We here at The Revolution have loved Scott Snyder’s Justice League. Snyder has done an incredible job with the Justice League ever since he got the keys to this franchise. Justice League #8 featured a guest writer in James Tynion, IV, and was an issue that pretty much hit the pause on Snyder’s story. Hopefully, with Snyder’s return, the story gets kicked back into high gear and we get some nice plot progression. Let’s hit this review for Justice League #9 and find out!
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Jorge Jimenez
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Superman putting the moon together. Batman is communicating with him. Batman argues for using magic and hi-tech science to make the job faster. Batman also advocates for taking this opportunity to rebuild the moon even stronger and better than before. Superman disagrees saying that the moon is perfect the way it is.
Suddenly, Superman is attacked by some Coronavores. They are scavengers who feed off of dying solar energy. Batman warns that there could be a Mega Coronavore near. That the Mega could kill Superman. Batman tells Superman that he should leave. Superman takes down the two Coronavores. Superman tells Batman to relax and that everything is fine.
Superman then tells Batman that the only thing complex going on is the medical treatment that Batman is undergoing right now on his arms and legs. We cut to the Hall of Justice medical bay. We see Mr. Terrific performing surgery on Batman using advanced hi-tech equipment.
Batman then tells Superman that something bigger is coming. That Batman can see it. That Superman needs to get out of there now.
We cut to the Hall of Justice’s main entrance. We see visitors touring the Hall of Justice. A recording of Barry Allen greets the visitors. The recording says that the Hall of Justice’s public areas will remain open to anyone and everyone. That the public areas have the most amazing displays and incredible things to see and experience. Barry’s recording then says that tourists should keep their eyes open because they never know what superhero they might run into.
We shift to the Hall of Justice’s cafeteria. We see Ferdinand cooking the food. (Ferdinand is a Minotaur who was the chef at the Themysciran Embassy.) We see a huge cast of characters including Swamp Thing, The Terrifics, Booster Gold, Ted Kord, Steel, Miss Martian, Zatanna, Vixen, and Black Canary. (And Black Canary has a present with a green arrow pinning it to her seat. I love it! Nice detail here.)
We see John Stewart sitting alone at a table with his food. Barry Allen races over to John’s table and sits down. Barry starts munching on a hamburger and asks John what he ordered. John says that he got a hamburger based on what from a place back in Detroit. Barry says that Ferdinand is amazing in his ability to reproduce any food from anywhere. (A Minotaur that cooks beef?! That is just wrong.)
Barry asks John why he is not eating. John says that his life has always been about order. From him being in the military to him being an architect. However, the Totality and the Source Wall energies have turned everything on its head. Even the emotional spectrum is odd. And John’s new power ring is a part of him and he does not even know why.
Barry replies that science is changing all around them. That they need to just ground themselves in things they know are constant. Barry races off and suddenly reappears with a burger from the burger place in Detroit. Suddenly, Batman summons the Flash and John to the teleportation room.
We shift to Wonder Woman putting into place massive Greek columns in her quarters. Aquaman shows up and helps Wonder Woman put the columns into place. Aquaman notes that Wonder Woman is the last of the Justice Leaguers to finish setting up her domain in the Hall of Justice.
Wonder Woman says that Aquaman’s domain is regal. Aquaman’s domain consists of a castle with Atlantean spires and his father’s old fishing boat. Aquaman spends most of his days in the old fishing boat.
Aquaman says that Clark has the best domain. That it is open and welcoming. Wonder Woman says that Clark’s domain is designed to let his friends see the things that made him who he is. Superman’s domain has photos of his family and is bright and clean and minimalist. (There is even a floating bed for Krypto! Yay!) Both Aquaman and Wonder Woman say that they wish they should be better at that like Superman.
Then they both say that it could be worse. They could be like Batman and his domain. We see a dark corner of the Hall of Justice with a metal door and the words “Keep out.” and a Batman signal painted on the metal doors. (Perfect.)
We then see Barry Allen’s domain. It is more like a lab. Aquaman says that Barry built his domain to test his abilities. Wonder Woman says that Barry can get home in milliseconds. Therefore, Barry needs a laboratory more than a home.
We then see John Stewart’s domain. It is an orderly and minimal military-style area. Aquaman says that John went for basic comfort. Wonder Woman says that John’s military background was the reason why John’s domain is mobile and ready to go where the fight is.
