What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Justice League #39! Last month was a big moment when the Justice League would rise higher than they ever did before in this event. This last stretch of the Justice/Doom War has been brilliant because this creative team really dug their nails into what defines a hero. Not only this, but what defines good and chaos. This was never a fight that needed to be won by being the strongest heroes out there, it was one which needed to be fought with the idea that your ideals should matter more than anything else.
This chapter was honestly a long time coming. It was empowering to see Martian Manhunter step back into the battle and instantly take control like no other hero has up to this point. What you always appreciated about his presence is that it never meant that these heroes were about to run over the villains. It meant that we were stepping into a whole new game. One where the aim was going to be doing more than punching or blasting the other person into submission. It was hopeful, uplifting, even endearing to jump into the mind of MM to see how he connects to the universe around him. Some things he said that of course we heard before, but what was more important than that was how he said it. There was this change in diction when he spoke which gets you personally. It helped that in fact it felt like he was talking to every one of us personally. Even if he wasn’t addressing us as the readers, his speech was direct enough that you could have easily felt his words being directed to us. That is as engaging as it gets.
Speaking of this never being a fight that needed to be won by being the strongest heroes out there, it was clever how even in this chapter they found a way to shake things up. I’m sure that most of us would have assumed that this was it. That someone as powerful as Martian Manhunter would be unleashed back into the universe and turn the tides in one go. How easy that would have been…. So I’m impressed that this creative team realized this and at the same time went a step further to continue raising the stakes past where you would have thought they couldn’t go any higher.
With that said, I’m sure that there will be some readers out there who get to the end of this issue and feel as though this also leaves a lot up in the air. The reality is that there is much left in the air for interpretation. Even if that doesn’t seem like the case to some, it is hard to say it can’t be to others. There are plenty of ways that this could have been wrapped up now. However, to me I believe this creative team did the best they could trying to focus on the symbolism more than the action. That is something we should all admire when most event books fail us because the endgame is choosing style over substance. This book, especially as we reached closer to the end did not fail us in acknowledging the symbolism that these heroes represented. The things they needed to even remember themselves that they represented in the face of overwhelming odds.
At the end of the road, I was blown away that with this issue they brought almost everyone back to have a hand in rendering the visuals of this conclusion. Normally I might find this troublesome because we might find ourselves shifting between one too many different styles. Fortunately? Justice League since the first issue was never a book which gave me an art team which disappointed. I felt like every time I picked up a new issue, at the very least the cover art and interior art would be nothing to worry about. If there was anything you really noticed in this issue specifically, it was the differing stroke patterns. One had a lighter tough, one was a bit rougher, the other was bolder. It definitely helped that there was only two colorists too. There’s a sense of uniformity you gain when the colors create a smoother transition from one pencil style into the next. The colors in particular I must say were stunning. The combined effort of these two colorists made this a blockbuster finish. Their selection was bold, it had depth, and it took advantage of everything that is supposed to glow and pop about a battle on a universal scale.