After speaking of the Justice League’s fateful battle with Darkseid in hushed tones for much of the first issue, Chip Zdarsky and Miguel Mendonça take readers a few years back to show us how the world’s heroes fell apart. The opening of the issue moves at a breakneck pace, jumping between multiple DC landmarks and showing the Justice League and various related heroes’ efforts to save as many people as they can during a horrifying attack from Apokolips. In between scenes of various heroes working to evacuate populated areas, we get to see various members of the League making their final stand.
Mendonça draws the everloving hell out of these battle sequences, particularly one in which Wonder Woman dons some very recognizable armor to throw down with Granny Goodness and the Female Furies. It’s a chaotic scene, full of frenzied combatants and violent attacks, but it’s all easy to follow and compelling stuff. Diana’s expressions are particularly notable, showing her determination in the face of overwhelming odds.
Meanwhile, Mendonça and Zdarsky show us maybe the scariest possibility of all, particularly for a battle of this scale: we get to see Batman without a plan. The weight of this scene is played perfectly, with Batman and J’onn struggling with making the right decision. It’s clear that the moment Superman has come to blame Batman for is right around the corner.
Speaking of which, the development of Superman’s side of the “present day” storyline is much appreciated here. He’s given a bit of much-needed perspective, hinting that a reconciliation with the Dark Knight may actually be in the cards. Of course, it’s kind of odd to play this like Superman hasn’t had to make tremendously difficult calls in the heat of battle, but the move forward in this plot line is still a good sign. It was also great to see everyone working together on a good old fashioned space rescue. So much of this miniseries is built around a dark premise, and the very hint of a silver lining is encouraging.
On the whole, though, the flashback stuff in this issue feels much much meatier than the rest of the story. The exchanges between Lobo and various other heroes feel a bit repetitive. Like, we get it; everyone’s doomed. Of course, Lobo is meant to be absolutely insufferable (and it’s great to see the Flash not buying into his schtick at all), but chunks of the Main Man’s lines feel like they’re just restating the same points.
Still, Last Ride #2 is chock-full of really cool moments and manages to distill (most of) the best parts of its heroes for this take on their final battle together. I’m still way more interested in seeing how that last battle with Apokolips went than I am in seeing this Lobo escort mission play out, but that could all change once the team reaches Apokolips.
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