JUSTICE LEAGUE #5/ Writer: James Tynion IV/ Artist: Doug Mahnke/ Colorist: Wil Quintana/ Letterer: Tom Napolitano/ Publisher: DC Comics/ Release Date: August 1st, 2018
“F*** Justice. Embrace Doom.”
With those words, Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom set out to remake the universe in their image. But how did Luthor assemble such a motley crew? And what is his endgame? Justice League #5 not only answers both of those questions, it paints a terrifying future for our team of heroes.
The issue follows Luthor after the events of Justice League: No Justice, as he wrestles with the horrifying truth that mankind is hurtling towards its own doom. Justice, order, morals-it’s all a lie. Chaos is the only constant, and Luthor decides to embrace it.
He is joined by the Legion of Doom-this current incarnation consisting of the Joker, the Cheetah, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta, and Sinestro. Luthor has discovered six hidden forces that will tip the universe towards Doom, and he has decided to grant said power to his fellow Legion members, with the promise that it will allow them to defeat their archfoes. (This writer can’t help but question the idea of giving universal power to a nihilistic psychopath like the Joker.)
The usual creative team of Scott Snyder, Jim Cheung, and Jorge Jimenez take a backseat, as James Tynion IV and Doug Mahnke take the respective reigns of writer and artist. Tynion and Snyder have worked together in the past (most recently on No Justice) so it’s no surprise that Tynion fits this title like a glove. He dives deep into Luthor’s mind, showing us the method behind the madness, and reels us in. By the time the issue is over, you’ll sit back and say “I get it.” The mark of a great villain is that even if you wholeheartedly disagree with their choices, you at least understand why they do what they do. And Tynion succeeds in this particular aspect.
Doug Mahnke takes over art duties, joined by his regular colorist Wil Quintana. Having seen Mahnke’s work on titles like Justice League Elite, I know he can draw the hell out of some villains. And he brings his A-game here-Grodd towers over everyone, Sinestro has mastered his RBF, and the Joker’s face will haunt your nightmares. Quintana’s colors add to the menace-one panel features the iconic Hall of Doom in the middle of a lake of lava, with streams of flame wrapping around the obsidian dome. Truly, a chilling sight.
Snyder has gone on record to say that every fifth issue of Justice League will focus on the Legion and their endgame; and to that I only have one thing to say.
Embrace Doom, my friends. For it is glorious.
VERDICT: 5 out of 5 Halls of Doom.