JUSTICE LEAGUE #2 / Writer: Scott Snyder / Artist: Jorge Jimenez / Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez / Letterer: Tom Napolitano/ Cover Artist: Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez / Publisher: DC Comics / June 20, 2018
Take the best parts of the Super Friends, the 2000’s Justice League cartoon, and Grant Morrison’s JLA run, and you’ll get what this Justice League run tries to—and mostly succeeds in—achieving. Scott Snyder’s (Batman and American Vampire) and Jorge Jimenez’s (Super Sons and Earth 2: Society) run on the flagship team book does a lot of things right, such as highlighting Green Lantern John Stewart and fearlessly messing around with the DC Universe by randomly inviting Swamp Thing or Killer Croc into an issue. There are also a number of things that are not quite right, like having a weird moment about how Hawkgirl’s wings are now metal—as if readers couldn’t see that.
Snyder presents some clever ideas in Justice League #2 that could be really cool, such as Batman and Hawkgirl shrinking down to ride within Superman and Martian Manhunter when they go out to check the Totality. It is also nice to receive confirmation of Lex Luther’s return to villainy, highlighted by some truly evil moments and monologues. Swamp Thing taking the form of Batman so he could talk to John Stewart was brilliant, and I certainly don’t have a problem with Flash driving a Speed Force car while his powers are on the fritz. I can see some readers being upset because he’s a runner not a driver, but the car just looks cool.
One fun fact Luther points out is that Doom can also mean Fate, which seems important to point out. It makes the Legion of Doom seem like they’re saving the world somehow, despite most of the villain team just wanting to kill their enemies in the Justice League. Meanwhile, everyone in the League gets a special moment. Even if Wonder Woman and Aquaman only get a single panel to comment on the Totality, Snyder still uses the whole cast.
The main question I have about this book is, “Who is the narrator?” I went back to the first issue to refresh my memory. It was just narration, which can be fine, but I haven’t seen that in DC comic in a while. It makes this feel more like a book with pictures rather than the sequential storytelling of comic books. I hope the narration goes somewhere. Otherwise, the only pros about this book are the presence of John Stewart, appearance of random characters, and some semblance of a story that yearns to be more. It hurts me to write that because Justice League #2 has everything a Justice League fan and comic need—a proven A-List writer, like Snyder, a talented artist in Jorge Jimenez, and a vibrant colorist such as Alejandro Sanchez. It also gives us a diverse team of heroes with varying attributes, something for a variety of readers.
I’m really happy this issue focused on John Stewart, not just because he’s the Green Lantern from the animated series—the one to whom I and several other nerds were first introduced—but because John Stewart is such a team player. Back in Justice Society of America #1 (2007) Geoff Johns wrote Batman saying, “The Justice League is a Task Force, that makes John Stewart the best Lantern for the League.” Coming from the mindset of both a marine and and an architect, Stewart helps the Justice League make objective decisions.
I probably wouldn’t have noticed the other flaws if Hawkgirl didn’t unnecessarily point out her wings were metal. She could have talked about needing to find herself. That would have been fine, but the readers can see the metal wings! Additionally, there are a couple of jokes about being inside Superman that are more uncomfortable than funny.
The book is still worth picking up, especially if you love these characters, and my gut feeling says this may be a slow burn. Perhaps the book builds off the past issues and will improve as the series progresses. Snyder’s built up enough credibility with me to earn a story arc to see where the Justice League’s going. Here’s to hoping the creative team can pull off something truly great.
Verdict: 3 out of 5