Justice League #5 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Doug Mahnke, Penciller; Jaime Mendoza, Inker; Wil Quintana, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Justice League #5 becomes Legion of Doom #1 this issue, as regular writer Scott Snyder takes a break and James Tynion IV shows us the villains’ point of view. Last issue, we saw Lex Luthor win, as he took over Superman’s body and proceeded to guide his nemesis’ all-powerful form towards the “doom” he was pursuing. But what exactly is “doom”? That’s what this issue begins to answer, showing us how Lex Luthor went from manipulative anti-hero in Justice League: No Justice to being the most dangerous villain in the DCU. The issue flips back and forth in time, opening with Luthor on the verge of victory, showing him at the Legion of Doom HQ, and showing him manipulating his fellow villains into joining his quest. The segment with Sinestro was a little bit routine, as he convinces Sinestro to abandon his recent cooperation with the Green Lantern Corps and pursue a more ruthless path. The Grodd segment, though, taking place in the aftermath of a chilling massacre at the United Nations, is peak Grodd – Luthor’s making a good point, but he’s always mere seconds away from being killed anyway.
But what’s driving Lex? That’s where this side story gets really interesting, as Lex uses his unique combination of technology to investigate the future – and finds a world where he’s been acknowledged as the greatest genius to ever live. The world’s been reinvented in his image, he and his fellow villains are seen as the greatest heroes to ever live – and all Lex can focus on is the great tragedy that he was not there to see it happen, having died thousands of years ago. And really, that’s the ultimate Lex Luthor story, isn’t it? He’s all about ego. He would rather be a villain than know that his heroism only came after he was gone and couldn’t experience it. There’s quite a few macguffins in this issue, including a mysterious sigil that symbolizes “Doom” and becomes the core of Luthor’s new plan for his Legion, but all the mysteries set up here are fascinating. You’ve got a compelling group of villains, a plan that feels like it’s come closer to success than any before it, and a central character who is undeniably evil yet still fascinatingly human. This is how you do a Justice League run – by giving the characters enemies who can push them to the limit. Can’t wait to see where Snyder and Tynion take this next.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.