Review – Justice League #16: The Truth About Mars

Comic Books DC This Week
Justice League #16
Justice League #16 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Justice League #16 – Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Writers; Jim Cheung, Stephen Segovia, Artists; Mark Morales, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Wil Quintana, Colorists


Ray – 8.5/10

Corrina: Source Walls & Totality

Ray: The conclusion to Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV’s big Thanagar Prime arc in Justice League #16 surprisingly, turns out to be very little about Thanagar Prime and more about Mars. When we last left off, J’onn J’onnz had fought his way to the central vault on Thanagar Prime and discovered the sole remaining Green Martian beside him – a very old woman who is being used as a repository of Martian knowledge. She’s dying, and this is J’onn’s last chance to find out the truth about the Totality. Since the first issue, the threat of the mysterious Perpetua has been looming over the title, and while Snyder and Tynion have kept her vague the threat level ramps up with every bit of information they drop. But the bigger reveal this issue is tied directly to J’onn’s past – a major retcon that reveals he has a massive tie to the origins of both Earth and Mars. This is something that’s also a huge reveal that doesn’t seem to be reflected in the big origin miniseries Orlando and Rossmo are doing right now.

The other major storyline, of course, involves Shayera and her iron rule over Thanagar Prime. With each issue that passed, it became more clear that she’s barely hanging on psychologically and relying on her control of a powerful artifact to keep the world running. This issue we finally see her face off against her other half, Hawkgirl. Kendra seems to be in a bad spot and only escapes thanks to J’onn managing to get inside Shayera’s mind – but that leaves them trapped in the unbreakable vault. Thankfully, the mysterious Starman is on hand to kick off the next major arc of the series, which is going to take the Justice League beyond this dimension. The one subplot here that didn’t really work for me is John Stewart squabbling with the Green Lantern Corps. Isn’t John technically leader? Why are the Guardians back to tying the Lanterns’ hands behind their back? The space politics of Thanagar Prime were a bit vague, but the arc as a whole was a great, high-octane Justice League arc.

Justice League #16
The legend of Perpetua. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: This was my favorite arc of the series because the stakes were so personal.

The idea of the totality and the Source Wall are large and amorphous ones to wrap the head around as plot devices. But this arc featured personal stakes. J’Onn wanted to uncover his history and save the last Green Martian, Kendra wanted to find out what had become of Thanagar, and Shayera wanted to save her planet and her people. Meanwhile, Starman wished to handle himself before he could detonate and destroy lots of stuff.

None of them quite got what they wanted (Well, Starman didn’t go boom), but they all got what they needed. J’Onn has troubling answers to his question but he also has a chance to save his adopted home. Kendra has answers about her connection to Thanagar and now she’s been forever given her own identity. Shayera has a new chance to save her home, if not Katar. (One wonders if Perpetua is the mysterious woman in Hawkman’s visions in his title?)

Now, simply to fix the Source Wall. No biggie, right?

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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