Time is running out on Colu—and on Earth! As Brainiac’s four Justice Leagues fight on without him, relations between Waller and Green Arrow hit an all-time low. The teams may prevent the first Omega Titan from feeding, but what will await them at home if they do? The stakes rise, yet again, in Justice League: No Justice #3. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Business up front
Riley Rossmo was the wrong artist to pull in for the assist on this issue. Apologies if you like his stuff, but this isn’t a jab at his aesthetic on its own. Rather, it’s recognizing that his aesthetic suits neither the tone of No Justice nor the other two artists his work sits alongside in this series. The ideal scenario would have been Manapul accomplishing the superhuman feat of delivering four books in four weeks, but Marcus To was a suitable Band-Aid on reality. His figures aren’t nearly as fanciful as Manapul’s, but they are generally in the orbit of pleasantness. Rossmo’s, on the other hand, are deliberately jarring and ugly, and it seems to me a mistake to have him share duty with the others on what has heretofore been a fairly clean and pleasant thing to look at.
Mercifully, there are some characters who play to Rossmo’s strengths, such as Martian Manhunter and Starro. And the value of Manapul being the sole source of breakdowns can not be overstated—the book feels much more “one” than it would have otherwise. But I do wish that a book with such an impressive story, character work, and layouts could have had a more singular aesthetic identity to go along with all of it.
Party in the back
Now that we have the negatives out of the way, this book ROCKED. Snyder and co.’s seamless blend of earnest and absurd pays dividends here, in all sorts of ways, but perhaps no more so than in Starro. Here’s a character whose very existence is a product of Silver Age silliness, and yet this book manages to make me both howl at his hilarity and clutch my heart at his bravery and sacrifice, all on the same page. In case it isn’t clear, Snyder and friends have made the giant, telepathic starfish from space a likable, relatable, endearing character. That’s no small accomplishment. But, once again, they do it without compromising him. He doesn’t suddenly acquire some unbelievable nobility. Instead, with barely a thought, Starro the Conqueror launches himself at a god of the cosmos, an as-yet unstoppable creature whose greatest offense is not threatening the annihilation of life, but rather aspiring to conquer the Conqueror. That’s Starro’s presenting motivation, at least. There are strains of nobility in there, too, but they are but strains.
The conflict itself reaches a climax this week, as well; and the team transitions flawlessly from the more lighthearted feel of earlier issues to the inescapable horror of what the Omega Titans are actually trying to do. The latter half of #3 leaves the “good time” behind, generating authentic tension and worry; and with a single issue remaining, I can honestly say that I don’t know what’s going to happen. In my head, I’m pretty sure that Earth will remain and that the Omega Titans will be thwarted; but as I read and reread this book, my heart doubts. And that’s completely to the credit of the excellent storytelling happening across the board.
There are some standard Snyderisms—most notably the sometimes-forced imposition of the Wisdom-Wonder-Entropy-Mystery framework on the events of the story, but it’s barely a blip on the radar. This is some of Snyder’s best DC work in years, and I am—as I was last week and the week before—increasingly excited about his future work on Justice League. Bring it on.
- You like nice things.
- You’re able to connect with visual storytelling, regardless of the aesthetic that adorns it.
- FREAKING. STARRO.
No Justice #3 is just as fun as the previous two installments, but the conflict that’s been brewing since the start bubbles over and adds genuine weight and drama. I have no idea how they will wrap it all up next week, but I’m impatiently waiting to find out. I can’t remember the last time an event with such hype actually delivered on its promises, but Snyder and the gang have actually done it.
For more of my thoughts on all sorts of comics, head over to Comics Now. And if you want more analysis of No Justice, here’s a closer look at the first page: