While I thought we might get more answers about what happened to the Justice League it seems that this series has an all new agenda of explaining the back story behind the members of the Crime Syndicate and if future installments are half as fun as then you’ll get no complaint from me.

Issue #24 is an Ultraman showcase. The origin here is much different from what was seen in Grant Morrison’s JLA: Earth 2 (a book I’ll be reviewing soon) and I think it actually makes him a more controlled, focuses, and complex character with a clear motivation beyond just being evil. This warped take on the classic Superman origin story features dick-ish Kryptonians who bicker as their world ends and and a redneck Ma & Pa Kent who seem more likely to cook meth than grow corn. It’s such an over-the-top perversion of the origin story we know that it’s really quite funny and it made for a quick and entertaining read.

In addition to the birth and upbringing of Ultraman, we also see what is going on in the modern day Earth, which has been conquered by the villains. Grid, the sinister version of Cyborg, gives a rundown of what the Crime Syndicate is up to and informs Ultraman of a disturbance in Kahndaq that needs their attention. Of course, Ultraman ignores this because he’s anxious to see what our Earth’s Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane are like. This all leads to some very interesting confrontations and even a cameo or two by some DC heroes we haven’t heard from in some time

Spoiler
The Doom Patrol get a mention! I could see Geoff Johns trying to bring those characters back in their own series what with him leaving the Aquaman book behind
. While the action scene the comic builds toward is short-lived it’s very thrilling and has one of the coolest two-page spreads you’ll see this month.

Speaking of the art, it’s Ivan Reis. Reis is one of the finest artists that DC has and this issue makes that perfectly clear from the Justice League #1 homage cover to the climactic battle that’s absolutely stunning and will leave you begging for more. There’s a lot going on in this issue and for Reis to be able to pace it so perfectly and make such great use of such narrow panels is really incredible.

While it is odd to see DC’s main flagship title turned into a tie-in book, Johns & Reis made it a memorable one.

Recommended If…

  • You read Justice League of America #7.4 (I didn’t, but wish I had now) 
    Spoiler
    However, I can’t help but wonder if Black Adam would actually respond to Jimmy Olsen’s signal. Let’s say he can hear it, does he know it’s something he needs to respond to? I feel that I really need to find a copy of Black Adam #1 so I can see what happened there. It’s turning out to be one of the more important Villains Month issues. I was quite confused last week when a normal Shazam was imprisoned with the rest of the Justice League, but apparently the answers are all in JLA #7.4.
  • The origin story of Ultra Man is of interest to you
  • You love the artwork of Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
  • You’re looking for a laugh, some character development, and a pinch of action
  • You intend to buy Forever Evil #3 (the action here leads directly into issue #3)

Overall

The kryptonite-snorting Ultra Man’s over-the-top origin was a great deal of fun and the final pages definitely have me pumped for the next installment, a fight I didn’t even know I wanted to see, but now it’s one of the showdowns I’m looking forward to most. It appears as though Justice League will be dealing primarily with the origins of the Crime Syndicate over the next few issues while the main story happens in Forever Evil. If you’re not at all curious about the backstory of these villains I can understand why you would want to skip it, especially since it’s just a dark retelling of our Superman’s origin, but I found this to be a pretty entertaining issue with nice visuals.

SCORE: 8.5/10