Justice League #39 – Scott Snyder, Writer; Jorge Jimenez, Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, Artists; Alejandro Sanchez, Hi-Fi, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Political Commentary? Depends on How You Read It
Ray: Justice League #39 is the culmination of one of the most ambitious runs on Justice League in modern memory, with Scott Snyder’s run spanning every DC past and future as the League went up against a dark God from the beginning of time.
It upgraded Luthor into the biggest threat he’s ever been, brought back the most powerful DC villain of all time in the Anti-Monitor, and may be the defining storyarc for Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter. But it’s ending a little earlier than I expected in anticipation of the big summer event by Snyder and Capullo, and this ambiguous final issue, Justice League #38, makes me wonder if every beat of the run was realized here. When we last left off, J’onn J’onnz was resurrected by the sacrifice of his alternate-reality son Shayne, and returned just in time for a psychic showdown with Perpetua. The stakes couldn’t be higher – the choice of every living being in the universe between justice and doom, as the crux of Perpetua’s plan finally comes to fruition.
Luthor has relatively little to do this issue, but his one major line speaks volumes and promises a very interesting future for the character. And then the story takes a very surprising, very dark twist as the Justice League finds themselves out of time and space and facing some mystical power brokers who have apparently been working behind the scenes for this entire run. There are some surprising guest stars here, and a dramatic last-page scene of the League renewing their battle. But there are a LOT of unanswered questions here, and it’s hard to see this as an actual conclusion of the run.
Given the implications of this last issue, how are we just going to pick up next week with a Robert Venditti story about the League fighting the Eradicator? Snyder and Tynion turned this run into a fascinating spine for the entire DCU as the battle with Perpetua defined the entire DCU for the last year. It’s hard to review this run as a conclusion, because it’s not one, and the legacy of this story is yet to be determined as it likely spins off into something much bigger.
Corrina: First, one contrary opinion: I don’t feel this run has defined Hawkgirl at all save as J’onn’s new love interest and Shayne’s mother. It’s been good for J’onn but Hawkgirl has been decidedly on the sidelines, stuck in a story that’s essentially not about her at all.
I can’t argue with the rest but what Ray deems a dark twist, I read (because, we as readers always bring something to a story) as a commentary on current political events. To spoil what happens, the JL eventually is in the position, via J’onn, to reach out to all of Earth’s citizens to choose hope over their own selfish concerns.
Humanity chooses to turn against hope and togetherness. It’s explained in the story as Perpetua’s meddling with her creations but I look around at the world right now and I cannot help but see this as a statement about what humanity values in our world right now. And this story comes down on the side of humanity ultimately doing the wrong thing.
That’s an unsettling conclusion to reach in a genre dedicated to hope, no matter how grounded it might be in the truth of the world around us. The end of the tale has Perpetua recreating the universe, with the JL having one door to do something…magical? Hopeful? We’ll see, eventually, I suppose.
But what lingers from this run right now is that humanity doesn’t respect itself, the heroes fail, and an all-powerful being with little concern for individuals remade the universe in her own image.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.