Nothing like a good anniversary issue to look forward to! Especially for Justice League which has by far been one of the strongest ongoings for DC at this time. With this being the anniversary issue, I couldn’t help but reflect on the journey to this point in the story. I still remember when I almost couldn’t see myself during the first issues of this book. Sometimes this can be one of those books where the creative teams go a bit overboard with plot. They go big, intricate, complex, and run that risk of losing readers to something that tries to be smarter than it needs to be. Fortunately we have here a Justice League where captivated by everything genuine about these heroes, and what they have accomplished facing overwhelming odds.
Speaking of overwhelming odds, this chapter was no different for the Justice League. It was thrilling to see this team that has both lost Batman and Superman, and still find themselves fighting an uphill battle to cling to their ideals. Even if part of me admits that Batman is right in spite of the price paid for this perfect future, there was no denying what can be achieved when you don’t forsake what you stand for to take the easy way out. We were knocked at the edge of our seats when just facing their future selves was a challenge considering they have been there, done that, and have mastery over powers they have yet to fully achieve. All of this also made the actions of Batman so captivating. Here’s this guy who sees the logical solution, but logic just can’t overcome the passion that the rest of this team has to fight for a better future. It’s not so often that you will see Batman so shaken up either. That says a lot about what was on the line in this moment and they did not once let us forget the urgency as the Forger kept inching closer to making this perfect future a reality.
Now I will say this, I’m not the biggest fan of Superman. He’s just never been a DC hero who grabbed my attention because of all that he tends to be. However, the way he has been written in the ‘Sixth Dimension’ storyline? The only word I can use to describe this story is brilliant. I was crushed when Forger decided the only way to remove Superman from play was to strand him on a planet devoid of sunlight. I was hopeful with every attempt Clark continued to make to defy everything that should have kept him grounded. And then I was moved with every limit he broke to get back to his friends and family. When you talk about Superman, you always want that hope to shine bright, and I don’t think it shined brighter than it did now. Damn how you knew this was going to end, the importance lied in the journey to break free from this cage.
What was also so powerful about the writing for this issue was the narration. It almost brought a tear to my eyes because so much of what was spoken as Superman fought to reach his friends really spoke to what makes a true hero. Sometimes we forget that the most important part of a superhero is consistently reminding you of what makes them who they are. When you lose that focus, it’s not everything it could be. How they put this conflict with the World Forger to rest proved exactly that. This could have ended in a lot of ways more destructive than it actually did, and the solution they found to move forward was one that you have to dig deep to accept.
It did take till the end of the issue to finally get around to what happened with Lex and the Legion of Doom on Earth, but it was worth the wait for the results of their quite ingenious plan set into motion. Would it have been nice to see their big fake hero stunt as it happened? Sure, though for the sake of pacing it was best that we saw the aftermath. Particularly since this is the big set up for DC’s ‘Year of the Villain’ storyline. For those of us who didn’t catch up to what that was exactly, this was a good taste of what was to come due to the Justice League being gone for a moment too long.
I was blown away by what the art team was able to accomplish for this issue. When it comes to a book like Justice League, you need artists who know how to handle some monumental events and scenes set into motion. This chapter was no different between the big battle in the Sixth Dimension, Superman fighting his way out of the dark sector, and the many things which unfolded back on Earth. I was impressed by so much of this that was solid to better. Sometimes the artists will sacrifice quality to make sure they can hit that deadline, but I would say that the majority of what we got here was perfect. Especially the first half involving the fight to stop the World Forger. I mean there was just one blown up page with Superman that you could almost hang on a wall if you could. It captured everything hopeful about this hopeful powerhouse speeding through the stars. I was even shocked by how terrifying and chilling it was to see a depleted Superman who was truly struggling to find that last push for defiance. That aside, marvelous color work as well. It takes colorists who have the patience for this craft as well to go above and beyond with everything that was packed into an issue like this. What stood out most was the colors which set a mood for this story, as well as making the big action scenes pop.
Justice League #25 is so far the best issue to some out of this run so far. If you aren’t reading Justice League? Shame on you. This is a team book at it’s finest. This issue was the full package between genuine character moments, standout action sequences, plot progression, and exciting artwork. Let’s not forget the insane way that they have suddenly made the end of the multiverse seem like it’s not the worst possible end when the world has been taken by the villains.