Martian Manhunter is back, but is he in time? It all comes down to this, the final issue of the Snyder/Jimenez run on Justice League. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
How the mighty have fallen
This is not the conclusion to Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez’s time on Justice League that I wanted to read or review. And I’m betting if I could catch them in a candid moment, they would confess that it’s not the conclusion they wanted to deliver, either.
That’s not to say that the book doesn’t read well at times—in fact, until the last few pages, it could have been a fine midpoint to a long run. The League has lost, and they must figure out how to wrestle the multiverse back from Perpetua triumphant. The heroes’ loss would have felt natural, because Snyder has clearly been driving things in that direction.
Snyder, Jimenez, and crew bring lots of craft to bear, as well. The text is very stirring in most places, and brought to the page by Napolitano with his usual excellence. Jimenez brings the drama of Snyder’s script to life with the high level of storytelling skill we’ve come to expect. Sanchez is still a rock star. Even Sampere, Albarran, and Hi-Fi’s epilogue may not be as aesthetically rich as the rest, but it is still excellent visual storytelling.
The quality of work here is high, so it hurts this critic to dislike this book so much.
The DC Extended UVerse
Last year, DC spilled details about 5G, the publisher’s next “this changes everything” initiative. The name of the thing just about screams “we’ve been acquired by AT&T.” Beyond that, it has been rumored to offer substantial shakeups—legacy heroes relegated to Black Label and other standalone contexts, with the “next generation” taking mantles from those that came before.
While I’m nearly certain that 5G plopped a hot deuce on Snyder’s plans for Justice League, it doesn’t look like he ever adjusted for it. Instead, he stayed on track, and told what he wanted as long as he could tell it. And now, stapled onto this final chapter, we have an addendum that pretty baldly sets up what’s to come in 5G.
Whether it’s Aquaman saying “this moment, maybe it’s not ours,” or multiple people directly referring to “every story” mattering and requiring reckoning, it’s a wide open declaration of what DC has claimed they’re trying to do with 5G. The old guard is off the table, the newbs are in charge. Every story matters.
5G isn’t the problem here
I don’t particularly mind DC trying to usher in 5G through a story. And while I think I will ultimately find little more than disappointment in this latest gimmick, it isn’t said gimmick that’s bothering me here. No, what bothers me here is that DC took one of their best ongoing titles of the past few years and decided that it wasn’t important. They said bollocks to the investment their fans have made in this story, and gave it an awkward, premature funeral. If they had any hope of people following them into some crazy, new publishing effort, surely this squanders a good-sized portion of it.
- I can’t. If you’ve followed along the whole way, you’ll read it anyway, because how couldn’t you? But as a conclusion, it is so profoundly disappointing that I can’t commend it to you.
Justice League #39 is a massive disappointment. It still reads well, thanks to the massive skill of its creators, but the premature termination of a such a beloved series stinks of interference from on high. This may be the final nail in the Rebirth coffin.