Then we see Martian Manhunter’s domain. it is a blank room. (Think the X-Men’s Danger Room.) Aquaman says that J’onn has his domain set up so it can transform into whatever setting J’onn’s visitor finds most comforting. Wonder Woman says that J’onn’s domain is an isolation chamber. A place where he attempts to recreate his home on Mars.
We see Hawkgirl’s domain. It is like a museum full of artifacts from her past lives. Wonder Woman says that this helps keep Kendra’s memories linear since she has lived so many lives.
Wonder Woman says that Aquaman seems overly troubled by all of this. Diana asks if something is troubling Arthur. Aquaman replies that he never felt at home ruling Atlantis. That with Mera on the throne, he thought he would find his purpose with the League. However, he fears that he has become adrift and is not ready for what is coming. Perhaps that is why a sunken boat is where he spends all of his time.
Wonder Woman replies that she built her domain because her home is her faith. Not in Gods but in each other. Diana says that Aquaman’s faith is in the tides. Its ability to bring them to new shores and new revelations. That Arthur is a mariner and the boat is the right home for him. Suddenly, Batman summons Wonder Woman and Aquaman to the teleportation room.
We cut to Martian Manhunter sparring with Hawkgirl. They are testing Hawkgirl’s wings to see if they are fully healed. During the sparring, Hawkgirl loses her temper and yells if J’onn knew about her connection with the Totality. J’onn replies that he had no prior knowledge of it at all.
J’onn says that for the first time, he is guided by what he does not know instead of what he does know. J’onn says that it is terrifying. J’onn asks Hawkgirl to come to Thanagar Prime with him and that they will find answers together. Suddenly, Batman summons Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl to the teleportation room.
We cut back to Superman putting the final pieces of the moon back together. Batman warns Superman that the Mega is headed right toward Superman. We see a Mega flying toward Superman. Batman says that the Mega is a bull parasite that drains solar energy and that it will kill Superman.
Superman replies that he can sense the Mega coming, but that he is not stopping the moon’s preparation. We cut to Batman putting on his battle armor. Batman says that Superman has lost his mind and that the Leaguers are coming to help. Superman replies that no one is coming here. Superman tells Batman to call off the Mega. Batman asks Superman what the hell he is talking about. Superman replies that he knows it was Bruce. That Batman called the Coronavores.
Superman says that the Source Wall is broken and the Multiverse is dying and they are at war with their greatest enemies. Superman says that Batman is saying that they have to change. Batman replies that they do need to change. Superman says that the Coronavores have no real power. That the signal Batman called them with can nullify their powers.
Superman then asks Batman why he does not use magic to heal himself. Ever. Superman says that Batman never does because he is a man. Flesh and blood. Because of that when the world sees Batman, they see something more.
We see the rest of the Leaguers joining Batman in the teleportation room. They ask Batman what is wrong. Superman says, “I’m fine. Aren’t I, Bruce? Aren’t I, old friend?” We see the Mega right behind Superman and about to attack him.
Batman stands there for a minute and then pushes a button. Suddenly, the Mega turns around and flies away. (Batman is easily the worst friend ever.) Superman says that everything is changing and that they are all scared. But they do not change who they are at their core. Superman says that Batman is a man. The Hall of Justice is open. The moon is, well, look up.
All of the Leaguers but Batman look up and are amazed. Batman responds, “No, dammit!” Batman says that the moon is a rock, but with defenses, it could be more. Superman says that the moon is not just a rock. Batman replies that of course, it is. Superman says that it is not. Superman tells Batman to look. Batman replies that it is just the moon. But, a bat-moon would be better.
Superman tells Batman to look. Batman responds “I’m looking. It’s just the dam…wow.” We see the moon complete and shining brightly in the sky. Superman asks Batman. “What was that?” Batman replies that it was nothing and for Superman to report back to the Hall. That the team is gathered. Superman replies, “On my way, Batman. On my way.” End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #9 is a character-driven story. Snyder continues to pause the story with this issue and focus on the personalities of the various Justice Leaguers. There are a few weak spots in the story, but, for the most part, this is a well-crafted read.
I love that Snyder spends a large part of this issue focusing on our heroes and their home: The Hall of Justice. I am a long-time Legion of Super-Heroes fan. I always found the issues that focused on the team hanging out in the Legion of Super-Heroes HQ were some of the best issues. For the Legion of Super Heroes, their HQ was not just a base. Their HQ was their home. The Legion’s HQ was almost as much of a character as any other member of the team.
Snyder is able to recreate that feeling with the Hall of Justice and the Leaguers. The Hall of Justice has become its own character that is every bit as important as the other members of the Justice League. Snyder has also recreated that feeling that the Hall of Justice is not just a headquarters. The Hall of Justice is home to the Leaguers. Snyder captures that essence perfectly in Justice League #9.
Snyder builds off the approach that the Hall of Justice is its own character by showing the reader how it is an iconic beacon of hope for the entire world. Making the Hall of Justice open to the public and having elaborate display areas like a Disney World attraction helps to cement the Hall’s importance. This helps to make the Hall of Justice its own unique character that provides the Justice League with a unique and inspirational face.
The cafeteria scene and the scenes of the various Leaguers’ domains all help to drive Snyder’s second point about how the Hall of Justice is not just a headquarters but a home. Let’s start with the cafeteria scene. This was a short scene, but it was pure brilliance. Snyder manages to pull off so much character work and theming in an incredibly short amount of space. I adored this scene.
The cafeteria scene also vividly reminded me of the scenes in the Legion of Super-Heroes when the team would be hanging out in their HQ. I loved the little details like a present left by Green Arrow on Black Canary’s chair. And Black Canary’s joyous reaction? Perfect. I loved seeing the large cast of characters all hanging out with each other. I definitely enjoyed the logical use of an obscure character like Ferdinand to serve as the Hall’s chef. What a fantastic move by Snyder. I love that Snyder went out of his way to find a character that would work in that role rather than just giving the Hall a generic chef. Or not even addressing it at all.
I loved the Leaguers’ different domains in the Hall of Justice. This was another excellent Silver Age touch to the story. The different domains served as effective physical manifestations within the Hall of the various Leaguers’ personalities. The domains effectively infuse the Hall with the personalities of the various Leaguers thereby making the Hall more than just a mere headquarters.
The different domains were all well done and perfectly matched each Leaguer. They were all logical and effectively communicated the core character traits of each Leaguer. My favorite? Batman’s domain. I love that Snyder does not even allow the reader to see behind the door into Batman’s domain.
Superman’s domain was my second favorite. I loved that Snyder added a bed for Krypto. That was a great touch. You just cannot have Superman without Krypto.
The way that Snyder uses the Hall of Justice and the cafeteria scene leads me to another overarching theme of Snyder’s Justice League that I adore. Snyder has been able to take classic Silver Age trappings and themes and give them a modern twist. It is absolutely wonderful. Few comics will make me smile like a Silver Age DC comic book. The innocence, the unbridled imagination, and the wild zaniness make DC’s Silver Age stories such a delight to read.
Snyder is able to capture that Silver Age vibe but then mix it with modern writing that makes it appealing to a present-day reader. And it is not just limited to how Snyder uses the Hall of Justice, the domains, and the cafeteria scene. The very spine for this issue is as crazy Silver Age as you can get! Superman literally putting the moon back together again! I loved it. Everything from start to finish in this issue is infused with that Silver Age magic.
Snyder pulls off some wonderful character work in this issue. To be sure, the strong character work is the shining strength of Justice League #9. Snyder has an excellent command over all of the Leaguers’ characters. I enjoy how Snyder writes each Leaguer and how he is able to give each one their own unique personality and external voice.
I also dig that Snyder makes Batman a dick. This is exactly how I like my Batman. I love that Batman is willing to fabricate a threat and place Superman in mortal danger just to advance his own plan for the moon. Batman always believes that his plan is the best plan. Batman is also a character that is willing to do just about anything to achieve his goals. Batman is also a character that has been known to lack trust in the heroes around him. Snyder plays off all of these classic Batman personality traits and delivers a Batman that is always entertaining.
The best writing in this issue is the final scene when Superman reveals to Batman that he knows that Batman is behind the Coronavores’ attack. Superman’s dialogue in this scene perfectly crystallizes what makes Batman so unique and special. Batman has always been the ultimate man. Batman has always symbolized the strengths of mankind in man’s eternal combat with God and/or gods as well as nature. Snyder captures that view of Batman in a concise but highly effective manner.
Jorge Jimenez delivers some quality artwork in Justice League #9. This is a good-looking issue. There is very little action in Justice League #9. Luckily, Jimenez is quite adept at drawing dialogue-heavy scenes. Jimenez does an impressive job drawing the characters’ facial expressions. It is fantastic and helps to breathe life into Snyder’s story. The excellent facial expressions also help to pull the reader deeper into this character drive story and to get the reader to feel the emotions of the characters.
The Bad: We already hit the pause button with Justice League #8. Here we are with a second issue where no plot lines are advanced at all. I definitely do not mind an issue that pauses plotlines and takes some time to focus on the smaller character-driven moments of the story. I do enjoy it when a writer takes a moment to examine the personalities of the various characters and how they are reacting to a large plot line.
However, back-to-back issues with zero plot progression feel like far too much stalling. I would have preferred that Snyder not roll out an issue like Justice League #9 directly after an issue with a guest writer that had also paused the story. Justice League #8 and Justice League #9 have combined into a one-two punch of decompression that has brought what was a wildly entertaining story arc to a grinding halt.
To be clear, despite my enjoyment of this issue, the fact is that Justice League #9 offers up zero plot progression at all. I mean nothing even remotely resembling plot progression. The reader ends Justice League #9 in the exactly same spot as they were at the end of Justice League #8. Nothing new at all happens in this issue.
Along with the slow pacing and lack of plot progression, Justice League #9 also offers up practically zero action. Fans who like a fair amount of action in their superhero comics may be disappointed with this issue.
I have zero problems with how Snyder wrote Batman in this issue. I have already stated above in this review how much I loved it. Batman is a dick. Batman does not play well with others. Batman does not truly trust anyone. Batman believes he always knows best. That is exactly how I like my Batman.
My problem with Justice League #9 is not with how Snyder writes Batman. It is how Snyder writes the other Leaguers’ reaction to Batman. I am fine with Batman engaging in surreptitious activity that clearly puts Superman in the path of mortal danger. I am also fine with Batman creating a faux threat in order to have the pretext to advance his personal plan of re-creating the moon as a weapon. What does not work is the other Leaguers’ reaction to Batman’s action in this issue.
The fact that Superman is completely zen over Batman putting him in mortal danger and attempting to engage in subterfuge in order to get his plan for a bat-moon put into place just did not work for me. Superman should have been far angrier with Batman over what Bruce did in this issue. Superman should have been mad at being placed in mortal danger. Superman should have been angry with Bruce for engaging in deception to get his plan for the moon approved.
Instead? Superman just smiles at the entire thing. There are several problems with this approach. First, it lacks internal logic. It just makes no sense for Superman to react in such a kindly manner. Second, It robs the reader of the conflict between two characters in Superman and Batman who produce the most compelling stories when they are more like frenemies than friends. Third, it robs Batman of his dickish personality and the heat that he is supposed to generate with the characters around him.
There were several possibilities for Superman’s reaction. Snyder could have had Superman reacting with anger and disgust. Snyder could have also taken the route of having Superman react hurtfully and with sadness. Either route, Snyder would then have something to play with while progressing the main story of this title dealing with the Totality and the Source Wall energy.
Snyder has made a point that the heroes must have faith and trust in each other. James Tynion, IV went out of his way in Justice League #8 to talk about the concept of trust. Snyder could have used what Batman did in Justice League #9 to sow seeds of doubt in Superman’s mind over whether he can fully trust Batman. This would have played nicely into the main story that Snyder and Tynion have been telling on this title.
Having the other Leaguers react negatively to what Batman did in this issue would have furthered the concept of trust that has already been introduced into this story. Having the other Leaguers being disappointed and a bit distrusting of Batman would create a bit of spiciness in an otherwise too universally collegial relationship between all of our heroes.
I much prefer when a writer has a character act like a jerk and then completely own the situation rather than glossing over it. Snyder never owns what Batman did in this issue and, instead, glosses over it with a laugh, and then moves on.
Hawkgirl continues to be the only character on this title that is a complete miss with me. I find Hawkgirl to be bland yet still annoying. That is a terrible combination. There are so many far superior female characters who are more deserving of Hawkgirl’s spot on this roster.
Overall: Justice League #9 was a fun read. Yes, there is no plot progression. Yes, Snyder’s once white-hot story is beginning to cool off and stall out a bit. Yes, there is not much action in this issue at all. Having said that, if you love character-driven issues then Justice League #9 is absolutely for you. This is a delightful read that helps to flesh out in further detail the world that is Snyder’s Justice League.
On the other hand, readers who like action? You might want to pass on this issue. In addition, readers who prefer lots of plot progression might want to pass on Justice League #9, too. The fact is that the reader can easily skip Justice League #9 and pick up Justice League #10 and absolutely not miss anything at all. Seriously. This issue is that skippable.