Justice League: Last Ride started out strong with its first issue establishing a world where the team is no more after a major crises led them to break up. After years apart, partially thanks to the animosity between Batman and Superman, the Justice League have been brought back together in order to protect Lobo long enough for him to stand trial for all his crimes. While the Justice League have come back together to go along with the remaining Green Lantern Corps plan can they put their differences aside to get things done? Let’s find out with Justice League: Last Ride #2.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Miguel Mendonca
Colorist: Enrica Eren Angiolini
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: Years ago Wonder Woman leads the Amazons against Darkseid’s army. Granny Goodness is able to stab Wonder Woman on her side. Wonder Woman quickly counters and beheads Granny Goodness.
Wonder Woman then contacts Cyborg to tell him to evacuate Earth.
Cyborg and Nightwing lead heroes to try to evacuate cities but there are too many people to get it done before Darkseid transports his bombs through the Boom Tube Portals.
Elsewhere, underwater, Aquaman is speeding to save as many people as possible. Before he can do so a Boom Tube Portal appears and a bomb drops in. As soon as the bomb goes off everyone loses communication with Aquaman.
On Apokolips, Batman and Martian Manhunter are in Darkseid’s control center so they can work with Cyborg to decode the system and stop the Boom Tube Portals. Cyborg says it’ll take time because of how complex Apokolips system is.
Martian Manhunter warns Batman that an army of Parademons are heading their way. Martian Manhunter asks what the plan is if Cyborg can’t decode the system in time. Batman admits he doesn’t have a back-up plan.
As Batman and Martian Manhunter prepare to make their last stand they contact Superman to see if Darkseid has shown up on Oa yet.
On Oa, Superman, while battling Parademons with the Green Lantern Corps, tells Batman that Darkseid hasn’t shown up yet. As the fighting goes on Hal Jordan calls out one of the Guardians for fooling themselves that the truce between them and Darkseid would last forever.
Suddenly a Boom Tube Portal opens in front of Superman and Hal Jordan. Darkseid steps out while holding two dead Guardians in his hand. Darkseid apologizes for his lateness as he was busy with some “errands.”
In the present on the Javelin Flash tries to talk to Batman but Batman is to busy concentrating on getting them to Apokolips so they can keep Lobo off everyone’s radar. Flash tries to tell Batman that they need everyones head in the game so he and Superman put their difference aside. Batman says they’ll get the job done with or without Superman. Sensing he isn’t getting anywhere Flash goes to check on Lobo.
Flash joins Wonder Woman to watch over Lobo. Lobo tries his best to use the animosity in the Justice League to get on Wonder Woman and Flash’s nerves. Wonder Woman says she can cut Lobo’s tongue off but holds back as she reserves her sword for battle only.
Wonder Woman and Flash then talk about Apokolips as it is a place Flash has never been to. Wonder Woman states that Apokolips is fiery pit of despair designed to disorient and terrorize.
Flash then contacts Superman to check how things are going on in their end.
Superman and Green Lantern John Stewart say they are doing their job though charting their directions near black holes is a risky thing to do. Batman tells Superman and John to just keep an eye out for debris and cuts off contact.
John sensing the animosity between Batman and Superman tells Superman that he thinks the actual bad blood is the conflict within Superman. John says that Martian Manhunter made his choice.
Before they can talk more a large ship is being pulled into a black hole. Superman tries to save them but isn’t strong enough. Hal Jordan then appears and helps Superman push the out of control ship out so it doesn’t go into the black hole.
Afterwards John comments how quickly Superman took off to save the ship. Superman says he didn’t have time to think. John says he understands making split-second decisions in the face of life and death as they all have to do that.
Batman then infoms everyone that they have arrived at Apokolips and tells the team to be on their guard. Lobo says he is excited to have a front seat to see the Justice League die.
It is then seen that Apokolips is not the fiery planet it once was from afar. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League: Last Ride #2 does not necessarily progress the plot presented to us in the first issue involving Lobo’s trial. This issue is much more about world building for this Elseworld to provide further insight into what took place to get us to the point the Justice League were no more when this series started.
