The Calm Before The Storm: Justice League #26 Reviewed

by Olly MacNamee

While there is still a lot of building tension to be had out of this week’s Justice League #26, this issue also give us, the readers, a little bit of a much needed breather from the recent all-out action of the Leaguers trip to the Sixth Dimension where they not only picked up an extremely powerful new member in the World Forger, but also Shayne, the child of Future Hawkgirl and Future J’onn J’onzz. This is an issue that allows us to take stock of the unraveling multiversal crisis courtesy of Perpetua as well as Luthor’s Year of the Villain, with the general population taking to his new world view like Killer Croc to water. Almost a prologue to to the throw quarter of the Super Bowl. But, one in which the opposing teams are playing for a far bigger prize: the salvation of the multiverse. Although at the half-time whistle, Luthor’s tram are well ahead.

The League has expanded once again to better tackle the coming crises on all fronts while a contingent set off to the Hall of Heroes to catch up with the other heroes from other parallel universes who are also, lest we forget, also suffering since the collapse of the Source Wall.
And through out all, there’s not a single villain in sight, which, thanks to James Tynion IV’s scripting for this issue, doesn’t mean there isn’t the growing sense of threat. Indeed, with less sight of bad guys than there are hairs on Luthor’s pate, it’s their absent that allows the tension to simmer and come to a par-boil. All beautifully illustrated by guest artist Javier Fernandez who shows he can draw stunning space-operatic vistas a la the Hall of Heroes, as well as add to the overall sense of foreshadowing with some creepier darker scene at the end of the book, too.
At this point, the Justice League are so deflated that they should be rebranded as the Justice Beleaguered and I’m not surprised that their ranks have swollen with everything already thrown at them over the past 25 issues. But, in being an issue of talking (and walking) heads, we get a glimpse into several embers mindsets and where they re now mentally. It’s been a tough ride so far and it’s only going to get tougher.

Meanwhile, J’onn J’onzz is living up to his ‘manhunter’ name by tracking down an urban myth who seems to be aiding and abetting Luthor’s plans for turning the world into villains, and when the identity of this all-too-real person is revealed, its a great cliffhanger that is guaranteed to make you pick up the next issue.
As for Starman’s death, as suggested by the cover; let’s just say that reports of his death are somewhat  exaggerated. But then, we are talking about a rather bombastic medium here, and covers often stretch the real story lying beneath the cover. Which, I must say, is another home run hit from Francis Manapul who allowed his mastery of colouring to form the various villains with not a black outline in sight.
Overall, another solid issue that is designed, narratively, to foreshadow what is yet to come, but also take on board the different worries the League have for the world, and for themselves. Definitely the calm before the storm and a busy summer for the Justice League.
Justice League #26 is out now from DC Comics.

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