In space, the Green Lantern Corps are having no luck repairing the Source Wall, broken by the Justice League in the recent Dark Multiverse case and now spewing forth all kinds of insidious energies.
On Earth, an invasion by Brainiac is being tackled by the League, the Titans, Teen Titans and Suicide Squad, as the latter’s leader/jailer, Amanda Waller, watches. Superman has defeated the Computer Tyrant of Colu previously, and with the League at his side, he isn’t worried - he’s confident.
Strange as it may seem, Brainiac’s forces defeat the teams, and select members are kidnapped and taken to the villain’s ship. As introductions are made, they notice that they’re wearing adapted versions of their costumes.
Brainiac appears and explains that he’s reconfiguring the heroes and villains in order to fight a mind-blowingly big threat from behind the Source Wall. The Omega Titans are set to resolve an eons-old argument as to which cosmic energy favoured by the individual brothers is the strongest. They’ve seeded worlds with Wonder, Mystery, Entropy and Wisdom, and the ‘gardener’ of whichever world is deemed the most successful will reabsorb that planet - eat it, basically. And they’re starting on his home world of Colu, where, supposedly, Wisdom reigns supreme. Brainiac posits that the only way to stop a contest winner from emerging is to ensure the energies remain balanced - and his four new Justice Leagues are the best chance the universe has. If the Terran heroes and villains refuse to cooperate and let Colu die, well, he’s fixed it so their next stop is Earth!
Back on Earth, though, well-meaning super-control freak Amanda Waller is about to throw an almighty spanner in the works.
Well, this was a big surprise. It’s years since a big DC event proved particularly engaging, and the idea of colour-coded Justice Leagues, starring the likes of Starro and Sinestro, seemed more toyetic than promising. But this first weekly issue of four grabbed me from the off. I don’t know how writers Scott Snyder, Josh Williamson and James Tynion IV are breaking down the workload - co-plotting then writing individual issues? - but whatever they’re doing here works wonderfully well. The overarching plot fits nicely with the Kirby-er side of DC mythology, while the characterisation and interaction is pure pleasure. From Zatanna claiming to hate teams while showing herself to be a natural leader, to Starfire wrangling Beast Boy (‘Gar. Settle’) to the recently reformed Lex Luthor showing his true colours with a wonderfully Silver Age J’onn J’onzz...
... this is fine work. Good grief, at one point bad dad Batman even shows concern for Damian. And hearing Hal Jordan refer to his fellow GLs as ‘ring slingers’ fair made my old comic reading heart melt.
Should Brainiac be able to take down Earth’s greatest superheroes and villains so easily? I’m good with that, it’s traditional for the villain to win Round One - the difference here is that Brainiac frees the heroes before they get to demonstrate that they could do so themselves.
Brainiac’s justification for reorganising the heroes and villains into unlikely teams seems logical, but that’s him all over. I won’t be surprised should the Earth folk save the day by following their hearts rather than his head.
Francis Manapul is a brilliant choice of artist, with his talent for imaginative layouts making the necessary infodumps more than palatable. He captures the grandeur of the Omega Titans while making the smaller moments equally compelling. The natural serenity in Manapul’s linework is a nice complement to the big and bonkers story we’re getting. I really like seeing Brainiac’s late Bronze Age starship again, it’s super-creepy and the way its tentacles torment the Justice League recalls the team’s debut bout with Starro, waaaaay back in The Brave and the Bold #28.
The colours of Hi-Fi add extra spice, with highlights including the starscape of the opening spread, the appropriate red tones of the Crisis Alert screens and the panel showing the silhouetted Justice League.
The lettering from Andworld Design is sharp, the font choices sensible and attractive rather than showily hyperactive >cough Dark Knights: Metal cough<.
The wraparound cover is a little disappointing, with the heroes in a dull composition and if you didn’t know Starro was present, you’d likely miss him - we need to see those five fabulous ‘fingers’. Plus, the Omega Titan background image is barely there.
That’s one small quibble with a massively enjoyable issue. I don’t know about Entropy, Wisdom and Mystery, but No Justice is certainly putting Wonder back into DC events.
Justice League: No Justice #1 review, Scott Snyder, Josh Williamson and James Tynion IV, Francis Manapul, Hi-Fi, Andworld Designs, DC Comics