Overview: The Legion of Doom swing their killing blow, but the Justice League turn the tables and gain a fighting chance.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): The Joker’s origins have always been a source of contention. Was he always a killer? A washed-up comedian? A troubled child, or a normal one? To the Joker, it doesn’t matter. For jokes have many different set ups. The punch line is the only thing that matters. And with the sentient ultraviolet sun, known as Umbrax, that is now liberating Earth from the lies that humanity has told itself, people with finally see the joke of a life they’ve lived and then laugh.
John and Victor are inside the Hall of Justice. Cyborg is trying to call out for reinforcements from the Multiverse before it’s too late. Sinestro calls out for John to give in to his feelings.
Inside the Totality, a Joker controlled Martian Manhunter and a Luthor controlled Superman break through the shell and make their way to its core. Luthor reaches out to feel the power. Something reaches back. The windshield shatters and Luthor is tossed out of the cockpit. It’s Batman. He used a kryptonite ring to escape the jaws of the mutated DNA of Superman. The two begin to fight. Batman is trying to keep the doorknob away from Luthor while Superman’s body approaches the core. He does the math in his head. They are going to need a miracle.
At the Legion’s base on the ocean floor, Flash uses any amount of energy he can muster to move toward Grodd. Grodd is impressed but walks away. Manta and Cheetah make their way to the armory. Cheetah takes the Key to the Graveyard of Gods and Manta takes the Tear of Extinction. With these artifacts, they have now unlocked four of the seven sources of power.
Batman and Luthor continue to fight for the doorknob. Joker uses J’onn to give Luthor the upper hand. Kendra comes to, knocks out Joker, and tries to get J’onn back in control of his body. Batman will win. He always does. Except this time, he doesn’t. Luthor grabs the knob, and with its power, breaks every one of Batman’s limbs, and then banishes him, J’onn, and Superman back to the Hall of Justice where John and Cyborg are. John realizes that nothing is blocking his connection to the ultraviolet light, meaning he has control over it, and that means if he can do that, then not all hope it’s lost for the others under the influence of Umbrax. This changes everything. Flash has an idea; they stop fighting the forces and instead give into them. Superman places Batman in the med bay and it places an exoskeleton on his limbs. John gets into Flash’s Speed Force car and Superman launches him out of the Hall. Just as this is happening, Manta and Cheetah start firing at their base with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Flash still inside. As the Earth plunges into darkness, Flash slows down the entire Earth, J’onn connects the human race and John races around the world. This brings light to the dark. Luthor reaches out to unlock the Multiverse when the knob changes color to blue and its symbol now resembles a fountain, going from a symbol of Doom to one meaning Justice. Luthor forgot to banish Hawkgirl. With new glowing wings, she stops Luthor. Elsewhere, Joker is about to take his bow, when he realizes that someone else told a better joke.
The Earth now glows, a brilliant white light shining from the northern hemisphere. Penetrating the dark clutches of death. A symbol of life. The White Lantern.
Analysis: This may be Scott Snyder’s weakest issue in the run so far. While I am still enjoying this series we do feel like we are spinning our tires at this point. The story has definitely slowed, allowing it to reach that magic number that DC likes to put into trades. I do think we could have condensed this down one less issue and it would have helped. I am still enjoying the way Snyder has balanced out the cast in a way where he can have multiple character-focused issues happening in a story. Barry to a lesser degree, but John and J’onn have been standouts in this arc and I look forward to seeing how this story closes out with them. Luthor had definitely been the focus of this book overall and I’m curious to see how that plays out as this series continues. Will we still follow Luthor for the next forty issues, or will it change from arc to arc? Snyder’s pacing was still pretty good here, as the story ramped up as we approached issues end. His dialogue was fine until we get to Batman and Luthor… Particularly Batman. Which is weird, considering he’s worked on Batman for nearly his entire career… Let me show you:
That’s bad. Really bad. That does not sound like Bruce. Heck, I don’t care who you are, you don’t banter like that. There are a few other lines that aren’t great between these two, but this was the first and by far the worst of the bunch. I know I’m doing the compliment sandwich all wrong and just talking out the points as they come to me, but please Mr. Snyder, listen to what I’m saying. Do better with the dialogue. Especially with the character that you’ve written the longest.
Jorge Jimenez is amazing to me. I can’t believe the dude can draw this many issues this quickly. Think about it, he’s had four issues come out in six months and they are quality art. The guy is good at what he does. My only complaint would be his panel layout on the very first page. Having a panel in the top left corner and for some reason have it be read as your second panel did not work… I read it first, then realized what happened, and had to start over. It took me out from the start, although the rest of the issue read very well. His layouts from then on were easy to read and were dynamic on top of that.
Alejandro Sanchez’s colors look great. The guy always blows me away how vibrant his colors are, and yet he doesn’t wash out the page. Tom Napolitano letters this issue and does a fine job. The possessed Clark and J’onn fonts were creepy and were a nice touch. He also has a different font from what we’ve seen used on the Joker over the last couple of years… Is that an indicator of one of the other Jokers?…
Final Thoughts: An alright issue, with some rough dialogue and great art. I’m curious to see how things close out next issue.