Justice League #25 is definitely a comic book equivalent to a soccer game, being very much a game of two halves with the conclusion of ‘The Sixth Dimension‘ storyline from Scott Synder, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez and Tom Napolitano in the first part of this extra-sized issue, while also throwing us into this summer’s Year of the Villain cross-over event, in the second half, with barely a moment to catch their collectives breathes.
The start to this issue catches us up, once again, with an even more depleted Superman – doing his damn best impression of himself in The Dark Knight Returns when he’s exposed to an all out nuclear assault he prevents from hitting America – who continues to reminisce over the family tradition of raising a Chinese lantern annually to commemorate his biological father’s death. A memory that becomes something of an epiphany to our Big Blue Boy Scout as he lies there dying. And, as he weakens by the minute, we are also witness to the all-out battle between the two Justice Leagues and the World Forger. It’s pretty climatic stuff, all given that extra injection of energy and action thanks to the astounding artwork of Jimenez, who’s also given a writing credit for plotting too.
Snyder and Jimenez are having a blast on this title and it shows. One of DC Comics best selling titles – and rightfully so – I’ve constantly commented on the breakneck speed of the plotting and action and this issue is no different.
Throughout this first half we are reminded that Superman – often seen by many as dull and too goody-two-shoes – is more than simply the personification of Truth, Justice and The American Way, but a complex character who respects others and grows, learns and develop from those closest to him. Superman is the embodiment of the best in all of us, and it’s to this that Batman takes comfort too. He is the shining example – a metaphorical Chinese lantern himself – from which we can all be inspired to be better. To be our best. And, while this conclusion is one that once more reminds us of Superman’s special place in the DCU, the high upon which this saga finishes is soon brought crashing down in the second part of this anniversary issue when James Tynion IV, Javier Fernandez, Hi-Fi and Tom Napolitano throw us into the Machiavellian shenanigans of Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom who make the world’s population an offer many cannot refuse. Seems like the Justice League can never get a break.
How Luthor wins over the world is achieved after he twists the truth to suit his own benefits and turns the world against the Justice League. In any other political climate I’d say this is stretching it a bit far, simply to throw us into this year’s big event (although, DC have several events running concurrently this summer making it a nightmare to keep tabs on it all, or pay for it all too), but we live in a world where up is down and down is up. A world where our politicians seem to be happy to twist, or even ignore, the truth with far too many people buying it. In a world where your president can deny climate change while our own government can deny we’re heading off a cliff with our threatened departure from the European Union, the propaganda spouted by Luthor is not out of place. And, it would seem his fake news is winning. What that means for the rest of the DCU, we can all read along with this summer, and beyond. But, what an introduction. Luthor gives away all his wealth and inventory (for ‘inventions’ read ‘weaponry’) and even plays on his Justice League membership to win over the great unwashed.
All in all, another pulse-pounding, hard-hitting issue that keeps on delivering time and time again. I feel sorry for the Justice League. I’m exhausted just reading about their exploits, imagine what they must be feeling like. Beaten, time and again, only to find when they do clutch victory from the jaws of defeat, it isn’t for too long. Roll on The Year of The Villain and what comes after that.
Here’s to a great summer of reading! It’s only just warming up, methinks.