It’s not being dubbed an event, but for all intents and purposes Justice League No Justice is so huge in scope it might as well be. This new series written by James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, and Joshua Williamson mixes up the heroes into a variety of teams facing a threat that could be the biggest the DCU has ever seen.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
DARK NIGHTS: METAL left the DCU transformed in ways both terrifying and wondrous–and only the Justice League is strong enough to face the threats to come…or are they? Four giant beings comprised of the universe’s major energies–Mystery, Wonder, Wisdom, and Entropy–who sustain their life force by devouring planets are on their way to destroy the planet of Colu. The only way to take down this unimaginable threat is for the superhero teams of Earth to forget everything they thought they knew and form new alliances.
Why does this matter?
This book involves every hero imaginable with the recently revived Martian Manhunter being featured dead center. A story this big in scope requires the talents of someone like Francis Manapul, who uses every inch of the page to convey huge characters and even bigger heroes.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I went into this series nearly blind. It does not disappoint and I’m starting to think skipping the preview was a good thing. The comic opens with Hal Jordan encountering all of the Green Lantern Corps combining forces to prevent the evil that was let loose after Dark Nights: Metal from pouring into the universe. Things get more complicated when we learn the rest of the heroes are being pushed to their limits from Brainiac. The beauty of this comic is how Williamson, Tynion IV, and Snyder break from your expectations. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say you won’t see where this is going.
Probing the bigger picture however, this comic is going to be loved by those who enjoy creation myths and stories. I’m one of those folks and it’s quite an interesting revelation when it comes to the creation of the DCU. It also puts into perspective all the heroes who populate Earth and the importance of Earth itself. I don’t want to say these godlike characters are similar to Celestials, but they have a similar vibe, at least so far, that helps push the DC heroes into a different perspective.
The art by Manapul is excellent and well worth buying this for alone. Seriously, try skipping all the words and just flipping through this book and you won’t be disappointed. Manpaul uses the double page layout in a variety of ways, giving some pages a cinematic feel. The epic double page layout on the third and fourth page below is one example of how huge in scope this story feels due to the art. There are also clever layout choices to help push heavy exposition moments, like one where Brainiac stands in the center of the page and the panels from top left to top right, and then bottom left to bottom right intercut with Brainiac’s talking. This might be his best work yet, especially at telling a story.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are certain comic book tropes that rear their head that’ll be familiar, like the heroes banding into teams forced to work with less than ideal characters. Or the giant godlike characters who offer unimaginable power so as to push even the greatest heroes like Superman into situations where their powers are meaningless. It never bothered me, but it was always there in the back of my mind as I waited to see how this series would make itself more unique. So far there’s still more to be done in regards to the godlike giants, but I’m hopeful they’ll turn out to be creatures all their own.
Is it good?
This has all the trappings of an iconic superhero slugfest at a scale that is awe-inspiring. The heroes face something they can’t understand and yet must fight on, even with villains by their side, because nothing else matters. The book has an event feel yet is self-contained in its rules and stakes to be enjoyed by anybody. It may not be fair to compare DC and Marvel, but this is already more interesting and entertaining than Marvel’s Avengers event. A must read heroic saga.