Justice League #19 review

It’s a fine day in Metropolis. The Source Wall is broken, the Legion of Doom are trying to wake an elder god, but the Justice League members are smiling.

And they have a plan. Facing incredible omniversal forces, who better to help than one of the most powerful beings in creation?

As it happens, the League’s wrecking the Source Wall has had a deleterious effect on Mxy’s Fifth Dimensional home and so he’s willing to help. He tells the heroes about the next dimension up from his own, a place so bizarre that only his longtime antagonist, Superman, can go there and stay sane…

What happens next, I won’t spoil, because if you weren’t planning to try this issue, let me recommend it to you. Scott Snyder continues the story he’s been telling since this book’s inception, and while I’ve been wearied by the endless march of maguffins and raft of revelations – last issue’s Legion of Doom side story by Snyder’s usually entertaining protege James Tynion IV should have been called ‘Justice League Exposition’, it was such a non-stop infodump – this issue feels wonderfully refreshing. It reminds me of when Chris Roberson came in and rescued Superman from J Michael Straczynski’s Grounded arc – overnight, a pretentious pudding of a storyline became an explosion of imaginative popcorn. The heroes here take their jobs seriously, but without undue grimness, making for a hugely fun read; a new perspective on Mxy and fellow imp Bat-Mite is intriguing; and as for what happens when Mxy sends Superman through a doorway to the unknown… wow. That credits page gag about glasses is a wonderful take on an old joke, and it’s fun to see that old Mxy classic, the city that comes to life.

Jorge Jimenez is back on the art and his work is looking better than ever. From the nicely naturalistic Daily Planet scene that opens the issue to the dark final page via the marvellous Mxy mischief, this is a treat for the eye. Jimenez and colourist Alejandro Sanchez are on the same page, page after page. Jimenez is likely extra-enthusiastic because he’s co-plotting this time… good on Scott Snyder for ensuring his collaborators – and readers – have an ever-improving experience.

Letterer Tom Napolitano tones Mxy’s word balloons to match his outfit, a terrific touch I’ve not seen previously.

The main cover by Jimenez and Sanchez is fun, but a little too chaotic – it could do with looking a tad more like a metropolis attacking, those Venus flytrap cars don’t scream ‘city’. There’s a variant from Rob Liefeld that’s pleasant enough; mind, it doesn’t half look like Batman is carrying Wonder Woman’s stupid sword.

With a little luck, this magical Mxyzptlk tour will be equally entertaining next issue.

11 thoughts on “Justice League #19 review

  1. I thought artists were supposed to get better with time, not get worse, but Liefeld is proving to be the exception to the rule and this cover proves it.

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    1. It’ll be fun to hear what you think, these issues are so up and down. I just wish they’d go to one, two and three-issue stories, this interminable Totality/Source Wall business is surely driving readers away.

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      1. I don’t mind the Totality/Source Wall Uber story because we’re getting two and theee story arcs within the larger narrative. It’s kinda cool to see this giant story play out. Granted I often don’t understand the pseudo-science jibber jabber but in the plus side, the art is consistently top notch! And we’re getting characterization mixed in to the action *and* the heroes are smiling and joking around with each other which is a welcome retreat from the constant doom and gloom of Heroes in Crisis and Doomsday Clock.

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  2. Loved this issue! Yes, seeing the Daily Planet come to life reminded me of Bronze Age daffiness.

    Mind you, I don’t quite know if I understand the ‘7 dark energies’ of the ‘Perpetua’ stuff which is the foundation of this entire run. But this issue, with Mxy having fun, explaining dimensions in a semi-Meta way (look! It’s Morrisons Multiversity map) and Superman being … well .. .Superman, made this a great read.

    Love the ‘pretentious pudding’ line!

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    1. I’m enjoying enough of the book to keep reading, Murray, but I’m sick of the big Legion of Doom element… I think Snyder is relying on a nostalgia for them non-Americans who never saw these TV cartoons don’t have.

      Anj, the ‘seven energies’ and allied maguffins if all too complicated for my tiny mind.

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      1. I hear you about the nostalgia factor. I have no familiarity with the Legion of Doom as the cartoons were playing on Sunday mornings (for whatever reason in my neck of the woods) which meant I was stuck in church instead of enjoying some DC tv action.
        But I’ve akways enjoyed the idea of a team of villains to oppose the heroes, but it’s an awfully hard story to tell because in doubling the number of characters that need panel time, someone is always going to get shirt shrift – which is certainly the case here. I’m seeing too much of Luthor and not nearly enough of the other villains. I don’t seem to have the same issue with the heroes as Snyder and co. seem to be able to juggle the various personalities of the JLA better.

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