Justice League #22 Review

By: Rob Gruszecki

            A frightened woman tears into a fortune teller’s establishment seeking a deeper meaning from twisted nightmares that have plagued her as of late. As tarot cards are drawn they begin to reveal an upcoming war between superpowers. Heroes, warriors, detectives, messengers, kings, magicians, freaks, thieves, misfits, assassins, spirits, savages, archers and aliens will clash in a battle that will devastate the Earth. A trinity will collapse after a box of sin is unleashed before the most powerful of them all and the unthinkable is perpetuated in a terminal burst of light.

Trinity War part one has finally made its way onto comic stands, a story that has been teased since the infancy of the DC New 52 and continuously sprinkled throughout the line’s continuity. The slow draw of the curtain that hid three Trinity of Sin members behind it has widened a little more finally introducing the Question into the mix and beginning to explain Pandora’s relevance in the overall landscape of this new world. While it is still a mystery it is certainly an enjoyable one to witness unfold in the pages of Justice League each month.


The crossover will be contained in Justice League and Justice League Dark issues 22 & 23 and Justice League of America issues 6 & 7 and will be the catalyst for the upcoming Forever Evil mini-series from Geoff Johns and David Finch in October where the villains of the DCU will take over and reign free amongst the wasteland left behind. While the lead up to the war in the three books specifically has been mediocre for the most part (JLA feels like it has been coasting on autopilot while JLD is just a bit of a goofy mess at times) it is really great to see everything explode in this first installment of a story that has clearly been in the back of Johns’ mind for a while now.


The events that lead up to an all out brawl between leagues is a harrowing and saddening one and without spoiling anything I think it is a clever and safe execution on Johns’ part that will surely ignite outrage and shock from comic fans to get excitement and controversy brewing. There are clearly larger forces at work behind a lot of the character motivations in Trinity War and the machinations of evil masterminds orchestrating this enormous blowout are pretty heavy handed but not in a way that necessarily hurts the book, instead it just kind of rounds off any jagged edges that the book’s depiction of beloved characters might perpetuate.


Geoff Johns really shines when he gets to write an enormous ensemble of the most well known to the most obscure DCU characters beating each other to a pulp which is exactly why series like Infinite Crisis and Blackest Night are such high points in the writer’s career. Trinity War part one becomes exactly that very quickly and it is a blast to read as everything falls to pieces for the heroes of Earth. A highlight of the book is a fight between Shazaam and Superman where Billy’s reaction to knocking down Superman is one of pure glee that really made me laugh. Johns’ handle on the Shazaam myth and Batson family cast has been a consistent high point of the New 52. Although some panels and dialogue in this first chapter of Trinity War were deserving of an eye-roll or two (“Who is the evil behind the evil?” and a small panel showing the Phantom Stranger standing over the graves of the Kents announcing in the third person that it is time he got involved spring to mind pretty immediately) all is forgiven as they are just small and silly gripes with a pretty solid book overall.


Ivan Reis, who handles pencils in the Justice League camp of crossover titles and has been the artist on the series since Jim Lee left last year, is always responsible for stunning work and here is no different. From his work in Blackest Night (also with Johns) to his tenure on Aquaman carrying over into Justice League, Reis has consistently doled out some of the best pages in superhero comics I have seen with hyper detail and a chaotic, busy style that is madness to witness. Many full and double page splashes are expertly drawn in this first chapter in Trinity War and a particular favorite of mine has a crazed Superman battling a morphing Martian Manhunter while the JLA and JL members duke it out in the background that I could stare at for hours.


Justice League Issue #22 was a great read as a DC fanboy, bringing to a head a lot of the dangling threads that have been present since the ending of Flashpoint before the New 52 and putting all of DC’s heavy hitters and auxiliary members in the foreground diffusing potentially dangerous situations by hitting them really hard. The accessibility is of course limited but for anyone not reading the three titles congruently, a simple two minute you tube clip posted by DC of Geoff Johns explaining the status quo will be worth a watch to jump on and enjoy what is in store.


Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior

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