Credit: Francis Manapul and Tom Napolitano

Impish behavior! Snarky starfish! DOOM! For the Justice League left on Earth, this is reality. But long ago, at the beginning of everything, we find the origin of our story. Perpetua makes a multiverse, in Justice League #22SPOILERS AHEAD. MAYBE.

So. Many. Words.

James Tynion’s “Legion of Doom” interludes occasionally surprise and delight me. Other times, they make me consider dropping this title altogether. In either scenario, they always include far too many words, most often arranged in unnatural, opaque structures. That’s where we are with Justice League #22, again. There is some interesting, maybe even welcome, information provided about Perpetua and the origin of all we know. Allusions to Crisis on Infinite Earths elicit their intended gleeful giggles. But we have twenty pages of story with very few significant developments.

Tynion emphasizes interpersonal interaction between Perpetua and her children, but the character work is fairly bland. What is Pereptua’s motivation? At one point, she says she wants to ensure that all her children live, but then later seems intent on—as her son, the Monitor, points out—”risking infinite lives” to protect herself from cosmic judgment. We can take the easy way out and say she’s just crazy—and maybe she is—but there doesn’t appear to be a clear statement from Tynion to that effect.

As usual, there are some silly mistakes, too. In the first present-day bookend, Jarro threatens to shove “that door knob” into some unspecified part of Lex Luthor’s body, but that doorknob never makes an appearance in the scene. In fact, no door knob makes an appearance in that scene. Perpetua calls her children “the first beings,” but is she not a being? Are those who sent her not beings? And if her children are the first beings, would that not also imply that her multiverse is the first multiverse, since a multiverse is populated with universes, which are in turn populated with beings? And if it’s the first multiverse, then why does she tell them that she created it in a “classic tripartite form?” How can there be classic forms at the dawn of everything?

But Manapul

Credit: Francis Manapul and Tom Napolitano

As I read the comments in our Upcoming Comics post, I noticed a common thread: folks were apprehensive on Tynion, but excited about Francis Manapul. Well, Manapul does not disappoint, and the book does look delicious. When he colors his own work, it’s hard for me to imagine a more pleasing aesthetic in all of comics. But his work—and the quality lettering of Tom Napolitano—are unfortunately insufficient to compensate for poor writing. This tale would have been better served as a three-to-five page recollection of the World Forger, because by the end of this issue, we know very little about who Pereptua actually is, and just a little bit more than we did about what she has done.

Recommended if…

  • You’re a completist.
  • Manapul is enough for you.

Overall

Unfortunately, the Tynion-helmed Justice League #22 met my expectations: the writing was verbose, at times incoherent, and error-prone. Manapul’s artwork is as gorgeous as we knew it would be, and Napolitano does a fine job with way too many words; but, in the end, this installment of the title fails to add much to the narrative backdrop of New Justice, and likewise misses an opportunity to make Perpetua a rounder character.

SCORE: 5.5/10


DISCLAIMER: Batman News received an advance review copy of this book.