Justice League continues to be one of DC’s most enjoyable titles. Scott Snyder is dishing out some of the most entertaining superhero stories currently being published. This title is everything that is great about the superhero genre. I am sure that Justice League #36 is going to be another enjoyable read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Frances Manapul and Howard Porter
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in front of the altar in the Hall of Justice. They talk about how everything looks hopeless and that they need to rethink this together. Wonder Woman tells Batman and Superman to place their hands on the altar with her. Batman asks which god are they praying to. Wonder Woman says that they are praying to something else altogether.
We hop back to The Godhead. Lex is congratulating Brainiac, Sinestro, Grodd, and Cheetah for a hard-won victory. The Legion of Doom members start talking about what kind of incredible rewards they want from Perpetua in return for their services.
Perpetua then transforms Brainiac into a massive throne with three glass chambers below the throne’s seat. Mechanical arms then grab Sinestro, Grodd, and Cheetah. The villains curse Lex for betraying them. The mechanical arms pull the three villains into the three separate glass chambers. The chambers shut and lock and the three villains fall into comas.
Lex freaks out and asks Perpetua why is she doing this. Lex suddenly feels a massive amount of power pumping through him. Perpetua says that Lex is feeling the surge of the power from all seven forces running from Brainiac, Grodd, Sinestro, and Cheetah into Lex. Perpetua says that the throne is for Lex since Lex is her favorite son.
We hop back to the Hall of Justice. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are addressing the assembled heroes from across the Multiverse. Superman says that he always defeated Lex in the past because Lex only ever believed in himself. That Superman has always believed in the goodness of people and not by believing in himself. However, the Justice League has been fighting against Lex as if he was the old Lex. Now, Lex has faith. Faith in the evil in people. Superman says that the Justice League did not fight Lex by enlisting all of the heroes in the Multiverse and then believing in them. Instead, the Justice League tried to hide the truth from everyone. They tried to hide the threat from everyone.
Batman says that they cannot defeat Lex. But, maybe that is not the point. That the heroes just have to show the Earth that the heroes believe that they can win. That they must go down swinging. Miss Martian says that she is not as strong as Martian Manhunter and cannot connect the heroes with the entire Earth. Jarro says that he is still growing and is not strong enough to connect them with the entire Earth, either.
Batman says that they need Hawkgirl and Shayne back. That Shayne is from the 6th Dimension and is powerful enough to connect them with the entire Earth. Green Arrow asks if the Justice League has anything in the Hall of Justice that can get to the Promethean Galaxy quickly in order to get Shayne.
We cut to Kendra and Shayne in a space ship. Suddenly, they are attacked by the Anti-Monitor. The Anti-Monitor grabs Kendra and says that he is going to crush her to death. (Oh, stop teasing me!)
We hop back to the Hall of Justice. John Stewart gets into Barry Allen’s Flashmobile and then takes off to go get Shayne and Kendra.
We then see the Hall of Doom appearing outside of the Hall of Justice. The Hall of Doom is flying in the air with a massive Martian/Human hybrid army marching underneath it. Lex tells the Justice League to kneel before Doom. That there is no need to delay their inevitable deaths.
Our assembled heroes from across the Multiverse rush out of the Hall of Justice and engage Lex’s army in battle. Batman is in the control room of the Hall of Justice. Batman tells Lex that Batman has one more surprise for Lex. Batman says he installed a final measure in the Hall of Justice just for a bleak time like this. Jarro corrects Batman and says, “A final AWESOME measure.” Batman replies, “Okay. A final awesome measure.” (Jarro.Is.The. Best. I just love the dynamic between Jarro and Batman!)
We then see the Hall of Justice come out of the ground and take flight. Batman says that it is time to finish this. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #36 was another fun read. Scott Snyder keeps rolling out entertaining issues of Justice League each and every month. I love that Snyder embraces the fantastic elements that only the superhero genre can deliver. Snyder is unabashed in his love for the superhero genre and continues to deliver stories focused on action and entertainment.
Justice League #36 is well-plotted and paced. Yes, Justice League #36 does pump the brakes slightly as Snyder moves the various chess pieces around the board in time for the climactic battle between the heroes of the Multiverse and Lex’s army. I have no problems with this. The scope and scale of the Justice versus Doom saga is massive. And Snyder is juggling a gigantic cast of characters as well as numerous highly detailed plot-lines. It is a lot to handle! Slowing down the plot progression and pacing a bit to slide various pieces into place is smart writing. Plus, this helps to build even more excitement and tension in the reader for the upcoming battle between our heroes and Lex’s army.
Even though Justice League #36 is a plot-driven issue, Snyder still takes the time to deliver some quality dialogue and character work. All of the characters have well developed and unique external voices. The main characters all have their own well definite personalities. Snyder continues to impress with his handling of the different personalities of the Justice Leaguers and their unique roles in this title.
