Review by Frank Plowright
Whatever anyone might have predicted for the opening chapter of this collection following the devastating events of The Sixth Dimension, it surely wasn’t Jarro vs. the Legion of Doom. It’s simultaneously ridiculous and an idea so out of the box that it might just succeed.
Without giving the game away, let’s point out that another ten chapters follow. The sample art from Jorge Jimenez lays out the core of Scott Snyder’s plot coherently, and it’s subsequently pointed out that each universal force has an opposite most recently released from captivity. An unimaginably powerful being called Perpetua controls these forces, and due to being nurtured by Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom she’s almost back to full strength.
A group of superheroes in a desperate battle they’re unlikely to win is a superhero standby, but the sheer amount of pages over four previous volumes that Snyder has devoted to building up the threat and foiling the Justice League’s attempts to prevent it lift this into another class. True, the road has been rocky, especially at the start, but this is a finale that counts. Well, with a caveat we’ll get to. Along the way there are trips to the past and to the future, the return of some DC favourites and the joy of seeing the Justice League alongside them, and the delight of a Justice League team comprising the most unlikely set of characters. At every point Snyder and collaborator James Tynion IV offer hope, and then snatch it away inducing despair. Despite that, so many small items seeded over the previous four graphic novels have their part to play, considered insignificant when introduced, but slotting into the master plan so effectively.
Almost every artist who’s contributed to the series to date draws part of a chapter, but it’s Jimenez who’s been the soul of the series, extrapolating Snyder’s visions and co-plotting some details himself. He starts and finishes the story, provides some stunning spreads featuring dozens of characters, and throws his heart and soul into the pages.
Something pleasing beyond a thrilling story well drawn is that there are plenty of Year of the Villain tie-ins, but they have barely any relevance to the primary story, and despite its magnitude that story is contained within Justice/Doom War.
However, there is a major caveat regarding how good this is. A lot of people will hate the ending. It’s original, and it’s wacky, but is it satisfying? Perhaps having reached it, the mop-up was inevitable, so why go through the motions of several more chapters to show it, like that game of Risk where the winner is apparent an hour before the end. Ultimately, it’s lazy writing. Snyder has more than enough creativity to have conceived a rapid way of closing things down more attuned to a story that’s taken almost fifty chapters to tell (allowing for the prelude of No Justice and the diversion of Drowned Earth), and the audience deserved better. It doesn’t erase the thrills of everything else here, but it’s very damaging.
The reset button has been set, and Robert Venditti picks up the Justice League with Vengeance is Thine. Justice League by Scott Snyder Book Three supplies this content in hardback.