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‘Justice League #2’ (review)

Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Jorge Jimenez
Published by DC Comics

 

“Lex Luthor was not a man to put much stock in the truth. It had never gotten him very far, is how he saw it. But three months ago, in a town hall in Kansas, all of that changed…”

Well it’s issue #2 of the Justice League and the Legion of Doom, and the mayhem continues.

Call it a testament to how effectively Scott Snyder’s brought this off, but it’s growing on me.

Sure, the moon’s still broken.

One assumes.

But we’ve moved on to much more urgent matters by now.

There’s a large, partially formed Godhead in the Nevada desert with unfathomable power, and the League still doesn’t know quite enough about it.

Just that The Source Wall’s ‘Totality’ is wildly mutating anything that gets too close in.

Unpleasantly.

What’s a Justice League to do? Work a little Justice League magic that’s what.

One of Scott Snyder’s strengths is the ability to bring a fresh perspective to….everything. Liberally. That means the League and their colleagues are sure to have no shortage of inventive new ways to combine their strengths and get the job done. It’s pretty clear Mr. Snyder’s going to go too far with that at times – not every idea can be a winner, and restraint doesn’t seem to be in his vocabulary – but it’s just as clear that the idealization of teamwork and family regularly needed to manage the utterly fantastic lives of the League, is all in very good hands.

Which makes the tragedy that befalls Green Lantern John Stewart in this issue all the harder to watch unfold. But we’ve been hearing about the Ultraviolet Lanterns for months now. They can wait till next issue.

For now, I’ll keep the focus where it’s deserved. The story Scott Snyder seems most eager to tell: The New True History of Lex Luthor.

We don’t get too many answers, in this issue, to all the questions that have been piling up in Mr. Snyder’s universe since well before Justice League #1, much less then. True to his signature style however we do get a good many more clues, and a lot to chew on.

Seems there are new potentials accessible and abroad in the universe since The Source Wall’s been breached. Which we’ve heard before. But now, finally, we begin to see some method in the madness, with a window into exactly how grave the fallout of all this may be.

It seems that unseen and hidden forces, or hitherto unrealized ones at any rate, have been unleashed within our reality, and together they are the key to controlling the power of the Totality. Dark forces, equal in strength to those embodied and idealized by the League. (Which is pretty specific. And nicely balanced.)

So, how do we know this? Why, because of Lex of course. How does he know it? Good question.

Something – or someone – has been opening new doorways of understanding for Luthor, with brand new pathways of potential to exploit. What that something is remains unclear. What we do know is that on the other side of Lex’s magic doorknob is a tremendous trove of knowledge – knowledge which has transformed him from a man perhaps ruthless in his quest for power, into one with an almost maniacal certainty in his own glorious destiny.

There’s an edge of madness to it. It’s undeniably fun. And it works.

Traditionally, one of Luthor’s greatest strengths as a villain is that he’s always the Man with the Plan.

Now suddenly, for some reason, it appears he’s been given the Ultimate Edge, on the cusp of an Event seemingly sure to bestow undreamed of power to whomsoever has the conviction and the boldness to claim it all.

Luthor, true to form, means to be that man. It’s the perfect set up for the perfect evil master scheme, (because it sure does seem evil) and Luthor embraces it with the fervor of a man who seems to feel he simply cannot lose.

Probably there’s a good reason for that.

Fate has come knocking for Lex Luthor, and the result is the return of a version of a villain we haven’t seen for a good long while. It’s the version of Luthor we always know is there. The one we love to hate. Indeed, it’s a version that’s just possibly more unhinged, outrageous and psychotic then we’ve ever seen before. Which would be saying something.

And is exactly as it should be.

It’s a new day, and a grand big, bigger universe. What better way to reinstate Lex Luthor to his rightful place in the DCU as the premiere bad-guy villain that he is, and the one, true leader of a truly dangerous Legion of Doom? The very same way you up the ante on a Justice League who always, it seems, has the winning hand. By giving our heroes a challenge they just can’t afford to lose… with every card stacked against them.

Just as he did with the Joker in his run on Batman, Snyder seems set on using his time on the Justice League to plumb the dark depths of Luthor’s megalomaniacal soul. It’s an excellent take on a classic villain, with ramifications galore (one guesses) for everyone and everything.

God only knows how it’ll all turn out. But even with the Justice League on their A-game, it’s very clear by now that things aren’t going to go particularly according to plan

Unless you’re Scott Snyder that is.

Or Lex Luthor.

Good luck Justice League. You’re going to need it. *Cue evil laugh* The Man with the Plan is back.

Big Time.

Next Time: Ultraviolet Blues!

 

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