The Legion of Doom has arrived in a surprisingly heroic turn that is sure to change the dynamics of Earth’s warriors while they fight against Mr Mxyptlk. Bringing with them their own Imp, in the form of Bat-Mite, the Legion seems intent on actually saving the world, whilst the Justice League are elsewhere. This is a bit of a red herring, however, as the meat of Justice League #22 is not with the Legion of Doom, as the cover promises, but instead with the story of Perpetua, her three children and all of creation.
With Justice League #22 we get a long overdue explanation as to the origin of a lot of this conflict. With beautiful art showing the vastness of reality and the birth of living things, this rather poetic and cosmic tale is littered of themes of greed, questions of religion and the duty of the creators. With Perptua seeking eternal power, moving away from her prime function, reality itself turns against her, with a judgement locking her into the source wall until the present day.
We watch the birth of the Monitor, Anti-Monitor and the World Forger, beings of incredible power tasked with specific purposes that they should never surpass. Indeed, there is an irony here from their mother, who controls them so that they do not overstep their roles, yet uses her own power to create an army to protect herself after her own gluttony controls her. This is a tale that appears to have gone on for billions of years and even includes a useful nod to why there has been friction between the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor.
This artfully told story manages to show why the current stakes are so important and brings in a lot of the mythos we have seen explored previously in these pages, including mentions once again of the forces that are sure to play a role in Perpetua’s downfall. After the last few weeks have been ramping up the tension, this broke up the pace a little to further explore the villains of the piece. We will have to see if this has wrecked any momentum. However, for now, this seems like a useful addition that perhaps comes at the correct time in order to pace the story better.
As I previously mentioned, the artwork is ethereal and transcendent of being just a comic book, with a lot of religious imagery. The pages are not full of action and adventure, as one would expect, but a more prominent tale that is told through images rather than words. Whilst the dialogue is quite heavy on exposition, it is lightened by the amazing designs it is accompanied by. In some ways, a story like this could have been told in just these images, showing greed, duty and sacrifice.
A powerful piece and one that fits nicely into this narrative, next week we’re likely to jump back into the thick of the battle, especially with the quirky Bat-Mite to save the day. But for now, Justice League #22 is separate of everything else. It fleshes out the multiverse further and tells a succinct, complex, yet simple story.
Justice League #22
Justice League #22 is a standalone issue in many ways. It is told beautifully through its images. This is a book that everyone has to pick up.