Comics Comics & Graphic Novel Reviews

Justice League #19 Review: When Metropolis Attacks

Justice League #19

The latest issue of Justice League from DC Comics kicks off a brand new arc in issue number 19.

The League, featuring characters such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, find themselves involved with some surreal reality bending antics, before having to deal with some deeper concepts regarding the multiverse. It’s never a guarantee these two things can work well on their own, let alone paired together, which could lead to some concerns.

What’s The Issue About?

The core of the plot revolves around The League’s capture of the fifth dimensional imp, Mr Mxysptlyk, a classic Superman antagonist, as well as, setting the stage for what’s to follow in the next few issues. The first part is a lot of fun, as Mxysptlyk uses his reality bending powers to turn Metropolis into a horde of sentient buildings who are literally trying to eat each other. It’s light classic era fun without going overboard.

What makes this work so well is that it doesn’t feel completely out of tone with the latter half of the story either. Here, we are presented with high-level concepts surrounding the multiverse and warned of an impending threat on the rise. With this being issue #19 in a long form
series, I was pleasantly surprised that none of this felt overwhelming and it was nice to not feel locked out or treated like I didn’t deserve to be reading as well.

How did it read?

How this issue reads all comes down to the way the issue was written. Famed Batman writer Scott Snyder has been helming this series since launch and not only displays his talents for voicing a large cast, allowing all personalities to shine, but a talent for writing in an approachable style. What stands out most though, is the witty and referential dialogue. For most of the past decade the DC continuity has been a bit of a mess, but Snyder is able to subtly jab at this through character conversations while also indicating that this may all be coming to a point soon. This is also enhanced with some well-crafted insightfulness having Superman state that the League “win by never changing who they are, even if the world changes”.

After 80 years of comics, that may be the best way of wording things. We know and love these characters, and despite our world changing, and theirs multiple times over, the cast always remain who they are at their core and that’s kind of comforting.

How was the art?

All of this is tied together with beautiful art that left me blown away. Jorge Jimenez is an absolute master when it comes to his pencils and inks, and Alejandro Sanchez only adds to this with his fantastic use of colour. Between the two, the result is a selection of stunning pages filled with vibrant popping colours, the sort of thing you would expect from a flagship title. There is a particular moment, a few pages in, when I found myself mesmerized by a depiction of Metropolis so much so that I felt I could actually lose myself in.

I’d also like to point out the skill with which Mr Mxysptlyk is rendered. Often, artists will veer one of two ways, presenting him either overtly cartoonish or hyper detailed in appearance in order to imply that he’s from another dimension. Jimenez instead keeps Mr Mxysptlyk grounded in the same style as the other characters but manages to balance his physicality between cartoonishly charming and unsettlingly terrifying.

Is it worth reading?

Issue #19 of Justice League is a prime example of what all comics should aspire to be. It’s not often you can find a story that can balance both cartoonish humour and high-concept ideas, yet Scott Snyder executes this brilliantly. His dialogue presents natural tones while also managing to be rather introspective and honest in not only a sense of the story but on a meta level as well. This is all connected by incredible artwork from Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez, which will leave you floored.

This really is a complete package and you’d be hard pressed to find another comic out there hitting all these marks, so I suggest you all pick it up and subscribe to the rest of this run.

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