Crime Syndicate #5 Review

Never fear, the Legion of Justice is here! Alexander Luthor has assembled a team of Earth-3’s finest, and they’ve already set their sights on their first target: Johnny Quick! Will the Sinister Scarlet Speedster of Earth-3 outpace the heroes bearing down on him? Will the Legion of Justice take a dangerous meta-criminal off the playing field? Let’s speed through this and find out!

Band on the Run

Andy Schmidt has done wonders with Earth-3. I came into this series expecting a middling quality mini that might have hada cool moment or two, but after this issue, I genuinely think I’d like an ongoing set on this Earth. In the few short pages we get time with them, every member of the Legion of Justice is compelling and makes you want more. I absolutely love these characters.

My favorite of these absolutely has to be Emerald Knight. Schmidt has kept him consistently interesting since issue 1, and his internal struggle to do the right thing, especially in the face of Luthor’s uncompromising righteousness, plays out perfectly here. It’s an absolute treat to watch the dynamic between these two (and the entire team, for that matter) play out, and I hope we see more of it next issue.

This team is legitimately captivating to me, and I sincerely hope we get to see more of them in the future.

Speaking of seeing them, the art in this issue is very good. Kieran McKeown, as always, nails that late 90s vibe that makes me nostalgic for Earth-3, and Dexter Vines’ inking is particularly good this issue, but the real star of the show is Steve Oliff’s coloring. Especially during the fight proper with Quick, Oliff masterfully makes everything pop off the page, and every panel is a treat to look at.

The use of light in conjunction with the Lantern constructs here is also a nice touch. I know it’s semi-standard fare when a ring wielder is involved, but I always love to see Lantern constructs actually glowing. It adds a sense of dynamism, especially to action scenes, and can be a great way to visually spice up an otherwise bland panel. The faint auras around constructs this issue are also a wonderful addition, and add some much appreciated personality to the page.

Rob Leigh’s lettering is fantastic in this issue as well. I’ve said it before, but it’s always nice to see a letterer having fun, and Leigh clearly was. There’s plenty of dynamic, energetic sound effects throughout the book that draw the reader in and make every panel leap off the page straight into the imagination.

I Ran (So Far Away)

The back story in this issue, written again by Schmidt, focuses on the origins of Johnny Quick. This is probably my favorite origin so far, as it’s the most original of the lot, and gives us a very well crafted glimpse into a character that we’ve never learned too much about.

This story is also strangely sympathetic compared to the previous ones. While Emerald Knight’s story being sympathetic makes sense, as he’s being set up to be a good character (or at least close to it), Johnny getting an tragic origin is surprising. That said, Schmidt does very well with it, and Bryan Hitch’s art perfectly complements the action on the page.

I am going to put a content warning for this back story, however, as it does get into some dark territory. If you’re uncomfortable with animal or child abuse, maybe consider skipping this issue’s origin. It’s not prevalent, and most of it is implied or happens off screen, but both topics do come up.

Recommended If…

  • You like stories set on alternate Earths.
  • Emerald Knight’s character arc intrigues you.
  • Again, Evil Justice League. Pretty easy to decide if that’s what you want or not.


This mini has been a wonderfully pleasant surprise. What I thought was going to just be a retelling of the Justice League’s origin has taken on a life of its own has become an exciting glimpse into an Earth we haven’t heard from in a while. I hope this series impacts the Suicide Squad book, that thing could use some content of this quality.

Score: 8/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.