Taking a break from the standard setup of the Justice League title, especially after the world threatening events of the Drowned Earth arc, we are once again given a whole issue dedicated to the Legion of Doom and their internal politics as they face the aftermath of losing Black Manta in the final battle for Earth’s oceans. Looking to replace Manta with someone of equal skill and value, the Legion of Doom have set their base on the moon and invited some of Earth’s worst villains in order to hire their newest member. However, it appears that the Joker has had his own agenda the whole time and it has finally reared its ugly, smiling head.
Justice League #13 opens with Lex Luthor recruiting the Joker to join the Legion, crashing his plan to bomb and gas a Gotham parade. He shows Joker that, whilst his plans are brilliant, they are all for nothing as Batman will be right on his tail like every time before. Luthor makes a pitch to Joker, after deflecting a stab attempt by the lunatic with a personal force field, to join the team, in order to bring his genius and artistic flair to the rest of the group. Joker is unsure of this but admits that it’s better than recruiting the Batman Who Laughs – because even he doesn’t trust that madman and believes that he is of true evil.
Justice League #13 opens with Lex Luthor recruiting the Joker to join the Legion…
We are then brought to the present day and we’re briefly shown someone working with Joker. Racing to the Legion HQ, we are shown some of the DC Universe’s worst criminals, including Batman classics like Scarecrow, Mr Freeze and the Riddler. We also see the remaining Legion teammates waiting for Lex to arrive. There is a clear hierarchy in place that may come into play in future issues.
…We are shown some of the DC Universe’s worst criminals, including Batman classics like Scarecrow, Mr Freeze and the Riddler…
Joker releases gas into the room, specifically designed for each person, hypnotising them in some way and turning them against one another. In all the chaos, Joker then launches an attack on Luthor, besting him with a series of traps and sabotages and finally taking the doorknob. Joker leaves Luthor tied up in front of some of the villains and Legion members. Whilst the rest flee the scene, those who remain realise that they will have to deal with whatever the Batman Who Laughs has in store for them now that Joker has unleashed him unto the world.
Justice League #13 is a deep dive into the madness and insanity of Joker and the hubris of Luthor. It’s was an interesting look at both characters and their relationship, with both ultimately right about the other, despite the way events played out. It is good to see Joker go his own way again and stick to the roots of his character as an anarchist of sorts, whilst Lex must once again face the consequences of some of his decisions.
It is good to see Joker go his own way again…
It’s strange that rather than the League defeating the Legion, they are actually tearing themselves apart internally. However, in some ways, this makes for a much more compelling story, with artwork that only helps to tell this narrative of insanity, power plays and manipulation. The release of the Batman Who Laughs is perhaps part of the long game, as the character not only became iconic so quickly but also left his mark on the heroes and villains of the DC Universe.
As for Joker, it’ll be interesting to see where he turns his focus next. The Clown Prince of Crime doesn’t need a multiverse. He just wants a city to torment.
Justice League #13 was once again a breath of fresh air for this fantastically paced series.
Justice League #13
A breath of fresh air in a fantastically paced series. Joker shines in this tale of manipulation and madness.