Review – Justice League #28: Parlay Before the War

Comic Books DC This Week
Justice League #28 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Justice League #28 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Javier Fernandez, Artist; Daniel Sampere, Penciller; Juan Albarran, Inker; Hi-Fi, Colorist


Ray – 9/10

Ray: As James Tynion continues to handle writing duties on the lead-up to the Justice-Doom War, he proves once again that the bridge storylines can be just as compelling as the main event. This story of Justice League #28 is essentially a second act of the parlay between J’onn J’onnz and Lex Luthor that we saw before the last arc, as it’s made clear just how far gone Luthor is after his recent transformation.

J’onn and Hawkgirl are on the hunt for Luthor, but before they can reach him, J’onn gets a psychic transmission from Luthor that instructs him to knock out Hawkgirl psychically and enter his secret base alone. The addition of this secret past between J’onn and Luthor is a fascinating wrinkle, one that works far better for me than the more famous retcon that Superman and Luthor were childhood friends. This subplot is particularly poignant due to the idea of the lost potential in Luthor – he was briefly a genuinely good person before things went horribly wrong due to his father.

Into the spider’s web. Via DC Comics.

The scenes between these two main characters are essentially a scholarly debate over the nature of humanity and our destiny – be it coexistence or conquest. Luthor has essentially become a cultist of Perpetua, and he’s self-aware enough to realize that this is the first time he’s truly been part of something bigger than himself. But that doesn’t stop him when he initiates a horrific betrayal of J’onn, resulting in another disturbing transformation.

I also love the work Orlando and now Tynion have been doing with the unique nature of Martian biology lately. The other subplots vary – one involving the League searching for the Anti-Monitor and finding a massacre on Qward and an ambush drags a little bit, but a “Justice League Day Care” plot featuring Starman wrangling Jarro and Shayne is a delight and makes me want a spin-off. The core of this issue, though, is the interplay between the two characters who seem to be the core of Snyder’s run – and the stakes have just been raised massively.

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

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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