Snyder kicks off Justice League #36 with a quiet three-page scene between Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. This is the least exciting scene in the entire issue. However, I appreciate that Snyder purposely opens with the spotlight on the Big Three. This scene achieves its purpose of highlighting how the Big Three serve as the heart, soul, and mind of Justice for our assembled heroes. Wonder Woman being the heart. Superman being the soul. Batman being the mind.
Next is a seven-page scene at The Godhead. This scene is the highlight of Justice League #36 and easily my favorite scene in this issue. Snyder delivers a huge swerve that the reader did not see coming. Perpetua turning on Brainiac, Sinestro, Grodd, and Cheetah is a brilliant moment. It highlights how Perpetua sees those around her as mere fodder for her desires. This scene also does a great job emphasizing how much Perpetua does care for her “son” Lex.
Snyder did a fine job with Lex’s character in this scene. I like that Lex is initially horrified by what Perpetua does to his teammates. This shows how even Lex Luthor can respect his peers and appreciate their service to his cause. This is important in order to prevent Lex from seeming too one-dimensional or cartoonish. However, once Lex is imbued with all of his teammates’ powers Snyder smartly has Lex quickly move past his disapproval of Perpetua’s actions. Lex greedily appreciates his newfound power and no longer has any qualms about the betrayal of his teammates. This is also consistent with Lex’s personality. In the end, power trumps everything else when it comes to Lex. This move also builds up Lex into a seemingly unstoppable foe.
I loved Snyder’s creative decision to have Perpetua transform Brainiac into a massive throne and then have the other three members of the Legion of Doom trapped in comatose states inside of the throne. This is some insane superhero comic book stuff! This is why I love the superhero genre. The writer is only limited by their imagination. Here, Snyder whips up some Silver Age style insanity and incorporates it into a modern story for current-day readers. It is just fantastic.
We then get a three-page scene in the Hall of Justice. This is a classic rally the troops scene. Snyder does a great job taking the origin of the Justice versus Doom saga and building on it with this scene. The very beginning of Snyder’s run on Justice League was constructed around the Justice Leaguers keeping the crack in the source wall a secret. They also kept the mystery of the Totality a secret. In this scene, Snyder has the Big Three admit to their mistakes. The Big Three admit that it was their lack of faith and belief in the heroes around them that led them to keep this information a secret.
Faith has been a central theme during Snyder’s run on Justice League. That central theme continues with this scene. I like that all that matters is faith. That it is faith that led Lex to achieve the impossible. And it is faith that will save the day for the heroes. It is an interesting twist that the heroes’ goal is simply to inspire faith in the Earth’s population rather than actually being able to defeat Lex in a fight. Having our heroes agree to go fight the impossible fight and to go down swinging in order to inspire the Earth to switch from Doom to Justice is a classic selfless and admirable act by our heroes.
Next is the two-page scene of Anti-Monitor attacking Shayne and Kendra. This scene is the least interesting scene for me. This scene presents the reader with false suspense since we know that neither Kendra nor Shayne are going to die. We know that John Stewart will arrive in the nick of time.
Snyder then gives the reader a one-page scene of John racing off in the Flashmobile. This was a nice light moment in an otherwise grim issue. This short scene provided some necessary comedic relief. Plus, the Flashmobile is cool and it is always great to see it in action.
Snyder ends Justice League #36 with a four-page scene of Lex’s army squaring off against the heroes of the Multiverse. This scene delivered the coolest moment of the issue when the Hall of Justice transformed into a ship and took flight. This is the kind of insanely fun Silver Age superhero craziness that Snyder has consistently brought to Justice League during his run. This was a fun scene that delivered a great hook ending.
Frances Manapul and Howard Porter combine to deliver plenty of solid artwork in Justice League #36. Manapul and Porter do a great job with the facial expressions of the various characters. This really helps to inject plenty of emotion into Snyder’s story. I especially enjoyed the creative panel layouts throughout this issue. And action lines! We got plenty of action lines. That is always appreciated.
The Bad: I have no complaints with Justice League #36. Having said that, some readers may find that Justice League #36 does not offer enough plot progression. That other than Lex and Perpetua betraying the other members of the Legion of Doom that nothing really happens in this issue. That is a fair criticism. I simply found all of the excitement and tension of the build-up to the climactic battle between the heroes of the Multiverse and Lex’s army to be enough to make up for lots of plot progression.
Overall: Justice League #36 is a blast to read. Scott Snyder continues to make each issue of the Justice League all about fun. If you love the superhero genre and larger than life concepts then you must hop aboard Justice League. There are few titles that embrace the insanity and full potential of the superhero genre like Justice League.
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