Lex Luthor and his adopted mommy are on the war path! The heroes await their destruction, but not without one last attempt at winning the day. See it all go down in Justice League #36.

Another slice

Justice League #36 is typical of this series lately, in that its impact feels incremental. I enjoy it just fine—but by the end, we aren’t all that much further along in the story than we were at the end of #35.

It all works because what this issue lacks in plot progression, it makes up for in emotional weight. The previous installment showed the League’s failure to stop Perpetua, and here we watch them grapple with the—pun intended—impending doom.

It isn’t all about the League, though. The Mother of the Multiverse shows the true depth of her loyalty, and for the first time in a long time, we see a crack in Luthor’s confidence. I have long wondered if Snyder intended to use J’onn J’onzz to lead Lex to redemption, and I think this issue makes a pretty strong case in support of this theory. Make of that what you will.

Yes, it looks nice, too

The artwork here is provided by Francis Manapul and Howard Porter, and it looks as fabulous as you might expect. Both artists have very distinct aesthetics, and yet—mostly thanks to the unifying effect of Hi-Fi being the one and only colorist—there aren’t any particularly jarring transitions from one to the other. I’m not a huge fan of Porter’s style, but the overall storytelling here is very strong.

Napolitano does a particularly good job with some very dense text. Have a look at this one:

Credit: Francis Manapul, Hi-Fi, and Tom Napolitano

This could have been very confusing, but I never once had any doubt about the reading order. The line of Batman’s shoulder leads you to Damian’s balloon. The trajectory of Superman’s top balloons, coupled with the Trinity’s leftward sweep, guides your eyes back to the left again for the next row of balloons. Finally, the placement of Ollie and Dinah’s balloons—his very close to Clark, and hers very far—ensures that we take them in the right order—even though hers is first in the horizontal order of things.

What’s next?

Beyond all of that, the last page of the issue promises the sort of bonkers stuff that Snyder led with at the start of his run. Things have leaned more heavily towards the serious as of late, but if we’re about to witness two buildings turn into weapons of war, then I’m going to be a very happy boy. With three issues left in Snyder’s stint, he’s got a lot of work to do to close things up, but I think he can do it if he focuses on what made it all so enjoyable in the first place.

Recommended if…

  • You’ve been in this thing from the start.
  • You enjoy quality visual storytelling as much as the story itself.
  • You miss the goofier elements of this run.

Overall

Justice League #36 only slightly increments the plot, but the character drama is where it’s at, and it works here. With only a few issues left to go in Scott Snyder’s grand epic, things are swelling to an exciting conclusion, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

SCORE: 8/10


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