It appears the doors are getting blown off in Justice League #19 as the narrative shifts from preventative measures to the attack. The heroes have unquestionably lost after the events in Justice League Annual and they know they’re outmatched. What is a group of superheroes to do? Call upon Mister Mxyzptlk of course!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“The Sixth Dimension” part one! At last, the Justice League has the map to the Sixth Dimension in hand-and with it, they have the key to saving the Multiverse from utter destruction! But things aren’t as simple as they seem, because they still need to get to the doorway-and to do that, they’ll have to go through the only being in all of existence who can get them there: Mr. Mxyzptlk!
Why does this matter?
As the heroes discover new things we too are learning things about the DC universe only now becoming clear. The very creation of the universe is being revealed, but at the cost that it may be remade anew by the Legion of Doom. Nbd!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
In a surprising turn, this issue is focused on Superman and his nemesis Mxyzptlk. The Justice League are certainly present, but this is his story thanks to the issue opening with Clark and ending with Superman. This issue takes readers on a journey to unknown dimensions, reveals new things about Perpetua, and sets in motion a new direction for the heroes. There is certainly some misdirection afoot (Mxyzptlk is involved after all) and it’ll be fun to untie the knot Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez are tying here.
One of the cooler aspects of this issue is how Mister Mxyzptlk is played up as a bigger threat then he’s usually conveyed as. He’s basically a force of nature that does not abide by rules of physics let alone mankind. The issue delves a bit about his world but only after he mops the floor with the Justice League. The creators have come up with a clever way to resolve this conflict. This leads to a whopper of a cliffhanger that’s haunting in its own right. Justice League is developing a story that is exploring new aspects of the DC universe layered in with continuity and other elements like the Multiverse.
Dialogue wise, Snyder and letterer Tom Napolitano have come up with a clever way to deliver a different type of speech. It’s used a few times to allow characters to speak under their breath, making the letters grey instead of black. It’s a clever way to allow the characters to add dialogue with everyone hearing them, and then some personal speech to themselves for humorous effect. It also gives the characters a bit more color even in the thick of things. It’s a great idea and I can’t wait to see more of it.
Jimenez’s art is great along with Alejandro Sanchez’s colors. There is a fantastic full-page spread revealing the Justice League that’s filled with character, from Flash’s self-satisfied expression to Mera’s intensity, Martian Manhunter’s hopefulness, or the cheery welcome of Wonder Woman. The background is clear enough to give the page a 3D effect as well as snow to further layer the image. This is just one example. The action scene with Mxyzptlk is trippy and incredibly imaginative with the insane powers being fun, but also kind of frightening. Mxyzptlk even zaps Green Lantern from another panel showing off his fourth wall-breaking abilities. There is also a fantastic Superman costume redesign that’s out of this world. It’d be a crime not to mention Alejandro Sánchez and who adds so much to every panel. Just look above at the use of shine on the floor under Clark’s workspace, or the use of light blue on his hair. It’s in these subtle details that bring the entire work to a new level.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
I’m all for the heroes jumping in feet first to progress things, but it’s hard to believe they’d go along with Mxyzptlk’s plan and then later literally go through a door with no contingency plan. It’s too convenient and while the narrative is definitely suggesting the heroes may be making bad decisions in the issue, this makes them come off as foolish or at the very least rash. It’s also not abundantly clear how much pressure the characters are under to make such a rash decision. They say there is no time, but in a quick cutaway Lex and his fellow villains are just standing around (and have been for two issues too). I’m also not quite sure what the McGuffin is although I guess that’s part of the mystery? It’s neat to see the heroes jumping into a different type of adventure, but it seems counter to the strategy of the team and their ability to think things through.
Is it good?
A good issue that sets in motion a different kind of adventure through time and space while delivering a big-time fight sequence too. The Justice League are going on a trippy adventure for our mind-bending enjoyment. This series always manages to deliver new information, action, and colorful character moments no matter the villain or plot at hand.
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