narration, dialogue, and character work in the main story. The narration is wonderfully written and offers the most emotional impact on the reader. The dialogue all has a nice flow. Each character has a well defined external voice. The chemistry between the various Justice Leaguers continues to be impressive.
Batman and Superman are the stars of the show in Justice League #25. Snyder has an excellent understanding of both characters. Snyder makes sure Batman is still a bit of a jerk even when he is professing faith in his friends. Snyder’s Superman is wonderful. I have never been a big fan of Superman. But, Snyder does Superman justice in this issue. I love that Snyder reaffirms Superman’s core ideals and beliefs even if they are considered by some to be old fashioned. Snyder understands exactly what makes Superman’s character so special.
Tynion’s back-up story is also well plotted and paced. Tynion is tasked with writing a bridge story that transitions from the conclusion of the 6th Dimension story arc and into the Year of the Villain event. Tynion handles the task with aplomb. The Year of the Villain event flows naturally and logically from the current Justice versus Doom story that we have been getting in Justice League. Tynion succeeds in getting the reader excited for the upcoming Year of the Villain event.
Tynion continues to do a good job with the theme of Justice versus Doom. Lex’s pitch to the world to join the path of Doom rather than the road to Justice was brilliant. Tynion does an excellent job giving Lex’s position the weight and purpose that it deserves. This gives conviction to the villains’ actions. Lex and the Legion of Doom have a justification for their actions and why they see themselves as the ones on the right and proper path. A story is always far more compelling when the villains make a justifiable case for their actions.
Tynion ends Justice League #25 with a fantastic hook ending with Lex reborn in what appears to be a human/martian hybrid body. I cannot wait to see what Snyder and Tynion have in store for Lex as we move forward. The idea of Lex having the powers of a human/martian hybrid will definitely make him an even more dangerous foe than ever before. This is going to be fantastic.
Justice League #25 does not offer much in the way of action. The main story is character driven and the back-up story is designed to lay a strong foundation for the upcoming story arc involving Year of the Villains. So, we only get one page of action. But, the massive Superman punch that creates a huge crater around the World Forger is a pretty bad-ass moment.
The Bad: As much as I loved how Snyder wrote both Batman and Superman in Justice League #25, I found the resolution to Batman’s attempt at killing Superman to be rather weak. Batman explains that he thought World Forger’s path was their best chance at success. However, Batman decided to place the multiple suns just outside of Superman’s reach where it could kill him, but also close enough that if Superman was true to his convictions that he would survive. And since Superman managed to survive that meant to Batman that Superman’s convictions were correct. ON top of all of this, Superman is totally cool with Batman’s plan and even thanks Bruce. This makes no sense on several levels.
First, what kind of Batman completely admits to putting into place a plan that absolutely could kill Superman. That is some dark shit right there. And to make it even worse, Superman actually thanks Batman for putting into place a plan that could have killed Superman. This is ridiculous. It only serves to make Superman look like an idiot and a chump. I don’t know about Superman, but if a friend of mine did something that they knew could kill me but hoped I would survive I would be extremely pissed at that said “friend.”
Second, just because Superman is strong enough mentally and physically to survive Batman’s plan has literally nothing to do with the question if World Forger’s plan is the only successful option out there. There is no correlation between Superman being able to survive and, therefore, the World Forger’s plan is incorrect.
Overall: Justice League #25 is another excellent read. Snyder and Tynion conclude the 6th Dimension story arc and then nicely set the table for Year of the Villain. I am looking forward to Justice League in the oncoming months as this title is certainly going to become a “big event” title. This is a great time to hop aboard Justice League if you still have not given this title a try.
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