Comic Book Review: Justice League #17
Last week’s Justice League Annual #1 was one hell of a chapter for this series when it was all or nothing to repair the Source Wall. At this point we should have all guessed that accomplishing this was going to be easier said than done. It was actually probably for the best that the League’s mission ended the way it did since there was so much groundwork laid for bigger wheels to turn. Surely we all would have wanted to see what the worst case scenario could look like, or how dangerous this Perpetua could be. It says a lot when heroes of this power level are shoved against a wall.
I have to say that I was taken back by what awaited us through the pages of Justice League #17. After what happened in the Justice League Annual? One would have assumed that we were preparing to jump into bigger things between either the Justice League or the Legion of Doom. The idea that we would take an issue to explore Martian Manhunter’s decision to take matters into his own hands and negotiate a peace with Legion of Doom leader Lex Luthor was a bit strange. More so in the sense that we were slowing the pace again instead of continuing to climb with what is at stake now in the multiverse. It took some time trying not to judge this decision right away since some of the issues like this one turned out to be very memorable. In honesty, it was probably about time that they found that one spot to take a step back and address Martian Manhunter’s motivations. Especially if we want to know how the answers he seek will help progress this story.
For Martian Manhunter, this story was somewhat engaging for the fact that we were seeing a different side to life as a Green Martian. Not to mention a new experience of J’onn’s from when he was a child. One half just barely dodges making you feel like you were taking one trip too many to his past, while the other makes up for this by sharing something completely new. Honestly I did not know what to expect from J’onn finding this friend he has been looking for. However, when he got his answer? I was shocked by what was revealed to us about these two enemy’s intertwined pasts. Well maybe I shouldn’t have been too shocked considering the use of words to explain why J’onn would reach out to Lex Luthor of all people, but it was all the same a cool development that makes the end game for the fate of the multiverse even more uncertain.
Lex himself was a treat to see in this capacity. He agreed to this meeting with his own goals in mind, but there was no preparing for the reluctance he could experienced when faced with expectations which did not meet his own. You know he loves to control a situation, yet this was not one of those times for him. This took Lex out of his comfort zone and made the obstacles they faced on this planet more exciting.
Jumping back to Justice League after the annual, we again could enjoy the interior work of Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, Walden Wong, and Tomeu Morey. Great work all around for the strong focus that went into J’onn, Lex, and the world around them. The rough pencils were a great fit as well considering the setting of the story. J’onn’s planet isn’t the most welcoming in terms of terrain. That much we could see right away between the relics of his past and the creatures who still dwell within. All of it was rendered in satisfying detail. It was a unique design that went into those creatures as well since they shared some features with martians, while still looking untamed. Aside from that, it was engaging to see how expressive they could make J’onn and Lex. Every reaction and gesture mattered for how personal this story turned out to be. One was consistently angered for a situation out of his control, and the other a little all over the place because getting through to Lex is no easy task. Beyond that, there was also some colors used in the flashbacks which stood out for the distinct neon tones that made them pop.
Justice League #17 honestly impressed me. It was hard not feeling worry that this would have felt like a filler issue in contrast to the other issues that were self-contained. Once again I was reminded that this is a creative team to have faith in for their ability to emphasize the importance of a story with depth. Characters matter, and that is the best takeaway from a team book as ambitious as this one.