The puzzle pieces start falling into place, but not in a good way as the fate of the earth, if not the universe, is at stake in Justice League #4 from DC Comics!
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 18, 2018
Previously in Justice League: While Superman and Martian Manhunter try to make sense of the Totality, unbeknownst to them, they carry within them the miniaturized Lex Luthor and Joker. In an underwater base, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash close in upon the mysterious Still Force. Out at the remnants of the moon, John Stewart and Cyborg learn that the sentient star, Umbrax, is here…
IT’S ALWAYS DARKEST JUST BEFORE THE DAWN, RIGHT? RIGHT?
So much is happening in Justice League #4, but the pieces are starting to fit together as we learn just how huge this battle is. We start out with a short flashback to Grodd’s childhood, as a runt when he learns the extent of his powers. This is some nice foreshadowing to the rest of the issue. Right away, we cut to Superman and J’onn J’onzz, fighting giant statues in the Totality. J’onn is stubbornly trying to cut through to the truth behind what they are saying. This is the crucial moment when the Joker makes his move on Hawkgirl. Her communications have pretty much cut out, but for a fleeting second, Batman hears the laugh, and as he figures out who could have got him here, his miniature pod is shot up by Lex Luthor. As Batman is shot out into Superman’s neural stream, he plans madly for what to do next, as one of the pathogens swallows him up.
John Stewart and Cyborg face off against Sinestro, but Sinestro’s power destroys John’s ring and he finds himself assuming the guise of an Ultraviolet Lantern again. Cyborg grabs him and flees. As this is going on, at the underwater base, the fight rages on and the Flash realizes that the Still Force is very like fighting against the Turtle. Grodd reveals himself, with a baby strapped to his chest (from Justice League #1), who is the next Turtle. Grodd uses his powers to goad Aquaman and Wonder Woman into fighting each other.
The Still Force is unlocked, and this is felt in the Totality. Superman flies J’onn out into space and gets him to talk. J’onn was trying to find out what caused the destruction of Mars. He learned it was a psychic plague, and from Vandal Savage, he received other visions of a Martian child imbued with an older, more terrible curse. This is the point where Lex Luthor’s pod latches on to Superman’s brain, and Luthor gains neural control of Superman. Joker does the same with J’onn J’onzz. Sinestro starts drawing all the people of Earth to him. It is Cyborg who figures out that whatever Flash is doing to try to stop the Still Force is actually powering it, and he has to stop.
Too late! Something happens. Everything clicks into place, and the Multiverse is there, right by Earth, right in front of Lex Luthor and the Joker, and right within their grasp.
Justice League #4 continues to be a beautifully drawn book. We have intense action and drama, from the microscopic to the macroscopic level. There is dramatic use of white gutters and black gutters. There are eccentrically shaped panels suggestive of the fracturing of the team, especially for the battle in the Atlantean base. Despite being hugely wide-ranging, the art helps keep the story clear as it progresses. And it feels uncanny to see the facial expressions of Lex Luthor and the Joker on the faces of Superman and Martian Manhunter.
BOTTOM LINE: THE EXCITEMENT IS PEAKING!
Everything is coming to a head in Justice League #4. We’ve had all these parts in motion for several issues now, and it is a pleasure to see them all coming together. As you would expect in a team book, it is a huge challenge that they have to find a way out of. The tension has been growing steadily all along, and this issue does not disappoint.