Villains inherited the Earth after defeating the Justice League at the end of “Trinity War” which kicked off DC’s current crossover, “Forever Evil.” Though the first two installments of the crossover have hit the stands, we still haven’t learned much about Ultraman, Superwoman, Grid, Power Ring, Deathstorm, Johnny Quick, or Atomica (Owlman, as you might expect of a Batman expy, basically got his own issue during Villain’s Month titled Justice League #23.4: Secret Society). Justice League #24 offers a chance to learn more about Earth 3’s inhabitants, and perhaps find out what happened to the Justice League.
Justice League #24 focuses on Ultraman, showing an origin that is a dark parody of Superman’s. Ultraman’s parents, Jor-Il and Lara, slaughtered other Kryptonians to prevent them from sending their own children into space, leaving their son Kal-Il as the only individual with the potential to become strongest in the universe. We see Ultraman’s youth on Earth, while also learning a little more about the other members of the Crime Syndicate. Finally, we arrive in the present where Ultraman visits the Metropolis of the standard DCU and plots to eliminate the weakness he sees around him.
Geoff Johns is household name for comic fans and with good reason: the man understands how to craft an intriguing, enjoyable story that can make you think starring almost any character. Johns is, after all, the man who made Aquaman rise from a C-tier joke to one of the most well-respected heroes in one of the best selling comics in the industry. Johns plays with the concept of alternate Universes quite well, showing us a “bad” version of the normal DCU that’s horrifying yet interesting. There are even a few humorous moments thrown in, such as when Jor-Il and Lara spit hateful words at one another after sending their son off in a rocket.
Often, tie-ins for large comic book crossovers are either a waste of pages that a fan regrets buying, or are so integral to the central plot that fans are forced to spend the extra money on the issue even if they don’t read that series; Justice League #24, however, finds the happy medium by acting as a story that fleshes out the Crime Syndicate and advancing the plot of “Forever Evil” while still detached enough to avoid being a “must-buy” in order to understand the crossover. There were a few moments, however, where Ultraman’s dialogue was cheesy or he seemed a little over-the-top, but these didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the comic.
Ivan Reis and Joe Prado are superstar artists, known for helping pioneer DC’s current “house style.” The two have worked with one another, and Johns, for years and thus have a firm grasp of the multitude of heroes and villains of the DCU. It’s difficult to know where to start when praising the artwork: the character and scene designs are amazing, the action sequences radiate movement and power, the characters’ faces draw you in with powerful emotions…there’s really a great deal of depth to the work presented here. Colorist Rod Reis further strengthens the overall narrative, adding great tones to perfectly draw the reader’s attention and playing with the color schemes of the Crime Syndicate members to act as darker parallels to their Justice League counterparts.
Justice League #24 may be the single best issue of Justice League since the New 52 began. It develops a great new mythology and explores the main cast of “Forever Evil,” acting as a useful tie-in for those interested in knowing more, though not forcing people interested in only the core story to pick it up. That said, I still think anyone reading “Forever Evil” should check this issue out, as it’s a solid comic that strengthens the overall crossover.
-awesome cover that references Justice League #1, the issue that kicked-off the New 52
-great story that fleshes out the central characters of “Forever Evil”
-stands enough on its own that “Forever Evil” readers don’t need to pick it up to follow the main story
-still not a fan of the increased price point ($3.99 for a little over 20 pages)
-Ultraman seemed a bit over-the-top and cheesy a few times
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. His birthday was yesterday, you’re sending him a present right? 😉
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