Themes of faith, belief and betrayal permeated the pages of Justice League #18. In part 4 of the special Legion of Doom arc, our main focus is on the legacy of the Luthor family, the late Vandall Savage and the dynamic between Lex and the rebuilt and resurrected Brainiac. We see the latter two characters tested in particular.
For Lex, these tests are twofold; to face the truth of his family, his past and, ultimately, the forces that have guided them in some way and then also to reaffirm the belief he has in his own ability to manipulate and plan ahead.
In regards to Brainiac, he must not only put his faith into the word and intelligence of Lex, but must also learn to believe in forces that he sees as purely scientific. This tale, therefore, says a lot about the origins of Luthor in some ways, displaying in full why his father turned out the way he did and the impact this had on a young Lex.
The focus on this duo is a very deliberate move from the writers, as the importance of The Legion, in general, becomes far less apparent. Across the series, we’ve seen them weakened, with some members leaving and others betraying the group.
Brainiac’s attempted betrayal, in particular, is, at this point, expected because of the experiences we’ve already seen throughout the run.
In Justice League #18, we see nods to past events of The Legion series, including the various forces that have been given to its members and allies, such as the Still Force and the Ultraviolet Lantern Corps.
This tale is one that could only be told at this stage of the narrative, relying heavily on a knowledge of what has come before – although it allows new readers to quickly catch up during the scientific discussions at play. Perhaps the most interesting part of this was the work that Savage has done in order to look into these multiversal forces and how he has manipulated what he had learnt to his advantage. His lack of ambition or understanding is was what held him back. Although, I do wonder if there was more to it than that and whether he has the same selfish drive that Lex has that could lead Earth to its doom.
The artwork in Justice League #18 is certainly stylised and skilled, but not necessarily to my preference. I usually like a crisper image and, whilst it was absolutely visually interesting and vibrant in both its colours and its shading, it wasn’t what I would have chosen. Having said that, it works within the context of this tale in particular – especially as we enter a metaphysical world where we are taken to the past and in a space that is made up of the mind.
With various other players making important moves and decisions, Justice League #18 continues to paint a grander picture that is much more than just the sum of its parts. As we continue to move closer to Perpetua being unleashed, we are left to wonder what impact this will have on Lex’s own faith and beliefs.
Justice League #18
Taking us on a very different journey, with themes of betrayal, belief and faith, this story explores the Luthor legacy and finds some further truths about the characters involved.