Justice League #13 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Guillem March, Artist; Arif Prianto, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Have I Mentioned I Hate Joker Stories?
Ray: In the aftermath of Drowned Earth, it’s time to turn to the villains once again. The Legion of Doom is down a member after Black Manta went rogue and met his fate last week, so Luthor’s putting together a little recruitment drive. Villains ranging from Scarecrow to Chronos are descending on the Legion’s secret base to join the group controlling the Totality. But Luthor may have another, bigger problem right under his nose. A flashback segment to Joker’s recruitment shows the live-wire act Luthor has been dealing with the whole time, keeping a coiled serpent from striking by making him a simple promise. Joker’s hatred for The Batman Who Laughs – an ace in the hole Luthor has been keeping secret – makes a lot of sense given their interaction in Dark Night: Metal, and is a rare moment of lucidity from the deranged clown. But as we know, Luthor didn’t keep his promise, and so this issue is the culmination of that simmering tension – just as the base fills with dozens of the DCU’s deadliest villains.
Sure enough, just before Luthor is able to begin interviews, Joker springs his “present” – customized Joker gas for every single member of the Legion and potential members. Luthor finds himself the only sane man against an army of villains – and Joker’s sabotaged his power suit. The Joker-Luthor team-up as been a common feature of most supervillain stories for a long time, because they’re both so iconic as their hero’s archnemesis. But really, it’s a recipe for disaster and this issue plays out that disaster in far more dramatic fashion than usual. The tension of Luthor’s escape is great, and it’s the perfect farewell from Joker to the Legion of Doom – that partnership was never going to last. The Batman Who Laughs will next be seen in his own story in a few weeks, while Luthor rebuilds his team – now down to four members – and continues to plague the Justice League. Tynion has been supplementing Snyder’s Justice League with some of the best villain-centric stories in recent memory.
Corrina: If you like Joker stories, this is one of the better recent ones, featuring Joker at his most unpredictable and dangerous. The close-ups of Joker are enough to give readers nightmares. The push-pull between Luthor and the Joker and how little they can trust each other works, as does the Joker’s great plan to torment Luthor.
However, Joker stories have never interested me. If they interest you, however, this is a story you must read. The only story problem with this issue is that it sets up something to happen, brilliantly, and then the end sort of collapses, with the “to-be-continued” for the Batman-Who-Laughs story. Great. More of the guy with spikes for eyes.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.