Lex Luthor is closer than ever to his goal. With Superman and Martian Manhunter literal puppets of the Legion of Doom, three Leaguers under sea and under siege, and the rest pinned down by Sinestro’s ever-growing Ultraviolet Corps, who can stop Luthor’s plan to unlock the power of the Totality and remake the universe in his image? Find out in Justice League #6. Mild spoilers ahead.
Read this twice, and slow down
My first trip through Justice League #6 left me feeling a little bit let-down. I enjoyed it, but it seemed more ornate—harder to wrap my head around—than even the earlier issues. But a second read helped a lot, not least because I was able to take a bit more time with it. Things are always tougher the first time, when I race through my books to see what happens in each of them.
There is some density here. We’re still dealing with Umbrax, and the Totality, and the Ultraviolet Corps and all of that. And I’m still a little fuzzy on the “cosmic membrane,” but most of this stuff does make sense if you’ve been following along. Sure, there are unknowns undergirding these concepts, but Snyder has established the context and he’s working within that framework. Maybe we’ll find out what lies beneath these new-fangled mythologies, maybe we won’t, but I think the story works regardless.
As for where this installment takes us, I really dig it. There’s some outstanding struggle between Lex and those who would stop him, all amazingly rendered by Jimenez and Sanchez. There’s lots of tension, and it’s difficult to say exactly which way the conflict will go at several points. And when the heroes mount a last-ditch attempt to end Luthor’s madness, the logic of it works—even if the consequences of it aren’t quite as easy to track.
Tell me a story
Surprise, surprise: Snyder’s narrator is a winner once again. This is Joker’s turn to get featured a little bit, and it works just fine. But the strongest points are still the ones that track closely with Luthor. I like the tone in general, but it’s pure gold with its deadpan delivery of some funny moments. Narration has always been Snyder’s strong point—look no further than Batman: The Black Mirror or Court of Owls—but this third-person omniscient, somewhat detached voice has been both functional and delightful, and this issue is as good an example of that as any that came before.
The visual storytelling is outstanding, too. Jimenez’s layouts are dramatic and moving, and the aesthetics are a feast for the eyes. Sanchez colors him beautifully, and it just looks delicious. Napolitano also does a fabulous job integrating his SFX into an ever-shifting context of color and scenery. I love the artistry that he shows, and I love Jimenez and Sanchez for creating the visual space that makes it possible.
Leave the jokes to the professionals
One last note: I’m way more laid-back about a humorous Batman than most, but there are a few moments in this issue where an attempt to use Bats for laughs just doesn’t work. They’re just moments, and they don’t drag the book down, but you’ll know them when you smell them…
- You enjoy amazing sequential artwork.
- You enjoy complex, high-stakes stories.
- You enjoy magical doorknobs ripped from the birthplace of creation.
Justice League #6 is a welcome return of the series’ regular creative team. The narration is once again delightful, the conflict—and our heroes’ response—is interesting and suspenseful, and I defy you to show me a book that looks better. If you’re not reading this series, you should.