It is in how Chip Zdarsky and Miguel Mendonca build out this Elseworld that really stands out. As they did in the first issue, we do get a lot of hints that this Elseworld has a lot in common with the current DC Universe. But were the universe in Justice League: Last Ride diverges is in the Crises-level event that the Justice League, Teen Titans, Green Lantern Corps and other heroes fought in involving Darkseid. The entire opening gets this across as you do get a sense that everything changed at this point.
Even though the first half of Justice League: Last Ride #2 takes place in the past there is still a sense of urgency that was felt. From the Wonder Woman leading the Amazons against Granny Goodness and the Furies to Superman and the Green Lantern Corps battling Parademons, you had a feeling that we were placed in the middle of an endgame. Wonder Woman turning around and beheading Granny Goodness after being stabbed was specifically the moment you knew that we were placed in the middle of an event that changed everything. That moment established the fact that we were about to see some surprises in who will fall.
That was all driven home with how desperate things were to shut down all the Boom Tube Portals or evacuate Earth. The most important moment to get this desperation over was actually showing one of the Boom Tube Portals dropping a Darkseid bomb on Earth. Having Aquaman be the one to fall from this explosion was a hard hitting moment that gave you the idea that no one was safe.
This added to how we know that this Crises-level event is where Martian Manhunter dies. You are constantly on edge wondering what Martian Manhunter’s last stand will be. Especially having Batman there with Martian Manhunter keeps you looking out for what took place for Batman to be blamed for what happened by Superman. Even though we don’t see what happened yet Batman admitting that he didn’t have a back-up plan as Parademons are right outside Darkseid’s control room further hints at why we are where we are in the present.
Speaking of the present, Batman being completely focused on the mission to get Lobo to Apokolips worked well to show how we are in a story where the Justice League haven’t worked together in a while. Batman having become more isolated has made him into someone who focuses on the mission only even more than before. This makes his brooding persona be something that Flash reacts to differently as he senses the tension going on.
Which works well with the narrative around Superman that is going on. John Stewart actually calling out the fact that the divide between Superman and Batman isn’t because of what happened but the conflict within Superman an interesting swerve. Using how Superman saves the spaceship from going in the black hole as an example how they all make split-second life or death decisions added weight to what John was trying to tell Superman. What this means for the greater arc around he state of Batman and Superman’s relationship in Justice League: Last Ride will be interesting to see play out.
Zdarsky also does a very good job at writing Lobo as an absolute prick who enjoys getting on everyone’s nerves. There was no holding back in how he kept trying to get Wonder Woman to attack him so he can be proven right about all of them. Wonder Woman saying that she would not lower herself to do what Lobo wanted as she reserves her sword for battle worked well to further drive home how much of a warrior she is.
The Bad: For everything that worked in Justice League: Last Ride #2 this was a pure set-up issue that didn’t really progress the main plot of Lobo’s trial at the United Planets. We only get far enough that the Justice League just reach Apokolips by the end of the issue. There isn’t much more progress made than that.
Outside of the flashback showing Darkseid attacking Oa and killing some Guardians we don’t really know exactly what state this Elseworld version of the DC Universe are at. That includes the United Planets and how this all plays into the Green Lantern Corps plan to regain more influence in the universe. There is nothing in terms of that sub-plot in this issue.
Even the character arcs in the present don’t go that far. Superman is the only one that gets any sort of progression as questions on why he is acting is given an added layer. Everyone else is largely the same as we found them in the first issue. As this series progresses it would be good to see more of a balance in how this version of each member of the Justice League are as it would strengthen the overall story in Justice League: Last Ride.
Overall: Justice League: Last Ride #2 provides greater details on what occurred in this Elseworld as a Crisis-level event caused a divergence from where the current DC Universe is at. Those details what took place in the past worked well to add further tension in the story taking place in the present even though there wasn’t much progression on that front.
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