Lex Luthor is doing something he hasn’t ever done before. He’s winning. Your Major Spoilers review of Justice League #31 awaits!
Writer: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Editor: Jamie S. Rich
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 4, 2019
Previously in Justice League: The Totality has shattered and its pieces have been tossed across space and time. Thus, the Justice League must also split apart, forming three search teams to comb the past, present, and future to re-combine the Totality before the Legion of Doom can get its villainous hands on the cosmic weapon.
THE “FIRST” JLA/JSA TEAM-UP!
Fighting a war on multiple fronts, the Justice League finds themselves outmaneuvered and outsmarted by Lex Luthor in multiple times and realities. In 1941, Flash and Green Lantern meet for the first time (with a big ol’ asterisk) a team of young heroes, two of whom share their name. Barry “Flash” Allen feels a strange echo of memory, perhaps even kinship with the strange Flash of the past, but it’s clear that neither team fully remembers the other. In the present, Starman, Mera and Hawkgirl, with a cadre of recruits and the child of The Martian Manhunter, prepare to find The Anti-Monitor, who is hiding somewhere in the furthest reaches of space while his mother, the “cosmic goddess” Perpetua seeks three elements of The Totality. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are stuck in an unknown future year, after the Great Disaster, where they have allied with a young man named Kamandi, reputedly the last boy on Earth. The Present Team calls in the troops, using Shayne The Martian boy’s connection to his lost father to track Lex Luthor, while the past team finds that the Legion of Doom is preparing to change the timestream on a little protectorate in the Pacific, an island called Hawai’i. As for Team Future, they discover that Kamandi’s future, as well as dozens of others have been isolated and “bottled” by Brainiac, which makes things even more dangerous when they travel to an adjacent future to confront… The Justice Legion A!
BOTTLING THE FUTURES
I really enjoy how much continuity stitching is taking place in this comic, from the 853rd Century to the return of the JSA’s 40s to the recruiting of ex-Leaguers like Guy Gardner, Supergirl, Shazam and Green Arrow, and I especially appreciate the in-universe acknowledgements of the repeated alteration of time in DC’s past. There may be some continuity issues with revealing that The Monitor and The Anti-Monitor’s mom is a big crazy space god herself, and that they have a third brother, The World Forger, but Snyder makes it all work together, mostly seamlessly. I think the thing that I most appreciate about this story is the tone of it all, with a JLA aware that they’re dealing with one of the worst threats in the history of the universe, with villains who are close to destroying everything they know, without devolving into a grimdark snarlfest. This League isn’t going to give up, even if all is lost, and Jiminez’ art works to support that. Especially fun is Jay Garrick standing with his hands in the pockets of what are clearly dungarees while he tries to figure out what’s going on with this new kid claiming to have the same hero name that he does, but all the characters have a clear sense of personality in their body language and bearing. I will admit that everyone is a bit more gangly than I would prefer, but even that doesn’t damage the storytelling on display here.
BOTTOM LINE: I’M GOING BACK TO GET THE FIRST FEW CHAPTERS
I got lazy and missed the last few issues of Justice League, and now that’s clearly a mistake. This issue’s return of the Justice Society is WAAAAY overdue and works despite the periodic JSA teases of the last four years. Justice League #1 combines a gripping plot and expressive art to successfully revive not only the original super-team, but a couple of different futures and a bunch of cool concepts from across the history of the DCU (has Kamandi EVER seen this much panel-time?), folding them all into a a big cosmic schmageggi that is still engaging on a character level, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. Now, it’s time to go back an fill in the gaps and enjoy more of the long-overdue Will Payton Starman revival.
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JUSTICE LEAGUE #31
They split the party, which seems like a rookie mistake, but all three fronts have something interesting going on and the art is never anything less than interesting. Plus: The Justice Society returns!