Stranded at the end of the universe, the Justice League struggles to survive. Your Major Spoilers review of Justice League #39 from DC Comics awaits!
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jorge Jimenez/Daniel Sampere/Juan Albarran
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez & Hi-Fi
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Editor: Jamie S. Rich
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 29, 2020
Previously in Justice League: The Justice League finds themselves stranded at the far end of the universe and facing a challenge they’ve never faced before. But what will they find on their journey? Has their battle with Perpetua had consequences reaching farther across the cosmos than they ever imagined?
THE WAR IS OVER
After last issue’s last-minute save by Shayne, The Martian Manhunter has returned to the playing field, preparing to connect all the minds in creation together to stop Perpetua, who reminds him that he KNOWS that he’s going to lose. J’Onn uses his powers to start connecting minds, beginning to turn the tide against her, but she reminds him that she CREATED this reality and attack the League. All of humanity is connected into a giant web, and each living human is allowed to vote on how humanity goes…
…and the vote falls on the side of Doom. Perpetua gloats that everyone has chosen, the story will end, and a new one can begin… without the Justice League. An unknown time and space later, Martian Manhunter awakens on the moon, with the other seven core members of the Justice League with him, realizing that they’re not Earth’s heroes anymore and that no one even remembers them. Suddenly, the cosmic Quintessence arrives with The Spectre in tow, reminding the heroes that they foresaw this failure at the very beginning (literally, it was in issue #1 of this book.) They offer one more option, a most dangerous one: A door that, when opening, will bring everything that ever happened to bear, making everything that ever happened matter once again. And one last time, the Justice League races through it to save the day!
So, my first question here is: How can there be an issue #40? The heroes have entirely left reality and probably restarted the universe for the upcoming 5G, and the war against Doom is finally over, but… it’s not exactly an ending in a story sense. It’s a very meta ending to nearly three years of Justice League stories, with the team that started the whole mess running once more unto the breach, illustrating the literal Neverending Battle that Superman used to talk about. It’s… hard to parse. I honestly think I’ll need to see what comes next in order to know for sure. As for the art, I’m a little bit torn. With three different pencilers in play, it’s difficult to say for sure if I enjoyed the issue or not. Jiminez opens the issue with wieird, angular anatomy that playes off the conflict with Perpetua, and it’s not really to my liking. Sampere and Albarran pick up the narrative after the big changover (which is the perfect place for such an art shift), ending with a more traditional but somehow less satisfying take on the team. The coloring is pretty awesome throughout though, and even if I’m not entirely sure I love the art, it’s likeable and it clearly conveys what it needs to in order to get the job done.
BOTTOM LINE: A BIT PUZZLING
In short, Justice League #39 is a very non-traditional comic book tale and ambitiously so, ending with a meta take on the nature of cyclical storytelling and ever-changing creative teams while not quite coming together as an in-universe ending, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I like what the book seems to want to say, though, and the idea of the Justice League fighting on even after losing the greatest battle of all is a good one, just not with an ambiguous “Butch and Sundance” ending. Mileage as always, will vary, and at the very least it’s tonally in keeping with the entirety of Snyder’s run on the book, so I imagine those who have been fans from #1 are going to love this ending.
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JUSTICE LEAGUE #39
I definitely feel like I'm missing something, as this is identified as the end of an arc and Snyder's run on the book, but it doesn't... end? I will definitely be back for next issue, though.